Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. Twitter was then launched to the public in July 2006. It rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with more than 100 million users posting 340 million tweets a day by 2012. By 2013, it had become one of the ten most-visited websites. As of March 2016, Twitter has more than 310 million monthly active users. Not bad for a small start-up in 2006, but by 2016 Twitter seems to be facing a major crisis.
As of November 2013, Twitter has been a public company. With that, there is advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are the ability to easily raise funds, but the disadvantages are they need to maximise profits for their shareholders. With its inability to make a profit even before becoming public, Twitter now has shareholders to please. Not an easy task for any social media platform, and it gets worse. With what could be seen as the final nail in its coffin Twitter’s user growth has come to a near standstill. There is even speculation of a major takeover in 2017. A few big names have been mentioned, Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Twitters future has become very uncertain. So what went wrong with Twitter, and where did its user’s growth go?
Twitter’s dismal user growth could be linked to its strong support for free speech. This may seem like a very strange thing to mention, but with any open platform to say what every you want there will also be consequences. Internet trolls are attracted to platforms that have very little rules. There is an excellent article by BuzzFeed that will be included in the video description. It details years of abuse on Twitter, and its inability to deal with this important issue. The problems at Twitter are not all on the doorsteps of trolls. There are a large group of Twitter users who seem to sit and wait to be offended at anything they see on Twitter. These people seem to respond with emotion rather than logic. Political correctness, multiculturalism, social justice are the key goals for this group. Which leaves normal users stuck in between the two rival tribes. Twitter’s user growth problems are directly linked to the websites current hostile environment for normal users and business.
So what can be done to fix Twitter? Twitter can address some of the issues, but they need to be a lot more proactive. Twitter are only now dealing with the many Islamic fundamentalist’s profiles on its site. Banning abusive trolls and encouraging its users to respect other users with different opinions then there’s would also greatly help. Sadly, there is one thing Twitter cannot fix, and it is impossible for them to achieve, human error. If users were not so tribal in the first place there would be no need to take drastic action. This fault is squarely on all of us and not Twitter.