Is Twitter Dead, or on the Verge of a Revival?

by Sean Ogino |

Is Twitter Dead, or on the Verge of a Revival?

Just in time for Halloween, we have to ask ourselves: Is Twitter dead? Or will it be making a supernatural rebirth?

Only a few days ago, at their Q3 2016 earnings call, the company announced results that beat analysts’ expectations but still make it a loss-making company. More dramatically, it announced layoffs of 9% of its workforce, as well as the eventual demise of Vine, the short video-looping and sharing platform it owns.

Of course, this state of affairs didn’t come about overnight. The readings of all the experts- as far as the Twitter dead march is concerned, pinpoint towards the fact of lack of innovative spirit in the Twitter head office. It looks like Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is trying everything to bring back the boat safely to the shore. Albeit it’s too late and too little, but he is trying to overhaul the product from top to bottom. We will dive into what changes Twitter is planning to do to turn the tide of the current danger.

Is Twitter dead? Well, Vine is, but it’ll be preserved for mourners to view…

Twitter is all set to close down Vine, a looping video app. In this announcement, it said that users will be able to download their Vines and that the Vine website will remain online so users can continue to watch previously posted content. Twitter also says that the website will remain online because the company thinks that it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.

Of course, there is a scope to believe that Twitter wants to focus more on its Periscope product and live streaming rather than the short looping video service Vine, but the reality is different. Twitter acquired Vine before it had officially launched in 2012 for a reported $30m (£24.6m). Considering its six-second video nature, it was a perfect match for Twitter’s crispy 140-character posts and it began with a bang.  It became no. 1 app on the iTunes App Store only six months after joining the company. The app reached 200 million active users…and then it stagnated. Just like its rapid rise, the world saw its rapid decline.

vine sensor tower
If Sensor Tower’s data has to be believed, year-over-year worldwide downloads of the Vine app declined 55 percent in Q3 across both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The major reason for this decline was the fact that six seconds videos alone were not enough for Vine to compete with Snapchat and Instagram. By this time last year, all of Vine’s three co-founders had left Twitter, some due to layoffs.

Twitter had to get rid of it somehow! But having said that, it would be interesting to see if Twitter plans to integrate Vine-like features into its main app. Vine still has a dedicated fan base, including celebrities.

Is Twitter dead? Abuse on the platform might just kill it.

One of the biggest pain points of Twitter is its inability to control ceaseless and crass comments, which invariably takes the form of abuse. So much so that it has become synonymous with the platform. It is leaving people with no alternative than to stay away from the platform.

As usual, the most common victims of this slur have been celebrities. We saw how actor Leslie Jones quit the service. But it is not just repelling users, but the prospective buyers of Twitter are also not in favor of this indecency.  The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, said he walked away from a deal with Twitter due to its price, work culture, and the amount of abuse on the site. It’s quite clear from this example, how the unacceptable use of language plays a huge role in ruining the deal.

That’s why Twitter is planning to deal with these issues of abuse and trolls with new tools and policies in November. The sources have said that company is working hard to put important safety features in place to make Twitter a pleasant digital place. The company said in its third quarter shareholder letter that next month, it will be sharing meaningful updates to its safety policy, product, and enforcement strategy. Hence, in this November we may expect that the planned solution of Twitter will act as a deterrent to all-too-common abuses. As of now, though, we don’t know many details…

Is Twitter dead? Well, its feed is being reborn.

Every social media network is working on making its timelines/feeds more and more engaging. Twitter’s personalized timeline has been already in testing. This testing also involves video broadcasts, which are based on people’s interest graphs and key influencers’ tweets. The motive behind this move is the simplest to understand. I have been saying that the wisdom is not in showing people what you want them to see. It’s in letting people see what they want to see. That was the main reason why Snapchat removed its Auto Advance feature, which automatically played every story in the user’s feed in a reverse chronological order. People want freedom of selection. Making them see something forcibly is a big no. And Twitter has realized this…at least it seems!

Really, is Twitter dead? Not yet, but we might be close.

Looking at it very, very objectively, I can say that these are some desperate attempts by Twitter to stay relevant and survive somehow. Its demise is imminent if it doesn’t make big changes, though. It will be interesting to see if these changes move hearts of potential buyers like Disney and Salesforce.

The responses so far have been mixed, though. A TechCrunch writer is in some testing for a new @ reply design and is reporting that it’s a mess, while the stock market has been showing more encouraging signs.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s recent updates for marketers, including product tags. Here, you can find out everything about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog.  Similarly, to get acquainted with recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

Finally, to know what’s fresh in user generated content for next year, don’t miss out on our guide, “The New Wave of User Generated Content: 7 Concepts for 2017 and Beyond!”

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