Twitter Inc has been the butt of many jokes, as the firm continues to struggle. It started out on a fairly equal footing with Facebook but it has been become a black dot in Facebook’s rearview mirror as Facebook heads into new horizons. For instance, Twitter’s 300M user base pales when compared to Facebook’s 1.3B user base.
Yet, the Twitter’s unspoken goal to catchup with Facebook will have the firm wearing itself out. The worst part is that Twitter is a publicly traded firm; hence, in wearing itself out, it runs the risk of losing investors. A former Twitter executive has told The Guardian that the firm’s problem is its fixation on Facebok.
Twitter Ain’t Facebook
The fact remains that Twitter in its current form can’t interest everybody because it is has a “serious” feel to it. Friends can share pictures of trips, cute cats, and flippant opinions on Facebook and Instagram among others. However, Twitter is where they discuss politics, government policies, and the “occasional” banter. Twitter is simply a news curation point and not everybody is interested in news.
Secondly, Twitter has a steep learning curve, and it takes a degree of wanting to be on the platform before you can learn the ropes. When you join Facebook or Instagram, you can easily connect with your family and friends and they make you feel at home. You can see the kind of posts they have made and you can copy the format to make your posts.
On Twitter, you are an eggshell when you join and trying to express your thought in 140 characters is work by itself. As Twitter newbie, you’ll have to trudge through the dark maze of building a base of followers who will retweet and favorite your tweets. Then, there’s a tons of hashtags and short codes to master. Twitter won’t attract 1 billion users with such a complex system, when you can just log into Facebook and start seeing those cute cat pictures.
Work with What You Have
Twitter should focus on making its social network social for the current users instead of wasting its energy on bringing in new users. If the firm can demystify the mystery of why a user (not celebrities) has 24K followers and another user has 116 followers, it would be on track to build a loyal army of from its current user base.
If the firm can make the platform less hard for newbies, it would be able to attract and keep new account signups from running away to Facebook. Project Lightning is a step in the right direction and it might be able to sharpen its vision as a social media hub where there’s more of serious talk than flippant banter.
Investors are not likely to buy into the idea of working with 300M users, but a focused CEO will be able to express the firm’s vision to show the long-term prospects of being different from Facebook. However, if Twitter continues chasing Facebook’s shadow, it would need to change its service and become a shadow of its former self.