The argument the writer makes is a valid one but just a hypothesis. You can't say for sure if that was the reason. Developers are not sprinting to build apps on Instagram and Snapchat but both are growing like wildfire. A social network needs to be social, feel social, and make you feel like you have friends who want to listen to your drivel on it.
For all you know, Ev might have turned it into a "pulse of the planet" and it would've still failed to be social and/or make money. Also, we're talking of a 2009 meeting that talks of his ambition, that's |7| years ago - ample time for it to have gone astray in a different direction.
I think one of the biggest challenges for Twitter is on-boarding new users.
With regards to the platform itself: it would be nice if Twitter would had some sort of article quoting mechanism. It's not uncommon to see a Tweet with text from an online article included as a picture. I also do this myself sometimes, since it seems to me people are more eager to click a link if they get a much better grasp the linked content and 140 characters is just too little for this purpose.
This is worse than ever, they invest most of their effort in getting you to follow their cherry picked celeb users for your country. Then they spend the rest of their effort trying to ban you.
- Don't give us an email > account locked
- Don't give us a phone number > account locked
- Don't change your egg avatar > shadow banned
Also they don't lock out your account because of a lack of an email or phone number - you just need 1 of those to signup.
From there it follows that Twitter might prepopulate a few tabs with News, Entertainment, Video Games, etc. for new users the same way reddit does a default front page.
How does that work? Were you in social marketing? If not, a term-of-the-employment-agreement required this? If the latter, that's the most horrendous thing I've heard today (other than, you know, assault, rape, murder, mayhem, and war)
I would think this functionality is removed from the site by now. After all, employees might state things on their personal Twitter profile that the company does not agree with.
These days I try to keep my Twitter account more or less anonymous, so I can be free to say the things I believe or want to say. I make sure my Twitter account can not be linked to my LinkedIn / StackOverflow / Github profiles.
My problem with twitter is exactly the opposite. Each tweet might be brief, but there are _so many_ tweets to scroll through, multiple sources as they can repeat themselves or retweet. Then you add in _personal stuff_ that gets thrown in from these key players adding more noise.
I just don't have time nor willing to put in the "effort" to make twitter work. It is just not worth it to me to be on the cusp of breaking news vs being slightly behind with a curated reddit. Even better is making use of multiple focused multireddits like:
/me/m/code/, /me/m/sports/, /me/m/games/, /me/m/news/.
To me, that is true brevity in my goal of getting a glance at current events in my fields of interest.
But all this has since languished, as neither their site nor their official apps makes it easy to show lists.
For me I follow about 30 ppl and remove the too talkative ones inorder for the feed to stay manageable and provide the right amount of signal. That's about 10-20 tweets/day. I think people that follow a lot of accounts must use lists or something else.
What I have done is use Twitter as a real time newsfeed, and do not read all the tweets I missed. I open twitter and look at the current tweets, possibly scrolling back a few hours. If I missed something, who cares. If it was important it will likely show up here or some other aggregating new site I frequent.
Twitter is also great for real-time reactions when watching an event on TV. It's akin to people watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. For some shows, the tweets are better than the show and offer an additional level of entertainment.
Perhaps it's just a different way of getting news. If there's a topic that is interesting, it's much easier to find a niche subreddit to follow or go straight to the source. I don't know what experts or subject areas avoids the inevitable "now let's show how clever we are", "share our personal life incessantly", or "argue with some Internet idiot over something really dumb with 140 characters".
If one of those experts has something really interesting to say, it's not the Tweet, it's a blog post, it's a site, etc that will bubble up through other sources already curated and Twitter can be skipped. Again, it's very possible there are specific subjects where it's great, but personally have yet to find them. I've never seen a Tweet that had value by itself and the site adds nothing of value to my Internet experience. I hate it when people link to tweets because you wonder what can really be said in that medium which isn't just some witty retort.
Do people just consume the net differently?
It's also quite useful for up to date information. If I'm trying to find updates about what's happening at an even - especially if I'm trying to find information from multiple sources - Twitter is often the best venue. If I'm trying to find a summary of what happened days later, yeah, a blog post or article would probably be better.
Of course, you can emulate some of the functionality of what Twitter does on other platforms. But the same can be said for most of the web. Blogs are a good example - I'd argue that it'd be much easier to use a personal web page from 1994 to emulate what a blog does than it would be to use a blog to emulate what Twitter does.
