Twitter not dying, not healthy either

The Atlantic magazine thinks Twitter is in terminal decline.

It could be right. However, despite falling use and missed financial targets there’s still plenty of life in the terse online chatter service.

Twitter’s problem is turning hundreds of millions of users and billions of tweets into money and profit.

There’s no easy way to do this. Any attempt to insert more intrusive advertising or other money generating clutter into people’s Twitter feeds will only turn more people off.

And as for charging customers to use Twitter? You have to be joking. It would drop out of sight over night.

The simple truth is there isn’t a business model to make Twitter a viable stand-alone operation. All of them kill the service’s strengths and diminish its value to users.

It could be a good fit with other media services. Maybe. But then traditional media companies are not awash with lazy capital looking for a new home.

Twitter may not be dead , but it is in a dead-end.

2 thoughts on “Twitter not dying, not healthy either

  1. I think Twitter is kind of at the same point as Facebook, but both aren’t super obvious about it. In order to flourish better as a money-making company (instead of a free ad-supported website) they need to get niche, and stop trying to “take over the world”. There is hardly any services everyone needs, and trying to be what people want to everyone will not work. You either end up with essentially several versions of your service being served from one complicated monolithic codebase which ends up so bad no one can add any more features without breaking it, or your users leave for separate services more catered to them.

    Yes, things like Facebook and Twitter are very much ingrained in a lot of people’s lives to the point where they will put up with a lot of crap before leaving (pretty much the only reason I ever hear to use Facebook is that everyone is on Facebook, not “it lets me showcase my photography” or “it lets me organise family social events” or “I can keep up with the latest news I care about”). But being ingrained like that doesn’t last forever. If they want to slip in money-making strategies properly, they need to look at use-cases, and either specialising upon one or two before generalising as a platform with which they can develop more or licence out for other companies to do the same.

    For Facebook, this will be going back to their roots of being exclusive, and creating a social platform for universities and the like. For Twitter I believe this will be a soapbox platform for celebrities and comedians/actors, etc.

    Of course they’re not going to do it, at least Facebook has taken too long to take that much of a step back unless they try to launch it as a completely different platform, like a Facebook 2.0. Twitter has more of a chance, but again it is probably seen as too much of a step back. Both of these strategies would be “doing an Apple”; have a lesser userbase, but people you can milk for more.

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  2. There is no doubt that the business model needs work, but it is a long way from dead. One of the challenges is that a lot of the value of Twitter is through 3rd parties which use the Twitter API’s. Perhaps some of that value needs to become native to Twitter.

    They could also do a much better job of educating people in regard to amount of information available and how too extract it. With Twitter and Facebook I am seeing a lot more activity from journalists using tweets and posts as a source for near real time information locally and globally.

    How Twitter monetizes itself isn’t my problem so long as they do survive. I’m hoping in one form or another that they do.

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