It’s hard to remember how I used to stay up to date with current events before Twitter but today marks the 10th anniversary of the first tweet ever sent by one of its creators and current Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey. Since its inception, Twitter has gained more than 300 million monthly users that generate some 350,000 tweets per minute. Despite being a place where people can share their opinions on world news, sporting events or anything at all they haven’t been able to capitalize on their success on the stock market. The stock has taken a beating and at the time of this article was trading at $16.89, down from over seventy dollars in the weeks following their IPO. What can Twitter do to ensure it stays around for another ten and continue to gain users at a time when that number has stalled and has investors worried?
Facebook is unique in that it appeals to all generations who want to keep in touch with friends and families by posting pictures, sending messages and replacing the birthday phone call with a wall post. It’s quick, simple and user friendly so that you can easily monitor what content you want to see and the ads aren’t overly intrusive. But why is the gap between the number of active Facebook vs Twitter users – 1.6 Billion vs 305 Million – so significant? In my opinion, Twitter is much more valuable than Facebook but the two companies are headed in the opposite directions because Twitter has had a problem showing consistent growth of new users. Twitter has changed the way news stories are broken. When something big is happening – like the Boston Marathon bombing – I turned to my phone and followed along as opposed to the television to watch the news. The sheer amount of content that can be delivered to my finger tips within seconds is astonishing, but who is going to continue generating that content? I thought about my usage history on the app since I downloaded it and why I can understand their problem.
I used to be much more active on Twitter when I first joined about 5 years ago. It was like a shiny new toy you got and just couldn’t wait to show it off to your friends in the neighborhood. Twitter was the same way, you got a couple followers, tweeted out a random observation you thought was funny and got some favorites or even better – a RT. There was a sense of validation that you’d get instantly, much like with laughter when a stand up comedian kills it at a comedy show. But then you’re constantly trying to come up with witty things to tweet or a good picture to share (wish was effectively killed off by Instagram) and you get selective with your tweets. My tweets went down and I just started using the app primarily for following my favorite bands, sports teams and various news outlets. Heaven forbid you fire out a tweet and no one favorites it. If a tweet doesn’t get a response did it ever really happen was the way I’d look at it. I’m sure there are thousands of users who view twitter the same way – for news/events/etc – as opposed to creating new content as originally intended. I’m also getting older and not staying up to date with the new string of apps that may take its place – such as Periscope which Twitter owns – but how can they freshen up their image and make it appealing to the gap of 1.3 Billion people who use Facebook but not Twitter?
It’s highly unlikely that Twitter is going anywhere soon, but I’m sure many people were thinking the same thing when MySpace ruled the internet too. Does the problem lay within the generation of content or is it deeper than that, such as age and culture? There is a lot of content that you don’t want to see thrown your way, the ads can be annoying but overall I’m glad Twitter has made it this far. For the sake of the millions who use it, here’s to hoping they make it another ten years and continue trending upwards in the market, there is still time to get in now and hang on for the ride!