Subreddits are fine but they are also sometimes fraught with a subreddit specific bias that might be seriously off-putting.
The market for news tickers isn't as large as it is for some other types of social networks. People need to move beyond user count.
Likes are similar to retweets.
Seems like such an absurd distinction.
Twitter is also fast and snappy compared to obese FB. It's basically noble in comparison.
Hacker News is a niche product. Should it branch out into celebrity news to grow their audience?
Man, I would pay 10x as much for that!
I use my main Twitter feed for development news and info sec stuff so the people I follow are pretty visible in those industries.
My news feed is done through feedly, which includes more mainstream news, celeb gossip, architecture and other random topics I'm interested in.
If I combined the two, I'd go nuts in a day trying to sort through it all. I've learned over time to curate my own feed and to never "cross the streams" if you know what I mean. It works well and instead of trying to filter thought so much cruft, I have specific apps for the topics I want to keep up on.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are all warrens. Twitter is a plaza.
Even 5 years ago it wasn't clear whether warrens or plazas would win. They were betting human behavior would change under different constraints -- maybe we'd move beyond our tiny friend networks, come out of our warrens, and have a global party in the plaza. It looks like either we're not ready for that yet, or we'll never be ready for it, because it's suboptimal.
That's not to say plazas don't have their place. It's just that right now we prefer to spend most of our time in the comparative safety of the warren.
This Google dataset puts it as the 5,109th most frequent word, between cached and slip
This one from the British National Corpus puts it 7,702nd between "pro" and "frontier"
Loads of little hidiholes of separate content that are connected by a larger network.
>That's not to say plazas don't have their place. It's just that right now we prefer to spend most of our time in the comparative safety of the warren.
Reddit (plaza) is 7 on alexa. Well below Facebook's 3rd place ranking, but high enough that I don't think we can say anything meaningful about the warren/plaza distinction outside the simple fact that facebook has implemented user engagement extremely well. Twitter (plaza) is 10th.
But note the average time on the site. Reddit outranks Facebook. So I'm not sure that each individual could be said to be spending most of their time in a warren.
Of course I think all this doesn't include hits from mobile apps which is probably the majority of the time for all of these sites so you can probably ignore this whole post.
You're mixing metaphors. This discussion is using plaza/warren as defined by GGP's linked block post:
"A warren is a social environment where no participant can see beyond their little corner of a larger maze... A plaza is an environment where you can easily get to a global/big picture view of the whole thing. "
You cannot see any content you would like on facebook; hence it is a warren. You can look at almost any subreddit on Reddit, hence it is a plaza. By the blog post's definition.
Cathedral/bazaar is ESR's metaphor for [F]OSS software development happening either behind closed doors or in the open.
>They're like old-school programmer forums - if you just jump in as a non-member and try to engage you may well be told to GTFO or lurk more.
That's not my experience on any subreddit so I can't agree on this part. But maybe I'm in an echo chamber so I no longer see the distinction. Do you have any tips to see if I'm in an echo chamber? Or does this just involve intentionally crossing norm boundaries and how is it distinct from trolling? /semi-rhetorical
> A social network needs to be social, feel social, and make you feel like you have friends who want to listen to your drivel on it.
Completely agree. I see people I follow reply to each other, but when I comment on theirs, they don't. They aren't even celebrity, just engineers from various tech companies. I feel like all I can do is either retweet or like. I feel cold. I go on FB, comment, I usually get more replies from strangers I don't know but care enough to comment.
This is sad.
Have you tried clicking it? Because that's it..
Not saying it is good but it kinda works for my purpose on the site anyway.
What they really need is a place to share their press announcements or agenda. They could do it on their own blogs/sites, but it's easier to follow Twitter.
The only "normal" people (people without following) who use (in a sense write/tweet) Twitter are trolls. What else can you do with 140chars if not either promote something, share a link, or troll/be snarky/harass? And Twitter at the same time is trying to get rid of the people who actually use their product besides famous people.
That was the end of his Twitter journey.
How many potential new users fit this pattern, are caught by the 'bot' filter, and are shut out of the platform, I wonder?
Also Twitter sucks, that's why it won't grow, it's mostly bots anyway. (I would know, I wrote tons for it, laughably easy to grow massive accounts under their nose)
1) Twitter requiring a phone number during signup
2) Twitter having a lot of bots
in the same message? How are they supposed to curb bot registrations if not by checking email/phone combo? I get it that it's trendy to complain about Twitter, but why employing self-contradictions for that?
