It’s no secret that Twitter is my favourite. Well, other than Instagram, but Instagram is newer on the scene.
I’ve been active on Twitter since mid-2008, and I have spent the last three years carefully curating content via Twitter every day. That work has paid off in (finally) 10,000 follows, which continues to grow every day.
I love Twitter because there is no algorithm like Facebook. You are free to communicate with everyone, and hashtags allow you to discover new, cool people. It’s open, and it’s awesome.
However, lately, there have been quite a few discouraging articles published by Twitter.
First off, Twitter seems to be losing steam, followers-wise. Instagram (despite being much younger) has now surpassed Twitter, with 400 Million users, to Twitter’s 310M. There are some clear reasons for this: the ettiquette of twitter is more complicated, and takes longer to learn/figure out. Secondly, we are visual society, and Instagram’s emphasis on photos plays on that.
Twitter’s new (old) CEO, @Jack recently announced they were laying off 8% of their employees. This meant over 300 people at Twitter recently got the pink slip, and it lead to a crash in Twitter’s stock prices. Now, Jack is taking over at a tough time in Twitter’s history, so he likely has some cleaning up to do, but still, this is a tough one.
And then there’s this recent article on Medium by Umair Haque called Why Twitter’s Dying. In it, Haque says Twitter has become too clique-y, and worse, it’s become downright abusive. Abuse happens every day on social media, but we know that sites that allow for anonymous users (which Twitter does) cause a lot more abuse that sites that force people to use their real names (like Facebook–sort of–or Google +). Certainly, there are a lot of people calling each other names on Twitter, but for the record, this has not been my personal experience with it. My personal experience has been quite the opposite.
Finally (and this may be the biggest reason of all), Twitter hasn’t figured out how to monetize successfully. As much as we might hate it, Facebook has figured out a way to monetize the platform and do it well. $1B per quarter well. Facebook ads are easy to buy, work well, and are cheap. When I purchase FB ads, they usually run me in the range of around $.50 per click. Twitter ads cost me double and then some.
Twitter is trying. They recently abolished the 140-character limit for DMs, and they are talking about abolishing it all together. Twitter was started in a day when data was a lot more expensive and precious than it is today, so, to some degree, the 140-character limit is outdated. For me, however, I feel like it’s the thing that makes Twitter, Twitter, and I think it would be a mistake to get rid of it. They are also introducing polls on Twitter, and a new publishing platform.
Is Twitter dying? I love Twitter, and I will deeply mourn its passing if it dies. I find it incredibly useful and wonderful for connecting with cool peeps from all over the world. But money talks, and if Twitter can’t effectively monetize, they may be doomed.