What is going on with Twitter? This one-time social media giant has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. The most recent posts deal with the potential M&A between Twitter and companies such as: Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Disney. All this talk has began rising twitters shares price because shareholders want the company to be bought out. But why? I want to analyze some of Twitters down falls and potential M&A. Twitter has two major issues that are hurting this platform and leading to Stalled growth: hate speech and management/identity crisis.
Twitter was released in the first quarter of 2006. At the time it was very innovative. A social platform where you could connect and share thoughts with millions of users. It had a bumpy ride into 2009; However, it had staying power the way other tech starts up didn’t. Twitter was an app that everyone used, it wasn’t just limited to tech geeks. Famous personalities including celebrities and athletes all started using Twitter which attracting millions of users. Following celebrities brought us closer into their lives. This rapidly increased the growth on Twitter.
From this graph, we can see Twitters rapid growth from 2010 to 2015 and its stall there after. Twitter is a news source. If you wanted quick tid-bits of information, Twitter was the go to. For example, you could see highlights from the big game or debate if you missed the events. There was also great commentary. News outlets blew up on twitter. Following accounts such as WSJ, Bloomberg or Fox news kept you up to date on everything from markets to politics. The growth of Twitter changed the way and speed news and information spread. However, recently twitter has been having trouble keeping up with this exponential growth. Their timeline – which is what twitter is known for – is slowing losing relevance. Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are to blame. These apps also focus enough on real-time news and are starting to eliminate the need for Twitter. Also young, fickle users are flocking to Snapchat.
Twitter is an explicit social platform. Users and management know this, and still do relatively nothing. Maybe, managers choose not to act because they know this is a staple of twitter; Unmuted and uncensored content. Drawing from our class discussion on reality of internet and social media for that matter, twitter has turned into a polarized mosh pit. Umair Haque summarizes his opinion of what is destroying Twitter here. There are many accounts that congregate like minded individuals – Group polarization. This is a problem because many people only get one perspective on issues. This makes it difficult for people to express different opinions and be accepted. Here’s a perfect example. Colin Kapernick tweets expressing his opinion and gets applauded, ripped and everything in between. Essentially, Twitter has become a mess and this has affected the growth of twitter drastically. When you want to express an opinion or view, be prepared to get attacked.
Management and Identity Crisis:
Where do I even begin, Twitter’s problems go all the way to their ownership and leadership. This article highlights all the movement that have occurred inside the company. Summed up, Twitter has had four CEO’s in nine years of existence and 27 senior executives have left the company since 2007. It’s not hard to see that internally Twitter is a mess. Management issues leads to a lack of image and productivity inside of a company. Constant movement at the top leads to a company that is constantly changing what it focuses on. Take for example, Twitter’s most recent attempts to try and rebrand their social media platform into a multi-media platform. They have attempted this by live streaming debates and NFL football games. Twitter is trying to do this because they have lost their identity – who they are and what they stand for. Through losing their identity they have also confused the public which is resulting in slowing growth.
I remember enjoying Twitter so much because for the first time I felt like I had my own platform to express myself. I actively kept up with coaches and schools that were recruiting me and I had people interested in my college commitment etc. I had a large following of people that attended my high school because they all wanted to get a closer glimpse of me. When I committed and came to BC to play football things changed. Many of my peers didn’t use Twitter. I no longer had the same following. My twitter usage changed from keeping up with high school drama and other things to following sports and national news. I began tweeting a lot less. More importantly, I found that I began unfollowing or muting many people because their tweets were annoying and aggressive. I never realized until writing this post that I stopped following many people because of hate language or the fact they I didn’t agree with their views. Essentially falling into the trap that most of us do with social media platforms; Falling into my own group.
Do I think that Twitter will be able to survive this turmoil? Yes, I do. However, I believe that twitter will have to continue to place more emphasis on it news capability and speed to keep more people from signing off. That is why I believe Twitter being acquired by Google would potentially be beneficial for the company. Google will hopefully inject strong leadership and direction into the company that will help it find its niche and identity. Lastly here is an interesting article on why Disney may not be a good fit with Twitter.