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How Long Until Twitter Dies?

Bye-Bye Birdie

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As you may or may not have heard, Twitter’s earnings report for Q1 2015 was leaked online this week. That’s pretty bad, but what’s worse is that they’ve had a rough few months, failing to meet any of their targets. As a direct result of this shareholders are jumping ship and their net worth has taken a pretty big broadside dent. How much trouble are they really in, though? Could this spell doom for Twitter?

In some senses, that was already on the horizon. You might argue that, even despite a disconcerting slump in profits, Twitter are still worth billions of dollars and an empire like that isn’t easy to topple. That’s not necessarily true, remember IBM? Or Enron? Stranger things have happened. Even if the company isn’t headed for an implosion, Twitter as we know it may well not be around for much longer.

If you look at all the inroads and investments made by the giant over the past couple of years, almost all of them have lead away from the 140 character micro blogging format that they’re known for. Periscope, Vine, it’s all image and video-based material. More to the point, larger, more comprehensive social media platforms (read: Facebook) offer the same basic service that Twitter does and people are beginning to treat it as such on a far more general scale. The fact of the matter is, to succeed as a social media platform now you have to make as many things available within the confines of said platform as possible, you have to give users as few reasons as possible to navigate elsewhere. In this regard, Twitter is a dinosaur.

The other key issue that Twitter face is that despite their on-going changes and assertions that abusive and threatening behavior is being stamped out, the platform is still a total minefield. Think about it, how often do you hear stories about well-known figures abandoning Facebook or Snapchat? Almost never, but it feels like a new figure is quitting Twitter, temporarily or otherwise, on a weekly basis. Even Stephen Fry, arguably the platform's greatest ambassador had to call time out. That’s not to say the minds behind Twitter are to blame for any of this, but it’s starting to take a heavy toll. Even their latest outlet, the video streaming service Periscope has become a bit of a slurry pit, the feed for the Baltimore riots is a thoroughly unpleasant place to be.

Perhaps most fundamentally though, Twitter is a mess. You can download all kinds of apps and add-ons to clean it up but in its most basic form if you have anything over 500 follows it gets so cluttered that you can lose posts in seconds. Hashtag searches can descend into a cacophony of meaningless white noise and user-tagging is a deeply flawed means of conversation, it can get flooded far too easily.

Financially they aren’t in any immediate danger, despite the drop in share prices. They are still on track to report increased revenue by the end of the year, but in the long term things are starting to look a bit more bleak. If you ask me it’s looking less like Twitter will die as such, and more like it will start to shift its weight. Instagram may well soon become the banner brand whilst the old name slowly begins to pale before ultimately being amputated sometime in the next 5 years, or at least swept further into the background. The nature of social media is changing, companies are becoming massive conglomerates built up of sites, apps, tech start-ups and larger technological and scientific initiatives. Twitter is already falling behind.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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How Long Until Twitter Dies? Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, April 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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