Social Throwback 2021: Twitter adjusts gears to take off under new leadership

Twitter 2021

From stepping up against the US President to getting a new CEO, 2021 brought a lot of chaotic calm for Twitter. Here are the highlights.

Twitter was the first platform to take action against the social media presence of the then US President, Donald Trump. Other platforms such as Facebook had followed suit. It was one of the bravest decisions taken by the company, something for which they got both praise and flak. At Twitter, 2021 was a year of two key exits — Jack Dorsey quitting as CEO and India MD Manish Maheshwari exiting to build his ed-tech startup.

This year, the platform has taken various steps to amp up experiences on the platform — including redesigning the UI, making it easier for people to read threads, and inking deals with ViacomCBS and Sony Pictures Network India to expand the horizons of marketing and content on Twitter. The company has also tried to create more avenues of monetization for creators, especially in the audio space.

Change In Leadership

After 16 years at the helm of operations, Jack Dorsey resigned from Twitter as CEO this year. It was a landmark decision in the history of Twitter, with the founder stepping out to ensure there were no hurdles in its expansion plans and story. Previously the CTO, Parag Agrawal was unanimously appointed the new CEO. Dorsey’s decision to exit the company he built was driven by the idea that founder-led companies tend to fail. He wants Twitter to be free of his influence and direction — to grow in a way he couldn’t have imagined.

Bidding Goodbye To Fleets

A little over a year after its launch, Fleets were discontinued by Twitter this year. Though people love visuals on Twitter, the ephemeral nature of Fleets didn’t get the numbers they had hoped. It did bring them lessons, which Twitter hopes to use in the years to come, to develop experiences in sync with the expectations of their users. Looking at other platforms increasing how they leverage vertical video and snackable content, Twitter had launched Fleets almost as a reaction that almost screamed FOMO. However, it simply didn’t work the way Reels and Stories do for Instagram, making the feature redundant enough for the platform to bid it goodbye.

Improving Readability of Threads

Over the last few years, threads have become popular on Twitter. They reflect the collective appetite of users to read long-form content on the platform — as long as it’s interesting. This year, Twitter acquired Threader to improve the thread-reading experience as part of the Reader Moder on Twitter Blue. Available as a native experience on Twitter, Threader will make it easier for users to access a text-focused, distraction, and ad-free reading experience. The Reader Mode transforms long threads into easier-to-read experiences and helps users organize their readings via bookmarks.

Super Follows & Ticketed Spaces

Twitter is trying to create and enhance monetization opportunities on the platform — starting with the users in the US. The endeavors include Super Follows and Ticketed Spaces. While Super Follows enable creators, brands, and publishers to monetize their presence on the platform, Ticketed Spaces are all about making money by holding public discussions in select audio chatrooms. These options aim to facilitate users in supporting and incentivizing content creation by their favorite creators, creating committed committees. In the case of Super Follow, users would get access to a supporter badge, subscriber-only newsletters, exclusive content, and discounts.

All Things Twitter Blue

This year in June, Twitter officially launched Twitter Blue in select countries — a paid subscription service for users access to premium features such as customer support, bookmark folders, reader mode, and more. The idea is to help users get more out of Twitter. One of the most important features of Twitter Blue is that a user can undo a tweet for up to 30 seconds to correct their mistakes. In a far-fetched scenario, it could be a step in the direction where users can delete tweets — something they have been asking the platform to provide them with for years!

Twitter 2021

Here’s a quick look at a month-wise update on Twitter:

January 2021

  • Revue is acquired to support writers with new editorial features
  • Twitter launches an Academic Research product track for its API
  • Incomplete or inactive accounts to lose blue verified badge
  • Birdwatch, a tool to handle misinformation, gets tested
  • US President gets blocked from the platform for policy violation
  • Breaker, a social podcast app, is acquired

February 2021

  • Safety Mode, Timeline Sorting and Communities are announced
  • Warning prompts for hate speech are relaunched

March 2021

  • Reshuffle is acquired to improve developer solutions
  • Conversion settings are introduced for ads
  • Strike system is introduced for COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

April 2021

  • Vaccination prompts and Professional Profiles are launched
  • Twitter introduces Responsible Machine Learning Initiative to improve algorithms
  • Advertising Product Suit gets rebranded
  • Twitter Marketing India launches content series highlighting advertising trends

May 2021

  • Twitter relaunches verification Process
  • Media organisations are roped in to disseminate information about COVID-19
  • Uncropped display of single images is introduced for tweets
  • Prompt encouraging users to rethink hateful replies is launched
  • Scroll is introduced to enable users to read ad-free articles on the platform
  • Twitter Spaces to allow accounts above 600 followers to host Audio Space
  • Birdwatch notifications are launched to highlight the impact of user contribution

June 2021

  • Razorpay is added to the Tip Jar
  • Super Follows and Ticketed Spaces are introduced
  • Twitter develops controls for your mentions on others’ Tweets
  • Interim Chief Compliance Officer is appointed in India
  • Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service, is launched officially
  • Fleet ads are launched for advertisers

July 2021

  • Shop Module is launched in testing phase
  • Up & Down votes and Voice Transformer goes into testing
  • Transparency Center is updated with new data
  • Twitter partners with Sony Pictures Networks India for cricket content
  • New premium video ad unit is announced
  • Account security is strengthened

August 2021

  • Developers get access to tools to help upgrade Spaces
  • Direct Message are improved with updates
  • Mobile app and web are redesigned
  • Spaces can be held with co-hosts
  • Fleets is discontinued
  • Twitter partners with media houses to display credible information
  • Spaces is revamped with new updates

September 2021

  • Twitter Official Partner Program is expanded to include more companies
  • Tips, a monetisation option, is launched
  • Labeling feature is introduced for automated accounts
  • Twitter introduces Communities for discussions on shared interests
  • Safety Mode is launched in beta

October 2021

  • First iteration of Spaces Recording is rolled out
  • Subscribing to newsletters is made easy
  • Sphere is acquired to advance community building
  • Spaces Spark Program is launched

November 2021

  • CEO Jack Dorsey resigns
  • Shopping is introduced in live video streams
  • Twitter launches API v2 for developer platform
  • Multi-year partnership with ViacomCBS is announced
  • Threader is acquired to enhance The Reader Mode
  • Cryptocurrency and NFT features are developed
  • New Data Governance Committee is launched
  • Twitter Blue is updated with new premium features

December 2021

  • Conversation Prompts, Edge-To-Edge Tweets and Video Captions are rolled out
  • Explore Tab gets an update and Quill is acquired
  • Process to report tweets is overhauled with improvements
  • Private information policy is expanded to include media

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