I think the author of the OP has good points, but with the huge rush to monetize as fast as possible in 2012 I doubt there would ever be patience to achieve the goal - nor do I think they've used their engineering resources wisely. I don't think a single person on HN can tell you what the hell their 5000 something engineers actually do (may be wrong number), given the frankly very limited usages of the site and the apps, and the lack of features over time.
I actually found it far more interesting overall than Facebook (hah! says a lot about my social network) and Reddit.
First, switching contexts between subjects I'm deeply interested in was exhausting. I need categories, or even different accounts to group them.
Second, my borderline OCD has a hard time not reading everything, so I wound up curating my list of follows to "reasonable" accounts,and not spammy one that post every few minutes and take over the feed. Unfortunately, there are a LOT of those.
Third, I thought -- what I HOPED -- would be true is that the platform would allow me to respond to all these great posters, and get a response in return, but this hardly ever happened. I'm sure I was buried in their feeds, even if my response was worth a reply.
So I was going to reply pointing out how this is impossible. No single person can address the stream of hundreds or thousands of people who want to reply and/or ride your coattails to Twitter fame.
When it occurred to me there's a decent opportunity here for someone who wants a machine learning project; given a stream of replies to a tweet from a celebrity, what's the 3 most popular questions/sentiments being expressed? (Or whatever number.) After a while, even a human secretary wouldn't be able to perform that function, it just gets to be so much, but you can't tire a machine.
Twitter's got the data streams you need already.
Of course, it still isn't necessarily going to satisfy you from the individual questioner's point of view, but maybe you feel like it at least contributed to the stream.
There should be a way to throttle heavy posters / group their posts.
The people I really care more about hearing from get drowned out, and the rest, while interesting is less so... and twitter's attempts at promoting populist articles on top exacerbates the issue, at least for me. I liked it better where I mostly saw the most recent stuff on top. Not to mention their weird content filters, where certain posts just aren't even visible... sometimes when you're looking at your own timeline.
There is no brand/person that I find so "interesting" that I would want to "follow" them. Whilst I do have a twitter account, I used it to log into an airport wifi once; I don't follow anyone I don't know.
I even find the word "follow" uncomfortable, maybe even an anathema, as it suggests that I'm not as good as they are, and yet another something to confirm their brand celebrity.
Now I appreciate not everyone is trying to be a brand on twitter, and if someone could have multiple channels I could subscribe to, then I might be able to monitor someone's business world (but of course, I have LinkedIn), my family and friends' pictures (which are all on Facebook or Google+), and even seek advice for things to do and places to eat (like on Yelp, but just kidding, I use Facebook for this as well), all inside Twitter, but that's simply not how it's set up.
Indeed, the only suitable use seems to be the thing I have no interest in whatsoever.
So maybe I just don't understand how twitter can be interesting or useful, but if it is just another celebrity/gossip magazine, or some kind of entertainment news/television replacement, then it's stagnation shouldn't be surprising: There are plenty of players in this space, and there will be another.
The counterpoint here is that for all platforms what this is true. If I post something on Instagram I typically get no interaction, same with snapchat, same with Twitter.
Why? I don't have that many people who want to interact with what I post apparently. I'm also not a super frequent poster, don't go around commenting and liking etc...like super users do.
I find Twitter to be at least as engaging as the rest of the platforms, so I think it's just that other platforms happened to be where the culture was.
Note also that for all of the current major social platforms: Snapchat, Facebook and to a lesser degree Instagram, they all got their huge dedicated user base from people under 18. Twitter never had a youthful start - it was almost all tech people from the TC post to the SXSW boost, and an older demo from the start.
That's an important distinction that I think is overlooked.
However, what you're saying fits in quite nicely with the thesis of the argument: If Twitter had seen itself as a platform for capturing and analyzing "the real-time state of the world" instead of a "social network" or a "media company," its opaque product would likely have been less of an issue.
If Twitter accepts the role as a news outlet, they're still in an awkward position. Conventional news networks are already grasping to maintain relevance in a world increasingly self-connected. If Twitter overtly embraced that as its primary value proposition, all of its support from media companies, which are really what propped it up IMO, would vanish overnight.
In fact, with nearly 320 million users, media companies already believe they need to be on Twitter to reach their audiences. With a billion users, it would only be more true.
