When colleagues tell me Twitter is failing, I am dismissive. When websites tell me they are not doing very well I am equally unbelieving. Simply because Twitter makes $595million instead of the $608million expected makes no difference to me or to any of it’s users.
Something is only really wrong with Twitter when you experience it for yourself. Usage is declining, new users are slowing and that is an issue for current users. The real problem is it is almost impossible to understand why.
Watch the TV for any length of time and you are inundated by hashtags and little Twitter logos so you can ‘join in the conversation’ online. Right down to the news and weather you are treated with their @ so you can read everything they have to say. At a cursory glance you could be forgiven for thinking that Twitter is filled full of every celebrity imaginable and meaning full debate.
Yet finding and keeping new users is Twitters number one problem. New users more in tune with ‘friending’ and clicking thumbs up usage declines because Twitter is simply not Facebook. This quarter Twitter added 5 million new users, building that to 310million users that actually use the platform.
Not an insignificant amount of people, but numbers that are dwarfed by the big blue F’s 1.65 billion monthly active users. When advertising is your only way of monetising, attracting brands to a platform a fifth of the size is tough. Yet they still come and advertise, sponsoring tweets and interrupting your timeline on a regular basis. Unfortunately the lack of users and leverage has been a hinderance to Twitter being able to develop its own ad platform, but not to show ads.
The Fav-and-RT-based serotonin reward system unintentionally built into Twitter also has the side effect of forcing introverts to obsessively write pithy jokes for huge audiences for free, day in and day out. – Jon Hendren
What is leaving the platform a long way behind Facebook is frustrating even a long time Twitter users, and thats discoverability. New people to follow are becoming hard to find amongst a sea of bots, brands and buffoons. Once the social media of choice for anyone that wanted to engage with fans, Twitter becoming instead filed with accounts run by PR reps and brands.
Twitter is well aware of its issues, I am sure they read the news. Even Jack Dorsey himself admitted at the Code conference that at times twitter can be confusing and alienating. Its only option so far has been moments.
What are all of these users fed up of? Harassment? That certainly must have a massive impact especially to some users. In fact think tank Demos found that every 10 seconds, someone on Twitter calls a woman a ‘slut’ or ‘whore’! That is from female and male users alike, harassment is a network wide issue.
Much like many before me, I am actually starting to think Twitter does have a problem. What I don’t understand is how! Jon Henderson summed it up perfectly so I will leave you with his words.
It’s amazing to think that a company whose content is provided for free, who gets free mass advertising from basically every angle, and whose only real responsibility is to Not Break Itself can’t figure out how to be sustainable.
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