If you’ve seen any headlines about Twitter lately, they’ve probably been negative.
There’s been lots of news about Twitter’s slowing growth and dropping stock prices. The question is: why is such a popular social media platform struggling? The answer may be complicated.
Since its beginnings, Twitter has seen impressive growth, spurred by its accessible model and the growing number of celebrity profiles.
People joined Twitter to see what their friends were up to, post short snippets about their days and their thoughts, and connect with their favorite celebrities. In recent years, Twitter has grown into a power-house of more serious information.
Journalists use it to provide their followers with minute-by-minute updates on events as they develop. Companies use it to provide customer service and to boost their online marketing. Of course, lots of people are still using Twitter to post one-liners and tweet at their celebrity crushes.
Over the last couple of years, however, Twitter’s growth has slowed, with a corresponding decline in revenue.
These factors led former CEO Dick Costolo to resign in July 2015, with current CEO Jack Dorsey tacking over, first as interim and then as permanent CEO. While his term as CEO is just getting started, Dorsey has as of yet been unable to reverse Twitter’s slow growth trend.
Last week, Dorsey announced Twitter’s quarter 3 activity. The website’s active users grew up to 320 million, an 11% rise from 316 million users in the previous quarter. Revenue for the third quarter was $589.2 million, which was 58% higher than revenue from a year prior but still represented a loss of $131.7 million. The news led to a drop in stock performance.
Dorsey, however, is remaining optimistic about Twitter’s potential for future growth. He reported that about 800 million people are using all of Twitter’s platforms, including Periscope and Vine.
He is also hopeful that the new Moments feed, a curated collection of posts on a particular topic, will help to attract new users. What Twitter needs to do better, some analysts are arguing, is become more user-friendly and convey what exactly its value is. Enrique Dans at Forbes believes that Twitter has become a bit intimidating to the average user, who may worry that a quick tweet won’t be smart or funny enough. Twitter, at least in some people’s eyes, has become the domain of pithy comedians, celebrity voices, and smart social commentary. If Twitter wants to draw in more active users, it may need to get back to its roots and carve out a bigger space for casual tweets about simple everyday things.
Written by content manager Meghan Woolley
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