Twitter's only incentive is its use as a broadcast platform for people who are, in general, otherwise famous. People hop on to interact with and read content from them. If large numbers of this group decided that Twitter represented competition and not an asset, they'd dump it and the attraction would go away.
For years the only place I heard of Twitter was television channels desperately begging people to get online and tweet them. It has finally penetrated to the point where most fairly tech-savvy people have started an account and issued 3-4 tweets, but that took years of constant pushing by mainstream outlets.
Twitter is for what I care about, relative to the general drivel that FB thinks I value. My friends on FB certainly don't necessarily share my interests with what I like to read about in my spare time.
Of course, actually doing this in 2010 would have been extremely ambitious, given that sentiment analysis was an up-and-coming field having recently overtaken by extreme hype (just look at the edit wars on the Wikipedia article  in their effort to revert marketing drivel). It was a far more sure bet at the time to pivot towards display ads and a more locked-down ecosystem, and about new user onboarding  and content curation , than the even more vague promise of being able to mine useful data out of aggregates of Tweets (preferably in near-real-time).
This particular bet may have been the wrong one, as the next year academic papers were coming out by the dozens about sentiment analysis on Twitter; by this time the company had doubled down on display ads and keeping more users inside the application with embedded videos, a captive shortener, a captive image host, the acquisition and relaunch of native mobile clients, and the like.
After yet another year, in 2012 Facebook smoked them with their ad onslaught  and also bought Instagram for good measure. Twitter acquired Crashlytics in 2013 and then the ad network MoPub and reworked it into an embeddable Twitter SDK that app makers would want to use , then bought a machine learning startup and I finally was sure the omnipresent sentiment mining Twitter would materialize  but this ship sailed at last when they sold most of that to Google after all  to focus on their 'core product', which isn't growing... a problem the article, despite its title, doesn't offer a solution for.
 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12083782  https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sentiment_analysi...  https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/12/2012-...  https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11914620  https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11942293  https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13429179  https://thenextweb.com/twitter/2011/12/08/a-new-version-of-t...  https://thenextweb.com/twitter/2011/12/08/why-twitters-disco...
As an example of sane analysis: I played WOW and Blizzard at one point said something to the extent of: we have 12.5 m players, we captured the entire market.
Then, you have usually the pr/marketing types that go after: every human being on this planet can be our user. Which is delusional.
Add to that the fact that most IPOs and VCs go after users and not much else (was it $20-$40 per user?), And you end up in the current state where everybody hopes so hard that it obscures judgement.
So, your understanding is just fine. Things have limits and Twitter may be at it.
If Twitter had stuck to reasonable goals, kept the product more or less where it started and stuck to a small team, they'd be printing money. Now we never know if they're going to make it out of the year.
And given the power their theories and related models have in the political world, we should all be very very worried.
There is no mistake. There are only so many premium car buyers in the world.
By the IT measures, Twitter is a mature company. It does one thing and it does it well. It can't grow infinitely.
Even if the average employee make $125,000 per year, they would have to fire EVERYONE. While it may not hurt to cut the number of staff, they'd also need to rethink pretty much every other aspect of their operation.
Do people not understand that revenue isn't the same as profit?
Well that's a matter of opinion! ;)
I don't understand the hate for them.
At this point Twitter is, as the original comment states, a mature company, but they aren't behaving like one. There is very little reason that Twitter hasn't gone bankrupt. A 2 billion dollar revenue, no profit and no plan for the future.
My best guess is that the people who invest in Twitter are all using it so heavily that they have become blind to the fact that it is a failing company/product.
seems a bit harsh, polarisation how ?
The average unit of content shared by a user on Instagram or Snapchat is vastly more entertaining and relevant, and I think they achieve that by being more visual. Those platforms are image- and video-first, and they have all kinds of image and video filters. If we gave those tools to a monkey, it would produce something worth sharing.
The quality of their content is enforced inherently by the tools they provide you to share with.
Facebook achieves the same in a different way, by tightly integrating with your identity and social circles.
Twitter doesn't have any form of inherent quality control. Tweets are just words with little context. The people tweeting are usually strangers.
The same can be said about most social networks.
> The average unit of content shared by a user on Instagram or Snapchat is vastly more entertaining and relevant, and I think they achieve that by being more visual. Those platforms are image- and video-first, and they have all kinds of image and video filters. If we gave those tools to a monkey, it would produce something worth sharing.
