Never bury the lede

Twitter is acquiring Scroll. The service will be going into private beta as we integrate into a broader Twitter subscription later in the year. We’re very excited!

Since launch last year, Scroll has proven that there’s a model that gives consumers a better experience and journalists a better future. Today when Scroll members visit hundreds of top sites like The Atlantic, The Verge, USA Today, The Sacramento Bee, The Philadelphia Inquirer or The Daily Beast, they get a site that feels built solely for them: a blazing fast experience that loads with no ads, no dodgy trackers and no chumboxes of clickbait. At the same time, publishers get to deliver a site that increases engagement and  makes them more money than they would make from ads. It’s a better internet and we’ve proven the model works.

However, we’re not moving fast enough. Every journalist that loses their job, every newsroom sold to unworthy owners diminishes the great conversation of which we are a part. That is why, when Twitter approached us about accelerating our mission we began to get very, very excited.

Why Twitter?

For every other platform, journalism is dispensable. If journalism were to disappear tomorrow their business would carry on much as before. Twitter is the only large platform whose success is deeply intertwined with a sustainable journalism ecosystem. 

Twitter exists to serve the public conversation. Journalism is the mitochondria of that conversation. It initiates, energizes and informs. It converts and confounds perspectives. At its best it helps us stand in one another’s shoes and understand each other’s common humanity. 

The mission we’ve been given by Jack and the Twitter team is simple: take the model and platform that Scroll has built and scale it so that everyone who uses Twitter has the opportunity to experience an internet without friction and frustration, a great gathering of people who love the news and pay to sustainably support it.

What have we learned from Twitter?

As we’ve gotten to know the team at Twitter over the last few months three things have become clear:

  1. Their care for the communities and the journalists and creators that serve them is not isolated to the people who are explicitly paid to care about such things. That sense of service permeates the whole company. Seeing that has been a unique experience.
  2. Twitter’s ambitions are larger than people suspect. The burst of innovation and activity we are now seeing is the output of a team that are thoughtfully, methodically putting together the capabilities to meet those ambitions.
  3. Analysts joke that Twitter suffers in comparison to other platforms because the value realized by third parties from Twitter is far greater than the value it is able to capture for itself. They see this as a weakness. It is a strength. When you see Spaces, Revue or Scroll, you see Twitter focused on expanding, not encroaching on the value it helps others to create. Twitter is marching to the beat of a different drum and knows success will come from a bigger pie not a larger slice.

What now?

We have a lot of work to do, but it is in service of a grand conversation that is vital. Scroll will go into private beta, while we work through how best to integrate into Twitter’s own subscription plans. My heartfelt thanks go out to all those who believed in us from the very beginning and to those who have joined us along the way. 
The future we want to build cannot be built alone. If you are a publisher, independent journalist or creator who wants to learn more or collaborate to help us shape a future for journalism that is brighter than its past, reach out and let’s build the kind of world we want to see together.

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