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Twitter Twitter Everywhere But Where Are They Really?

Twitter has been appearing in the news a lot in the last couple of months and it looks certain to be in a state of dramatic change with the recent announcement of Jack Dorsey becoming the permanent CEO once again.  

Jack Dorsey is the famed founder of Twitter who was at the helm of the business through much of the exceptional growth in the early rise of the social media platform. In 2008, the Twitter board then forced Dorsey out saying he was unfit to lead the business.

In 2009, entrepreneurially spirited Dorsey went out and founded the hugely successful business – Square. A mobile payment processing company which has taken the world by storm. In setting up and building Square,  Dorsey proved to the market that he was one of the few talented tech entrepreneurs in the world who could capitalise on a market opportunity and make it into a world wide success – twice! A skill that has lead him to be the billionaire tech founder who is revered in the start up community.

Dorsey maintained a relationship with Twitter throughout his run as CEO of Square however, he stood at arms length to the operational side of the business. In 2011, Jack was brought back in as the Executive Chairman where he continued to lead the product strategy and as the business start to wane, Dorsey became more involved.

With many top executives leaving, stalled user growth and the rise of social media applications rivalling the Twitter USP, Twitter has veered into rocky waters.  The shareprice has been sliding and investors are crying out for more. Twitter is now forced to find ways to dramatically accelerate revenue and grow the current user base.

On the 5th of October, Jack was again named as the permanent CEO and is rallying the team and the market for future growth. He has a tough job on his hands as he leads the ailing business and continues to lead Square towards IPO later this year.  

So, what’s new at Twitter and where is the business heading? There have been a number of platform updates and many more are to come as the business gears up for the future.

Some recent changes include:

No longer supporting free public API access. A move that is seeing Twitter review the ecosystem of tools that have grown up with Twitter using it’s data to demonstrate Social ROI. Twitter now needs to review the financial benefits of it’s own data and how other interact with it.

Tweets now indexed on Google Search Results – Twitter and Google have paired up and given tweets a high profile search rank on the Google search page. This means tweets can often be found at the top of the search page . This has certainly upped the game for budding SEO experts as Tweets can now be considered fresh, new content and if linked correctly to a website, will have benefits for a company’s organic rank on Google.

Latest update – Twitter Moments. In a move to help improve user growth, Twitter recently announced Twitter moments. Moments is a new tab on Twitter that groups together tweets based on events and or topics. This organisation of tweets is meant to help with storytelling and improve the mobile experience.

What’s in store for the future?

Twitters needs to grow the user base by a billion users which means they have to radically rethink the product. First to be tackled is the 140 character limit which is coming under a lot of scrutiny as is the irrelevance of a lot of the tweets streamed to the user. With rich text communication becoming a standard, Twitter needs to be able to publish photos, videos and GIFs in an easier more digestible way for the user base.

One strategy which is being talked about is to turn the platform into an instant gratification service where it becomes the online destination to find out what’s going on in the world at a precise moment. Weather updates, traffic updates, news, social updates – Twitter is a platform that can facilitate the live generation of information. The question then becomes, how do you organise and promote it to the right individuals as well as businesses. Then, how do you monetize it and make it relevant for businesses who will be the main target for growing the ailing revenue.

So what’s next?

As Dorsey finds his feet in the permanent role, he’ll be forced to rethink the guiding principles he used when he founded the business – simplicity, constraint and craftsmanship. With layoffs touted for the coming week, Twitter is going to have to navigate through more stormy waters before things turn for the better.

Jack Dorsey’s early sketch of Twitter.

Twitter Sketch

Richard Bray

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