I would disagree and also call this "a complete waste of time and of no value to anybody".
I've always thought of the "Unfollow" button serving that purpose.
I might really really value a particular friend's opinion on tech, but constantly roll my eyes and sigh when he live-tweets his hot takes on Eurovision or football.
Because the conversation is public rather than private, you can also find existing relevant conversations that might answer your question. No need to always be the one doing the talking.
It can either be someone famous, like John Carmack, Elon Musk, Markus Persson. Or it can be someone obscure, say a person who made your favorite Chrome extension or an indie video game from 2000.
Also, it feels like the place to go if you want to connect with people around a real-time event. Imagine you think you felt an earthquake. You can quickly see if others felt it too.
These are all awesome uses of Twitter that anyone can benefit from without needing to have any followers.
They are also things I would miss if Twitter goes away, because I don't think there's anything equivalent that has these properties (not counting Twitter clones).
fyi accounts with low or no follower counts are now auto-blocked using the new safety features by most important people so this is no longer true.
Twitter has some great aspects. It's really lightweight and doesn't enforce mutuality, making it possible to form communities on events on topics, or to learn in realtime what's going on somewhere. But as a product it is complete and utter garbage.
And twitter can't improve, because it's hardcore base is super convinced that its critical flaws are features.
(And it should go without saying that Dick did his job, as assigned, unbelievably well. It just seems to me he was assigned the wrong job at the wrong time and this makes sense of why in a way that makes sense to me finally).
Like Zuckerberg/Sandberg or Jobs/Cook or...
But yes - surrounding Jack (pre-Evan switch) with a STRONG #2 was the move. When that didn't happen, can't blame them for not seeing it at the time!, Dick was probably the best they could do. Still, it's sad. Evan's vision for Twitter was correct and more obvious now than ever.
Even with only a 100 million users it would seem that an 11 year old company would have found its footing and started to make a profit, regardless of how small. The people managing Twitter are thinking in those terms, nor are its investors. They seem looked in a dotcom era mindset, where growth most come at any cost. They aren't going to be content with Twitter being a niche product.
The fundamental problem is people who want status updates as a service see facebook as doing a better job and its paid for by selling your private stuff you don't care about and NSA access which is behind the scenes and "OK" but not in your face. Facebook could charge money and it would still crush twitter simply by not having as much spam.
So if your company has no niche in the ecosystem and nobody wants to buy stuff, the short term solution is lots of employees and hope for a miracle. Hence 3500 people to basically run a web to IRC gateway that nobody wants because facebook and slack (and others) do it better. If there's no miracle the employee numbers will be 0 soon enough.
 Yes, "everyone" is a slight exaggeration. If you exclusively use DuckDuckGo and Gnu Social, you're the odd one out, I'm sorry to say.
For nearly everyone, Facebook is just better in every single way for the things that they actually want something "social" to do - which seems (from looking over people's shoulders, since I'm no longer a Facebook user) to be having group chats in real-time, posting baby pictures, sharing and commenting on crappy Buzzfeed material, and organising events. Twitter doesn't do any of those very well. From a really simple perspective, Facebook already has a mechanism for posting status updates, which is the main thing people understand that Twitter does... and if everyone you know is already on Facebook (which has been the case probably for almost the entirety of Twitter's existence), why would you post your updates on Twitter?
Of course you can be narcissistic on Facebook, but you can just add your friends and react on their shit, and occasionally post a photo of your weekend.
On Twitter, if you're not capital I interesting or flailing for attention, you'll just get ignored. Hence the other comments that Twitter isn't social at all.
Twitter is great if you like to sell yourself (and are at least mildly good at it). Otherwise it's a stymied feed reader for random thoughts.
So? Twitter is as much a platform for consumption as it is for broadcasting.
Also, I find that statement to be pretty untrue. For example, my own account only contains very few "original programming". Most of the time, I just scroll through my timeline and push "retweet" on the most interesting stuff. That has been enough to earn me nearly 150 followers.
So it makes Twitter a frustrating experience for those that do not "just" want to consume content, and it's one of the reason that it is not growing.
Is there a way to get the adoption necessary as a bootstrapped product that knows how it's going to make money from day one?
Whatever might have happened, the obvious way to profits capable of reviving the zombie we see now isn't actually that far from the "media company in ads" model that TFA derides. Twitter is a broadcast platform. It is most valuable to those broadcasters who reach and monetize a large audience. Charge them for that audience without chasing the audience away, and now you have a business.
