Twitter is suffering an identity crisis. The decade-old social platform was once a place for sharing fresh ideas and sparking social justice initiatives. It was credited with helping launch the Arab Spring, a massive wave of protests and government turn-overs in the Middle East. Now, it’s most known for being the space where Kanye and Donald Trump go to call people names.
Here are the issues facing Twitter right now:
- Young users are turning to SnapChat and Instagram.
- It’s become a home for trolls, bigots and name-callers.
- Its stock price has dropped to all-time lows (but it has slowly rebounded this month).
- The number of tweets sent now is nearly half the number sent just two years ago.
- Facebook is aggressively going after its live video and news audience.
In a nutshell, existing users are tweeting less frequently, new users aren’t coming on board, the value of the company is dropping and the competition is getting fiercer.
CEO Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, has been back at the helm since June. He hasn’t righted the ship yet, but he has made a few small changes:
- According to Bloomberg, Twitter will no longer count links and photos against the 140 characters. This should start ‘soon’ but no actual start date has been released.
- Twitter created a “like” option to replace “favorites.”
- It’s now listed in the app store as a News product.
- Periscope launched last summer to strong numbers.
- Twitter will start streaming the NFL on Thursdays this fall.
None of these changes are earth-shattering, and some were met with anger initially, but they are helping to slowly, very slowly move the company forward. While some analysts say Twitter’s days are numbered, I wouldn’t count Twitter out just yet. But I do recommend being very strategic on the platform.
- Tweet content that is targeted for Twitter users which means information and inspiration. Save personal insights for another platform.
- Use images when possible to rank higher in Twitter’s new algorithmic feed but don’t share directly from Instagram.
- Try Periscope video. There’s a sizable audience though Facebook video is putting up some strong competition.
- Continue to retweet valuable content from others.
- Aim for an engagement rate above 1%.
- Slow down your rate of tweets to focus on quality over quantity.
There is no way to predict if Twitter will find its way or become the next MySpace. For now, it’s still a valuable platform for brands and thought leaders.
Image Credit (Modified): 123rf/Natalia Lukiyanova