Will Twitter’s Growing Pains Be Its Undoing?
Speculation surfaced today that Twitter, a popular social media platform estimated to have 241 million active users, will be taking yet another step to be more like competitor Facebook. While nothing is set in stone, the little bluebird that could is considering changing the name of its “retweet” function to a more generic “share.” Like Facebook’s share button, Twitter’s “retweet” ability allows users to share posts they like from other users. The feature has been around since the launch of the service, fitting in nicely with Twitter, “tweet,” and the service’s bird-themed marketing image.
Since the news broke, users have been taking to the service to air their dismay, with one fan tweeting, “‘share with followers’ WHY ISN’T IT CALLED A RETWEET ANYMORE I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS.” While the tweet is characteristically lacking in punctuation, it echoes a growing sentiment among die-hard users that Twitter has changed — and not for the better.
2014 Hasn’t Been the Best Year for the Company
2014 has not been a forgiving year for Twitter so far. From January to February, the company’s stocks took a 19% plunge, despite the fact that revenue jumped 110% year-over-year to $665 million in Q4 2013. Analysts expected the firm’s revenue to eclipse $1 billion by year-end 2014. However, what starts as a crisis on Wall Street may soon translate into a crisis of fan loyalty and revenue. Keep in mind, the Wall Street crowd is a skittish one. At the faintest sign that tweeters aren’t buying what Twitter is selling, the service will suffer an even bigger plunge. As Twitter devs continue to change their core product, a lame-brained attempt to offer users what they think they want, users are starting to vocalize their dismay. Wall Street is no doubt listening intently.
“Every aggressive business knows that change is the vehicle for growth,” says Marcy Moore, Founder and CEO of MorePro Marketing. “Without change, there is ultimate death.”
Tunnel Vision will Knock Twitter from Its Perch
All of this is symptomatic of Twitter’s need to chase the rabbit. Last week, the company announced that it had added image sharing capabilities to its service. Much like Facebook’s share ability, the new functionality gives users the ability to tag their friends in images within their tweets. This speaks to the problem overall: Twitter has always been Facebook’s younger brother, and like all younger brothers, the bluebird’s inferiority complex may prove to be its undoing.
As the company has continued to gut and modify its service, oftentimes ignoring the risk of alienating its own user-base, it has taken it’s eyes off the ball. The result? Instagram, a service owned by big brother Facebook, is surpassing the service in the rankings of most-used social media platforms. On a month by month basis, Instagram is set to have 40.5 million active users log on to the service monthly. Twitter, despite a growth of 7 million monthly active users, will only see 37.8 million users log on per month.
The question now is whether or not Twitter, once commanding the honor of second most popular social media platform, can pull itself of the rabbit hole in time to avoid becoming the next MySpace.
Has Twitter’s continued push to become more like Facebook turned you off from the service?