Twitter’s Existential Crisis
February 12, 2016
February 12, 2016
Twitter is my favorite social media network. I love that it serves as a newsfeed, surfacing articles I might have otherwise missed from influencers I admire and that it also allows me to follow events a world away as they unfold. It has made it easier for voters to engage with their elected officials, fans to engage with the artists they admire and for advocates to drive substantive change.
Which is why it’s so frustrating that the company struggles to grow and achieve fiscal stability while staying true to what makes it great.
Recently, four of Twitter’s top executives left the company. CEO Jack Dorsey struck an optimistic tone in his tweet about the staffing moves, but observers aren’t convinced the changes are coming from a place of strength as the company’s stock continues to plummet and rumors of a takeover swirl. User growth has stalled, and Dorsey has said noting is off the table in making Twitter more user-friendly. Which leads to the “Facebook-ification of Twitter,” as our team calls it. (And many others agree.)
I fall firmly in the camp that Twitter should stick to what it does well: Allowing users to find a like-minded community this is passionate about the same issues and ideas they are, and serving as the go-to source for information when events unfold. There’s a reason newscasts read and display tweets during breaking news—because Twitter allows for short, staccato bursts of information. No producer in his or her right mind would take the time to comb through a 10,000 character post during breaking news, whether that’s on Facebook or on Twitter.
Twitter has rolled out an algorithm that surfaces what it thinks are the most interesting tweets that your followers shared when you were away from the service. This drove an overwhelmingly negative reaction from my fellow Twitter-lovers, spawning the hashtag #RIPTwitter. While the feature is currently only available if a user opts in, the platform plans to make the feature universal in the future.
Twitter is a valuable tool for our clients, many of whom share thought leadership and keep abreast of industry news on the channel. Facebook may have the larger audience, but the majority of its users are there to keep up with their families and friends, not their colleagues. Twitter allows our clients to follow industry conferences, share their thought leadership and engage directly in timely conversations.
Hopefully, Twitter will find ways to attract new users without changing the essence of the network early adopters and power-users love. What do you think of Twitter’s ongoing changes? Send us a tweet to @solomonmccown!