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Social Media Brand

Oh Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. Where did it all go wrong?

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By Dom Burch | senior director, marketing innovation

July 28, 2016 | 6 min read

Not a quarter goes by now without the entire tech world shaking its collective head at your ongoing woes. Revenue sluggish. Active user growth, modest. Your ability to fix the ongoing problem of trolling and cyber bullying lacklustre at best. Oh and your advertising formats are dated and clunky.

Apart from that, everything is great.

Twitter

To rub salt into the wound, your big brother Facebook just keeps motoring on. Taking all your best ideas and frankly doing them better, sometimes worse, but eventually doing them better too. And with 1.7bn users (a mere 1.4bn more than you), is doing so in front of more people, hence attracting more and more advertisers who continue to flock to them in their droves.

The dollars are simply following the eyeballs. And Twitter, bless you, you don't have enough. Even a silly game like Pokemon can leapfrog you in under two weeks. Seriously. And now it seems the big, happy, blue thumb brigade are after your topical search crown too.

According to Techcrunch, Facebook wants to be the number one place for people to search for mentions of current news, attracting chatter that would normally end up on Twitter.

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Facebook is already seeing 2 billion searches per day delving into its 2.5 trillion posts. This compares to 1.5 billion searches in July 2015, and 1 billion in September 2012 - a whopping 33 per cent climb in just nine months.

So here’s my advice to Twitter, for what it's worth. Let's try and stem the decline shall we before it's too late. If you can't be the best standalone, all-encompassing social network on the planet (you can't btw), at least be the very best Twitter on the planet.

As an active and loyal user since 7.55pm on 12 January 2009, here's my top ten tips.

1. Enable Instagram to work again.

I know it's not your fault, but find a solution, even if it means begging Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom to play ball. We all love Instagram, and want our network to see the pics in their full glory on Twitter too. Seamlessly please.

2. Allow me to unfollow groups of people.

But, in a really easy way without having to sign up to some other app like Tweepsmap. It’s your job to tell me which accounts I follow that are inactive or don't follow me back.

3. Date stamp when I followed people and remind me 'on this day' you followed.

When I click on who I follow it would be fun to know when I chose to follow them and why. I bet it was linked to them saying something interesting, or because I was researching something. Bring that to life for goodness sake. It's social gold dust going to waste.

4. Stop advertising stuff that is irrelevant to me.

As a real person who buys stuff in the real world you should enhance my experience with things I care about. Most of the ads I see are so poorly targeted they assume I care about technology because I write about social media, or I need a foreign bride. Really? If I want to have an affair, which I don't, I ain't signing up via Twitter.

5. Allow more than 140 characters and hide the extra text after three little dots.

Everyone understands brevity and your point of difference. But I, for one, also want the choice to say more. The first 140 characters will remain the most important. They are the headline for what comes next.

6. Allow more than one account to instantly follow the same people as your other account.

I've just started a new business, and as a result another new Twitter account (@whysocial2). Let me map my follows please rather than start from scratch.

7. On that point, let me follow as many other people as I want.

If restrictions were put in place to prevent spammers, fix the problem of spammers don't penalise me.

8. Clear out the dead wood.

Eject squatters who sit on good names but never tweet. I want that account for my new business or project, ahem @whysocial - hello.

9. Name and shame accounts.

Name and shame those who follow lots of people one week, fishing for follow backs, who then unfollow you the next. You all know who you are...Twitter influencers my arse.

10. Failing all that, sell yourself to Google now.

Don't do a Yahoo and wait until it is too late.

Hashtag, You're welcome.

Follow Dom on Twitter @DomBurch

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