What do the president, the pope and Grumpy Cat all have in common? They are all on Twitter! The micro-blogging site has changed the way people communicate since its creation in 2006. The short and sweet social site has been known to spark revolutions, bring instant fame and get people in hot water, as well as creating the infamous hashtag, of course. You would think with 302 million influential users, including world leaders, celebrities, athletes and top journalists, Twitter would be a force to be reckoned with. In reality, after nearly 10 years, Twitter has never made a profit. Are you surprised? We were, too.
Despite last week’s announcement of the CEO’s departure and dropping stock prices, the site still has potential, according to industry experts. However, some bugs need to be worked out in order to do so. The challenges Twitter is facing include, user interest, ease of use, trolls, application options and advertising.
After 10 years in business, Facebook had 1 billion users. After nine and a half years in business, Twitter only has 302 million. Why isn’t it catching on? We’ve seen the media catch onto it in a strong way with hashtags and Twitter handles displayed on most shows, but for some reason, users just don’t seem to care. Is it too hard to use? According to tech investor Chris Sacca, almost 1 billion users have tried Twitter, but most haven’t stuck with it.
Trolls have also become an issue on Twitter, and not the spiky haired, jeweled tummy trolls—online bullies. The ability to make fake profiles is much easier on Twitter than some other sites, allowing people to hide behind the ambiguity, causing alienation of potential and established users. In April, Twitter updated its policy against violent threats to include people promoting violence, in addition to specific threats.
If Twitter, or any other social site for that matter, is looking for advice on how to be successful, look to Facebook. The powerhouse has obviously done something right over the years to be worth $192 billion. One thing Facebook has done that industry experts feel Twitter needs to do is capitalize on their brand and offer separate apps for certain functions, the way Facebook has created the Messenger app. A lot of other popular social sites, including Snapchat, have been focusing heavily on direct messaging, an area where Twitter has simply dabbled. However, Twitter recently announced that they are removing the 140-character limit to their direct messages, so there could possibly more changes coming in the future.
The last thing that Twitter needs to do in order to stay aflight, is to better optimize its advertising. Twitter currently offers a variety of ad placements and has recently announced video ads and objective-based ads—similar to Facebook. Is this all too little, too late? Can Twitter make the tweaks it needs to keep from getting its wings clipped? Only time will tell.