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Twitter to support long-form articles with mixed media, Elon Musk confirms

Twitter to support long-form articles with mixed media, Elon Musk confirms

Twitter Notes, the feature that would allow Twitter users to publish long-form content on the platform, appears to be back on track, according to a post from Twitter owner Elon Musk on Tuesday. The Twitter owner confirmed the company’s plans in response to a user’s tweet which claimed the Twitter Notes project had recently been rebranded as “Articles.”

The company first launched Twitter Notes in June 2022, ahead of Musk’s Twitter acquisition, as an experiment with a small group of writers in the United States, Canada, Ghana, and the United Kingdom. The writers gained access to a new “Write” tab on Twitter where they could write and access all their Notes. Their Twitter profiles would also have a Notes tab where their followers and other Twitter users could view all their long-form content in one place.

Twitter Notes supported rich formatting and uploaded media, the company explained at the time, including the option to embed photos, videos, GIFs, and even tweets. When published, writers could tweet out their Notes to share them with followers, who could then retweet them, share them in DMs, bookmark or like them, as they could with other tweets.

But the status of Twitter Notes was unknown as not much had been heard about the project in the months since Musk bought the social network for $44 billion. Platformer reported in November 2022 that Notes had been put on indefinite “pause,” for instance. Plus, Musk had killed off other reading-and-writing related Twitter projects, including ad-free articles for subscribers in November 2022 and its newsletter platform Revue in December.

Now it appears Notes will return. On Tuesday, Twitter user @FaustoChou tweeted that Notes had been renamed to Articles, signaling perhaps renewed development efforts on Twitter’s part. His screenshot showed the Notes interface, looking much like it did before, as well as other unlaunched features, like Twitter Coins.

Musk then replied to the tweet, confirming Twitter’s plans.

“This will allow users to post very long, complex articles with mixed media. You could publish a book if you want,” Musk wrote.

The Twitter owner didn’t share any other details about the company’s plans for Notes, or Articles as it may now be known, including when people would gain access or when the feature would launch publicly. The timing of the announcement comes as the company has been working to retain creators in the face of increased competition from Instagram Threads and others, even paying creators a share of ad revenue, which has netted some creators payouts in the four or five figures.

Long-form content could help retain other creators — writers — who want more distribution for articles that would otherwise be posted on their blogs or perhaps newsletters, like Substack, another Twitter rival.

Substack this year and the last directly targeted Twitter with launches of both a short-form Notes that looked a lot like Twitter as well as a chat feature that moved conversations off social media to its own platform. In response, Twitter stopped allowing users to retweet, like, or reply to tweets with Substack links. It makes sense that Twitter would now take on Substack with a long-form content distribution feature of its own as a means of fighting back and re-establishing itself as a home for conversations, including those that go beyond 240 characters.

Musk has also been open to the idea that character count should not be a limiting factor for using Twitter, having raised the limit to 4,000 and then 10,000 for Twitter Blue subscribers after taking ownership of the social network.

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