Twitter isn’t even a decade old. Yet in that short period of time it’s amassed 304 million monthly active users - including Pope Benedict XVI - changed the face of journalism, and had a huge impact on two presidential elections.
The social network, however, is arguably going through it’s toughest ever period.
While Instagram continues to grow its user base - it’s recently hit the 300 million mark - Twitter admitted to its investors that it’s been struggling to attract new users. They’ve responded in kind, causing the social network’s stock to fall to $31.24 - a 14.5% drop - the lowest it’s been since it debuted on the stock market in 2013.
Anthony Noto - Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer - recognized the company’s problems, stating that people were still unsure about how to use the site. He does, however, remain optimistic that the site can turn its fortunes around, brushing off claims that the network’s staff have had enough, and that morale is at its lowest ever point.
The company’s strategy has been been called into question recently. Edison Investment Research Analyst - Richard Wilson - stated that Twitter needed ‘a radical shift in strategy’ and that it would have to effectively move from ‘a one-product company to an eco-system.’
Twitter’s recent failings are reminiscent of those experienced by MySpace in 2011. You could argue that MySpace - despite its failings - invested in more projects than Twitter to keep itself relevant, launching a music store, for example, in 2008. Twitter, up until now, possibly hasn’t had the need to look further afield, but its stagnating user growth could be the first sign that its current product is starting to lose its appeal with the public.
The network’s strategy has also been negatively affected by continual turnover within its leadership structure. The company’s former CEO - Dick Costolo - stepped down this July, and as of yet, there’s been no word as to who’s going to replace him. To add to this, Twitter’s staff often have three of four managers over a short-period of time, causing unrest and making it incredibly difficult for strategies to be carried out as new faces continually change implementation strategies.
The average lifespan of a social network is 11 years. In that sense, Twitter should be coming to the end of its time. Yet Facebook - which was founded in 2004 - shows no signs of slowing down, and continues to be the world’s dominant network. But Facebook’s investment strategy has been based around reducing profits and investing money for the future, much like Amazon’s was. Twitter needs to follow suit. It must also embed a senior management team that’s dedicated to the cause and willing to remain at the company for a long period of time.