Agreed. I always thought I was just dumb or something, since how could such a massive company with hundreds of millions of users have a completely nonsensical ui? It must be intentional on their part, but to me the user experience seems capricious.
...And to actively encourage witty, retweetable "hot takes" instead of in-depth discussions on issues. If someone espouses a "political opinion" in a 140-character tweet, whether or not said opinion actually stands up to scrutiny doesn't matter as long as it's emotionally resonant.
This is why Twitter has any value at all, to be honest. It's a highly efficient means of propagating memes (actual sense of the word) from famous people to non-famous people with short attention spans (nearly everyone). The non-famous-people then spread the brief, succinct memes to their non-famous friends, etc. etc.
Twitter (and Facebook, for that matter) is a net loss for humanity, IMO.
No, not really on the same path. If Facebook was strictly a status update website, then the comparison would be proper. But Facebook's platform was rich with content and varied features. That's what let its API system become such an enhancement: Other sites would integrate Facebook into their own platform for a feature or two, but people would return to Facebook proper because it allowed them to see those features _among other features_. In the end, regardless of their intent, websites consuming the Facebook API were essentially being integrated into Facebook, and not the other way around.
Twitter, on the other hand, _is_ pretty much a status update website. And if it kept its API open, it would have been a much different story than Facebook. No one would have a reason to return to Twitter, they would simply continue to visit the sites/apps that integrated the tweets. Whatever ads Twitter had would score even less clicks than they do now. It would, perhaps, integrate Twitter into the ecosystem more than at present, but I doubt it would open up much opportunities for revenue.
All that is, of course, conjecture. Still, I have a hard time seeing the Twitter API leading to something more.
Twitter's great at marketing, PR, and sales. It's also a fun way to make a quip, if that's the only thing you do. However, it's pretty lousy as a means to have a discussion. Anything over a full round trip exchange gets lost in the noise so quickly as to be useless.
To the article's credit, it was no surprise for me to read that the current CEO made it his top priority to make the platform interesting to advertisers. Job well done, I say. He has succeeded spectacularly. But at what cost?
Unless you have thousands of followers you're invisible. This encourages caustic hyperbole in order to illicit responses. Why is anyone surprised that spam, negativity, and the friction of trying to communicate with actual friends isn't interesting after the novelty wears off? I agree that they shot themselves in the foot with killing the API, but I think that only sped up the inevitable.
Twitter's problem is that it does and always has lacked discipline. It spends an enormous amount of money on product and engineering and has almost no velocity to show for it. If they could have reigned it in and taken a careful approach from the get-go, things would have been very different for them.
2012 was way too late to actually right the ship. Costolo was chosen to try to bring meagre profitability to the money fire. Whatever decisions they made at that point were nearly immaterial. If instead Twitter had exercised careful hiring and engineering discipline, it could have greatly cut costs, which would have given it significantly more leverage and more options by the time 2012 came around.
It's pretty nice when you want to follow a handful of celebrities... when you're in tech, for instance, you wind up with a few hundred people you're interested in seeing stuff from, but it winds up too much, and then drowns out any people you may know personally. Add to that the follow-spam crap that just floods the experience, and there's not much that can be done imho.
I think most of its goodwill was from being first in its niche, but as I grow older, I notice that increasingly many of the older net is becoming less fun to use. Netflix is just becoming a cable network when I loved it being a rental place, Amazon is a place where you consume streaming stuff and less a storefront you can trust, Facebook is a place to learn about the latest memes your grandmother likes, etc.
I wonder if we won't start to see a lot more failures to grow in coming years,
People love to point finger at individuals but maybe the real underlying problem is that users just don't care about Twitter enough in a world where Facebook exists.
I never understood Twitter. It never made sense to me as a normal person.
It's a tool for celebrities, not for regular people - It's a niche market - Niche is not compatible with free.
1. Keep metrics.
2. Make as a platform for free speech, except when breaking laws.
3. Open up API / limits.
A better metric would be 'longest active using user base', and sustanance of it.
All things that grow can fall, it's endurance that's key.
That's a pretty bold claim. I mean, everyone sets out to change things in some way --I think this thought was an afterthought that formed later on, not at genesis.
