The audience on Twitter is too large to ignore and, despite the outcry, they aren’t leaving anytime soon.
It’s not often that the most talked about issue on a social network is the impending doom of said social network, but that’s exactly what happened on Feb. 5, 2016 when Twitter went abuzz with #RIPTwitter. The hashtag coupled with a falling stock price — TWTR is down 60 percent year-over-year at the time of this writing — raises some interesting questions: What exactly is happening to Twitter? And how will the fallout impact government?
Two reasons. First, the stock price is taking a hit because investors are disappointed with the lack of growth in monthly active users. Second, users are concerned about potential changes to the platform. Jack Dorsey, the original founder of Twitter and current CEO, has publicly alluded to feature changes that seemingly depart from the platform's core premise.
One such change is the possibility of posting tweets longer than 140 characters. More recently, Dorsey suggested that Twitter might algorithmically prioritize tweets displayed in user timelines, effectively putting a kink in everyone’s firehose of information.
The short answer is no, but we should recognize that social networks will continue to evolve and that we must continually tweak our strategy to maximize benefit. Twitter currently has more than 300 million monthly active users. Despite the struggles in the stock market, Twitter will not be “resting in peace” anytime soon.
Furthermore, the fact that Twitter is willing to experiment with the platform is a good sign. We are continuing to see the emergence of niche platforms followed by consolidation in which the top tier social networks integrate those new capabilities. Twitter’s acquisition of Periscope, which brought live video broadcasting to Twitter, is a perfect example. And while we might all be quick to #RIPTwitter, here’s the good news: None of the controversial platform changes have actually been implemented! Twitter might just be market-testing its ideas. As Jack Dorsey puts it:
Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016