At the end of 2013 Twitter was on top of the world with a fantastic debut on the stock market raising more money to improve the platform and reach an even bigger audience. Unfortunately, less than two years later things don’t look quite so bright, not only on the stock market but also on the Internet which is full of rumors about a “Twitter upcoming death“. Although such rumors are often totally unjustified, some emerging details show that the micro-blogging social network is not having a great time:
- Twitter growth is slow (could be thought to be quite normal for an “old” social network that has been active for so many years)
- Growth is slow in spite of new attractive products (like Periscope). This is more worrying than a normal “slow down”
- Active users are decreasing
- Abandon rate is high. It is estimated that 1 billion users tried the social network and abandoned it.
Some will interpret this as “clear signs that Twitter is dying, whatever the whys and wherefores”. Some will look deeper into this and may discover the real Twitter paradox:
Twitter is failing because it’s unable to attract the “mass market”, or “average people”, but when their social network was born it began to grow very fast, but its strong point was exactly that it wasn’t a social for a mass market.
So this is the problem: they moved in their formative years towards the mass market and although they managed it, they didn’t improve the original identity of their social network. During that time the platform continued to be difficult to use and to understand for the “mass of average users”. While geeky people found many good reasons to use Twitter in its early years, the crowd is still asking “why should I use it?”.
So in 2015, Twitter is not a niche social network but neither is it good for the mass market.
What is it?
If Twitter manages to come up with an answer, they may save the social network from a slow agonising death.
Investors have already found Twitter’s weakness and that has triggered the decline in the value of the stock. Those early users who used it for business purposes (marketers, bloggers, influencers, businesses) are noticing a loss of organic engagement and social media marketing (Return on Investment). There are many problems ahead that are not that easy to solve. And competitors are strong.
Twitter has to decide what Twitter is in 2015, what it will be in the future and who is going to use it.