Today, Twitter announced that the network will be switching to a new two-tiered service. Everyone can still use the basic Twitter, the only difference is that you won’t be able to use vowels in your tweets anymore. If you do want to use A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y, you’ll have to sign up for Twitter’s “premium” service for $5 a month.
“We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and ‘dense’ form of communication,” Twitter announced on its blog today. “We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream.”
By the way, “Y” is Twitter’s gift to you. Because of its ambiguous status as a sometimes-vowel, Twitter has decided, in good faith, to let you keep it for basic Twttr. They say the letter “should always be free to everyone — today and forever.”
Twyttyr? Why byy vywyls whyn yyy gyt “Y” fyr fryy? Syckyrs! #nvwls
— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) April 1, 2013
Is this pretty much an unabashed money grab on Twitter’s part? Yup. “I was carpooling home after Twitter’s seventh birthday party,” said Twitter’s VP of Product, “with my head filled with images from our past, like our early logo where we spelled it TWTTR, in neon green toothpaste. And then Prince’s song ‘I would die 4 U’ came on the radio. I felt like there was something there, but I wasn’t sure what or how to bring it to market.
“Then later that night, I was watching Wheel of Fortune with @adambain, and a contestant yelled out ‘I wanna buy a vowel’. Everything just sort of clicked. Adam and I turned to each other and high-fived. It was one of those product moments that just felt like magic.”
Vowel-less Twitter will be rolling out to users slowly, with full implementation for all users expected in a few days’ time. Twitter recommends practicing tweeting without vowels until then. The encouraged hashtags are #nvwls for basic members and #icanhasvowels for premium users.
(D0n’t f0rg3t: you can use numbers to get around the vowel-less embargo).
If you’re ready to experience Twitter without vowels, click here.
April Fool’s Day, everyone.