June 2, 2016

Twitter forever

Over the past week profiles and articles on Twitter are again asking the question about how Twitter is going to survive. The icing on the cake arrived with news today that Snapchat surpassed Twitter on daily users.

There’s no denying that Twitter growth has stalled. But unlike friendster, myspace, and even their own Vine, its importance hasn’t.

The problem is that importance without growth means little to Twitter stockholders. My argument is that you could apply the same logic to email.

Of course, email is a platform. But for me that’s what Twitter should aspire to be. Just as Apple let go of the notion of the Mac beating Windows, Twitter has to accept that it won’t catch-up Facebook.

Twitter needs to either take two steps backward and allow its stream to be the foundation of other apps, or move forward and invent the next app.

If they push to become a platform, some would argue that as soon as the services grew enough they would abandon Twitter — but not even Facebook has been able to replace email as the communication tool of last resort.

The alternative requires them be way more aggressive and alienate current users. But in photos, videos, messaging and news… they haven’t been really successful1.

  1. Live stream is an exception. Periscope is growing, but it’s also basically twitter for video.↩︎

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