Is Twitter Dying?

Jan 26, 2016

Why it’s A Little Too Soon for Epitaphs and Love Letters

I may have been the last person in the world to fall in love with Twitter. I eatTwitter lists for breakfast, in fact, I known of no social listening that comes even close to the educational ROI. But it’s not a mainstream social network, there’s simply too much competition. Millennials I talk to like the talented and vivaciousKate Moya, find the interface confusing and unappealing. Indeed that’s not a good sign.

LinkedIn can hide from its lack of a younger user base, since it’s has the privilege and status of being a c-level executive professional network. While the popularity of Medium for great content is far surpassing that of pulse, the short-form content of pulse has hit the hybrid news sweet spot. Twitter sadly, remains very 2011!

Four key Twitter executives are to leave the company as the social network continues its attempt to turn around its fortunes.

It’s the changing of the guard or a great demise, it’s hard to tell. The news wasconfirmed in a tweet by chief executive Jack Dorsey on Sunday, who said the foursome could now have some “well-deserved time off”. Not really sure what that means, An 8% of the company’s workforce has already occurred.

Honestly, I’m not sure what the big deal is about, you aren’t going to compete with numbers like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Whatsapp for that matter. It’s frigging twitter! It’s grassroots, it’s geeks, it’s digital marketers like me who live there. Does this look so bad to you?

  • Engagement on any network is going to suffer when you have to compete with Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and more video content than ever. For that matter, I barely even see video content on Twitter.
  • Let’s face it, Twitter is not a place that suits a monetization model, that’s particularly friendly to adds, trending or an algorithm to distribute content. The entire idea of micro content that is organic is part of its genius.

Reality of the Gamified Stock-market

  • Twitter hit the stock market on November 2013
  • Shares are down 7% in New York on Monday
  • Shares are down 60% over the past 12 months. Time to buy some shares guys.
  • Medium & Peach, which we can safely consider Twitter’s children are doing quite well, thank you.
“While I’ve poured my heart and soul into Twitter,” she wrote. “I decided to resign because it’s time for me to pour more of my energy into my family.” — Katie Stanton

There’s a good story in any company, the human element, the ups and downs and the core group of people who made it happen. It can be argued Twitter was a lucky winner around turning 7.

Founded in 2006, the majority of the early users adopted it around 2009. You know who I’m talking about, those people with 30k + Tweets, who actually still use it as a great communicative device.

What’s Twitter Good for Anyways!

Twitter is legendary in the tech industry, much like how Quora is becoming for younger users. It’s about quality of information, remember who made this famous for a seconding:

#

The hashtag, that thing that makes Instagram not just good, but great. On Twitter I can get maybe 3 good ones on a tweet, on Instagram I can get 30. But does the world really need Twitter? Or is it more just a novelty of a bygone era? It’s still some of the best access to specialized content around and connects parts of the world and current events like nothing else.

But in reality, how does something as intuitive as Twitter compare with glance content that’s gamified for digital natives like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat? As those networks are expanding very easily with Millennials, Twitter remains the plaything of aging Millennials who no longer have time for social media like they once did. They are having kids, moving on, just like the people who built Twitter!

How do you woo users, when new apps come out every year with location targeting and so much that Twitter does not have. As for myself, I still prefer a Twitter DM to just about anything. I feel entirely too morbid to get spam on LinkedIn messenger or the occasional Facebook messenger poke. But getting a mention on Twitter, well that’s gold for me. It’s an digital experience that to me feels more real, more native, like an SMS communication.

It’s not annoying and a vanity message, not many sales people have the social selling chops to use Twitter properly, it’s laughable. But it’s the golden standard of networking in certain industries. And it’s not going to charge you an arm and leg the way LinkedIn premium does.

Beginning of the End

With the stock-market, come investors and pressure. The boardroom rarely understand the customer experience, they just push for monetization. This can easily back-fire. Can American Express’s Leslie Berland save it? Could anybody? This isn’t 2012, this is 2016, and things have changed.

The glamour of Instagram, the micro glance blogging of Pinterest, heck even the native familiarity of Tumblr is more appealing in a sense for many users than Twitter. Twitter is geeky, twitter is for chronic readers and learners. Twitter are for those rare souls who still practice social listening and interactions without the need for algorithms to silver spoon feed them and even tell them who their strong ties are.