I also don't believe they are the only ones who can effect a kind of public megaphone or rather police radio everyone could broadcast in or listen into. There is an intersect of that, but for the most part it serves commercial interests and that is the main reason anyone cares about "numbers". If it were a public service, the press and all the activists and all the commercial interests would not care about "lack of growth"
That said, some ideas about handling the negativity for end users would be to enable a few features which would further frustrate growth but give users more control:
Don't ban users but do classify them be it automatic classification or crowd-classified. Allow users to allow comms from these classes or not.
So for example, if I only want to receive tweets from "clean" accounts, that's all I can ever get. If I want more mature streams, allow those too, if I want to allow "offensive" then allow those in too. Basically, I'm a fan of Flickr and the control they give users and mods to moderate content. It's a pretty useful approach, but it sort of undermines the "social network viral growth" requirement.
That said, social has come, but it will go as people settle down on how to interact with on-line social networks.
I don't know the brand's side of that is as clunky as the complainers side. But the complainers side is clunky. You can't tell if it's a company that will respond, if they do, the average wait, if you have to follow prior to a DM, what info they need, etc.
It sounds boring, but would lead to something they could upsell to the brands.
On Twitter's end, basically forcing brands to interact, since you can't delete complaints (you can't can you?)
It was a similar situation during the Terry Semel days at Yahoo! Too much focus on becoming a media company and selling ads.
When there's a news event I'm interested in, I tend to search twitter for keywords, or the relevant #hashtag - as a news consumption service, using it in this manner works quite well. However as others have said, unless you are in the 1% that have millions of followers, you are basically tweeting into a vacuum; it's effectively an anti-social network.
My main problem is how to organise it all. I don't have time to endlessly scroll through a mixed bag of tweets in one stream - I tried tweetdeck, but my preferred usage model would have resulted in 100s of columns, which isn't right either.
Am I missing a feature here? i.e. is there a way to create filtered 'lists' that I haven't found, or do I need a specialist client?
God mode articles that start with the word 'why' are usually suspect, this one is no exception
Grow, or SPLAT!
It is focused on moments, topics and the "discussions" around them. The UI limits discussions, by design or accidental design. But it works, just hammers everything down.
You want to witness news as they are being digested by the media and turned into "real news"? Use Twitter.
There are only so many news junkies, but for those, nothing beats Twitter.
It is the breaking news ticker bar on the bottom of the TV, amplified - plus the ability to yell at it.
I love it, and I hate it.
The mobile web app is a disaster. There are two back buttons (one in the browser and one in the app), and if I click on a "retweet with comment" to go into the original tweet, and then try either back button, it doesn't take me back to the "retweet with comment".
"Hatching Twitter" claimed they smoke a lot of dope in the offices there. I'm inclined to believe it.
Zuck was 100% apropos: it's a clown car that fell into a gold mine and now doesn't know what to do with it.
> to the rampant, flagrant, unchecked abuse unleashed on prominent minorities, women, and ...
No, this is the audience. This is the open and free internet and trying to blame it for business failures is part of the previous fault. Belief in this as a fault, is the result of this gullible and simple minded audience affected by a sensationalist media (who are only slightly more sophisticated).
the web accessible log was virtually an afterthought that only in hindsight became their main feature.
Perhaps twitter is exactly like Fondue pots. Until it exists demand accumulates for decades perhaps. It bursts on the scene and for awhile the stockpiled demand results in exponential fad like growth until virtually all weddings in the 70s received at least one fondue pot as a wedding gift. Eventually the centuries of stockpiled demand for crusty bread and delicious hot cheesy sauce subside to normal business as usual demand levels, in other words use of fondue pots dropped from absolutely everyone because they were the hot new gadget to perhaps less than 1%. Most of the demand for fondue went into the nacho sector, arguably modern loaded nachos are a superior form of cheez sauce delivery over fondue. Or perhaps the loaded baked potatoe is the descendant of the 70s fondue. Or what little 2010s fondue exists today is the descendant of 1970s fondue.
The point being that nothing existed like Fondue, I mean twitter, before, so its going to burn the underbrush of society like a forest fire very brightly for a short amount of time before declining back into normal obscurity much like telephone modem BBSes of the 80s, perhaps.
