What’s Next for Twitter? Social Domination or Eminent Failure?
Despite recent improvements to user experience and platform flexibility, the struggle to retain and attract new users—and grow revenue—is still real for Twitter. And, unfortunately, these may be the least of the platform’s worries these days.
From widespread trolling and harassment to simply having a confusing interface, Twitter is drawing criticism for nearly every aspect of its operation. In addition, after shutting down Vine and cutting more than 300 jobs last fall, more fuel was added to the claims that Twitter was getting closer to death.
So … Is Twitter Dying?
As an eternal optimist, I’m not ready to say Twitter’s fate is doomed. As WIRED’s Davey Alba said earlier this year, while Twitter may be a bit of a mess—it still has some real potential and value to offer.
“The thing is, in spite of its mess, there’s still a lot to value in Twitter,” Alba wrote. “No other social network has built up quite the same kind of cultural currency—and for good reason. Unlike other networks, Twitter’s influence is decentralized; it lies in its power users, the ones who use it to give voice to people and movements that may not have risen otherwise. Just look at how Twitter both took and pushed the pulse of the 2016 elections. Or how crises unfold on the platform. Or how social movements take hold.”
But I’m also a realist, so I have to acknowledge that Twitter has some serious work to do to remain viable and competitive. Currently, Twitter reports around 313 million monthly active users, but Statista had that number around 319 million at the end of 2016 and is now reporting 317 million as of January 2017. However, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook come in with 301 million, 600 million and 1.86 billion monthly active users, respectively.
You’re probably thinking, how can Twitter avoid falling off a cliff? How can it quell discontent? How can it retain and attract new users? How does it breathe new life into its platform and business?
Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers here. I’m not an expert in business operations or product development—nor am I a clairvoyant with a crystal ball. However, as a confident marketer, I definitely see a couple opportunities.
Twitter is experiencing many of the same problems that other brands face in today’s digital world—increasing competition for audience attention, bad press and reviews, stagnant growth, and so on. Below are two opportunities I think Twitter, and any struggling brand, could take advantage.