Twitter could be too relevant to fail but they are certainly struggling. With a mass exodus of employees, plummeting share prices and angry board members, it is clear that they have problems. But Twitter is such a staple presence of the internet, just as television has a place in our society. Yet, Twitter has announced major job cuts just last week.
We plan to part ways with up to 336 people from across the company. Twitter will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous exit packages and help finding a new job.
So what is their plan now? Twitter has given journalism a new lease of life, and the world seems incapable of working without it now. Every major news item is mentioned on Twitter first. Yes, young people are on Snapchat and social contacts can be had on Facebook, but the press continues to flock to Twitter.
Some suggest that this is the very problem that Twitter is actually facing. There is no money to be made from giving people free speech. It is a known fact that Twitter is struggling to get the revenue in, unlike its rival Facebook. But Facebook has a different perspective, focusing instead on the idea that everything in the world can be nice and likable and it has a great understanding of the personalities of its users.
Twitter, by contrast, is more interested in the things that happen in the world. And the things that happen in the world are often not very nice. And, where there is room to allow humanitarians to voice their opinions and views, there will also be room for menacing and abusive groups to do the same. At the same time, however, it seems that young people prefer Twitter over Facebook by far.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a survey by Piper Jaffray of American teens found that Instagram was the most popular social site for 33 percent of teens. In second place was Twitter with 20 percent, and following that was Snapchat with 19 percent.
So is Dorsey doing something right after all? His challenge is, obviously, to keep the character of Twitter to keep attracting the younger audience, while at the same time keeping Wall Street interested in the platform as well. One way he seems to be achieving this is by launching Twitter Moments.
Moments uses human curators to highlight the hottest stuff on the network and delivers it in a neat package.
Moment was launched last week and immediately experienced teething problems. However, just six days later, it started to become a truly useful platform addition. Furthermore, it has a great animation service and this means that the younger users will be interested in it as well.
Twitter is reinventing itself and this is going to be a long and difficult journey. Other platforms, like YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook, always operated from the idea that they were first and foremost ‘fun’, only then adding ‘influence’ to their offerings as well. Twitter, by contrast, has started with ‘influence’ and it is not clear whether they want to move towards offering ‘fun’ as well. What Twitter seems to be banking on is that people always want to be kept up to date with news, all day long, and this is what they seem to be offering.
Maybe it is too late for Twitter to do this. However, it is not entirely improbably either. Some are suggesting that Twitter is preparing itself to be bought out, for instance by Google or Facebook, and that it is making itself more interesting by sticking to a certain niche. Or maybe, although more unlikely, Twitter will be the first truly independent news outlet.