For at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many users you have, it matters the quality of the experience you are able to give us.

I have no particular resonance with Mr Dorsey, and it’s quite likely he will kill the things he helped create. Quite frankly, it’s starting to drive me a bit crazy. It’s likeZuckerberg, trying to write a love letter to his daughter Max. It just reeks of insincerity and corporate head-games. It’s a question of branding and trust, both I think which are declining quite fast for Twitter and Facebook. For at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many users you have, it matters the quality of the experience you are able to give us.

I think it’s entirely possible Twitter will be dead within 3 years. Thanks to Twitter’s open API, it has some of the best tools and sentiment analytics ever done. What companies can scrape off Twitter, is actually pretty cool. I follow content influencers on Twitter first and foremost, ahead of any other platform. People who never adopted Twitter, I still consider hopelessly out of touch with digital reality. But I’ll be saying the same thing about people in 2018 who can’t do video content. The game changes, we change, we move on.

Bleeding Money

In 2015, Twitter said while the company beat investor expectations, it’s stillrunning at a loss of $132 million after taxes. That can’t be good, right? Twitter was never a very marketable race horse in the world of social media whoring for number of users. Ironic that social media that uses VANITY metrics and has polluted the minds of so many young people into thinking their gamified digital social life is real is the victim of its own mind-game.

While Facebook boasts of a great number of users just by being the most insidiously evil viral network with fake video counts-views (3 seconds on auto-play is it?). Twitter has always been more authentic, more community based and and those tweets, that bird — pure genius of branding. But good branding and usefulness doesn’t’ always translate well into profits.

Maybe there are only 320 million humans interested in seeing 140-character updates from their friends every day after all. If you make a website that 4 percent of the world’s population finds interesting enough to peek at every month, you shouldn’t exactly feel embarrassed. — The Decay of Twitter

It could be worse. Even now, Twitter is unique and fresh to those that use it every day. It’s simplicity is part of its charm. It’s the Buddhist of social networks, it has compassion for everyone. It won’t try to convert you with family values like a good Christian Facebook, enough said.

140 character is cool, brevity is not dead, simplicity is zen. As digital noise and digital distraction continues to cresendo, the dying Twitter streams is akin to bathing in a temple fountain.

Twitter is still the best place to witness trends in keywords. Google trends can tell me what is being searched, but Twitter can tell me what is being written about. I don’t quite trust Reddit at this point enough to tell me. If you are a B2B professional and your entire company isn’t active on Twitter, seriously, shame on you. The way Slideshares, infographics and even the nice new feature of Twitter polls work on Twitter, are pure gold. Pin a tweet you want to get traffic, zoom. Make a blog post on Medium and share it on twitter, easy traffic.

Want to hack into very specific conversations on Twitter? No problem, just customize a search for it on Tweetdeck. Want to know how active someone is on Twitter, just get their Followeronk score. Want to integrate your social media with a score, join Klout (that to this day still over-values Twitter). You might argue though, with Slack and SMS, who needs Twitter to communicate?

How can Twitter compete? In 2013, Twitter was heralded as the SMS of the internet. But nothing lasts forever, these first social networks were lucky to get a good 10 years of life, in the future compress that into 5 years if you are lucky. Every year, specialized social networks like Houzz are born. Every month now someone like Peach comes along. These are not even very social places.

Honestly, I was surprised how the 10,000 words controversy trended in a such a big way:

I thought maybe it was a joke, a misunderstanding. Time will tell. Maybe a PR stunt. While Facebook clamors to exploit (India) and LinkedIn is on full corporate monetization mode, Twitter is back-peddling while slowly sinking. The truth is, the Big 3 will one day all die and give way to the new. In the mean time, it’s a game of musical chairs to see who can live on the longest.

Back maybe a little bit over year, to give you some perspective on the Twitter Stream:

It’s still a TweetCosmos out there. There’s still some authenticity left, even if Investors are pulling their hair out. I’m a user, and I’m a Twitter fan. So next time you see a little blue bird out there, think of the little guy, think of the communication tool that brought digital evolution forward:

Twitter made the World Smaller, Closer, Nearer.

#SkillsGap, describes how professionals are building their skills this year anddeselecting social networks that no longer feel authentic to them!