I'd postulate that "Television" is a long term bubble. The viewership numbers are horrible looks like newspapers. Everyone over 65 watches like 16 hours per day and no one under 20 watches TV. My kids don't watch TV other than streaming a couple series they learned about online or from friends. Its kind of funny that when I was a little younger it was a holiness signalling fad to declare my kids will not watch TV all day like me and my parents generation and we're gonna not own a TV blah blah blah like most social signalling no one did it or believed it but just enjoyed basking in the hype. However now that I have kids, kids don't watch TV anymore once they get past babysitter era stuff like animated PBS stuff. I can't get my kids to watch TV so I can get the social status from claiming to cut them off, LOL.
Social media is dead now except for middle aged women sharing pix of cats if they're left wing or kids if they're right wing. We live today in the era of interruption where being interrupted by your phone and watch proves you're important and well informed. The content interrupting you is unimportant, what matters is being seen in public being very active online, constantly being interrupted and posting stuff. VLM's law is all social media interaction eventually devolves to Tamagotchi.
Twitter is more than a fad in that a fad has nothing to perpetuate it beyond social signalling. But its less than a major change in society like "cars" or "suburbs" or "industrialization".
it is big already
Anybody who thinks its our economy and mindset is sick? Why is something deemed as "failing" when its not growing. Twitter has millions of people on it. If its userbase stays exactly like it is I don't consider this "failing".
The mindset is that growth will somehow fix the broken business model. Well if that's true, then give us the number of users that will make Twitter profitable. I mean would Twitter be better of with 500 million users, perhaps a billion?
This neverending focus on growth isn't healthy at all.
Adults grow on intellect but not on body size, and if only in a bad way because they get fat. So no you don't die if you stop growing.
Its our money and banking system with money created out of dept and dept must be payed that does not exist. While the banks print money out of thin air. This system is very unnatural and this is exactly what causes our economy to constantly need to grow, produce more next year, get more users ... to essentially pay off the ever growing dept.
Because they wanted my cell phone number, and my personal Identification, not unlike paypal.
Twitter was anonymous, and now its not; I think its not growing just like gmail.com, before when it was all anonymous many people were joining, now going in people know they have no anonymity, thus many simply don't complete the registration process once they know that twitter is collecting everything about them, and knows exactly who there are, & where they are ( cell phone tracking device ).
Game over for anonymity, and that marked the end of growth for social networking.
About two years ago for twitter.
FourSquare made a data business work because location data is valuable from the largest to the smallest business. Twitter data isn't and so the comparison is tenuous at best. And Bloomberg, really ? The idea that Twitter could be an alternative completely misreads the industry.
I think Twitter has two real value propositions: one, they are a great way for people with a following to broadcast messages. Two, they are a great way for people to engage with others whom they admire, because they seriously mitigate the problem of fan interaction for anyone with a following. People get Twitter accounts because they believe that when they tweet someone, that person sees it, and may respond to it. For example, @pmarca replied to a tweet I sent.
You'll notice that both of these benefits center on broadcasters and not nobodies. Twitter got confused and thought the nobodies were the drivers of value, whereas it's really having broadcasters that nobodies a) want to hear from and b) want to have a hope in engaging with.
Maybe there's an alternate universe where Twitter was offered as niche software to publicists at ungodly annual sums, and the general public was invited in to participate, witness, and grovel freely.
The janky upstart uses that small edge (and its much lower costs, price points, or other efficincies) to get a foothold, then steadily builds out a complete solution that is more compelling than the status quo...which then finds itself disrupted.
With that context in mind, here's the opening line of Bloomberg's Terminal Info page:
"The Bloomberg Terminal brings together real-time data on every market, unparalleled news and research, powerful analytics, communications tools and world-class execution capabilities — in one fully integrated solution."
I'd like to draw your attention to that first two parts: "real time data on every market, unparalleled news.."
To gather and process that data and unparalleled news, Bloomberg employs an army of human news gatherers. The company is private, so I don't know their financials, but I'd be willing to wager that its news gathering organization is one of the top contributors to Bloomberg's COGS.
Meanwhile, how many trades (and how much $$$) in equities, currencies, and commodities happen every day based on information about something that just happened in the world?
How much of an advantage does having that information first confer to the person who gets it?
Is it not conceivable that, had Twitter had focused 100% on turning the one billion-plus everyday humans with smartphones into news gatherers and leveraged a mix of software and professional analysis to turn it into data and info that traders would love to pay for...that it could have beaten Bloomberg at the "real time data and unparalleled news" game with a MUCH lower cost structure?
People are posting pictures of their food and calendar quotes; it's not that Twitter cannot utilize the information ... there's just not much to work with in the first place.