Fun Friday: Twitter

I don’t think there is a company we’ve discussed here more than Twitter. And since it is Fun Friday, we are going to talk about it some more.

I tweeted this out yesterday after reading the zillionth blog post claiming to know what is wrong with Twitter and how to fix it. Instead of puking, I tweeted. Ah, the irony of it all.

So let’s get to the discussion. Is the negativity too high right now? Does Twitter know what is wrong and how to fix it?

Full disclosure: We own a lot of Twitter. It is our largest personal holding and a material portion of our net worth.

#stocks

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    Twitter reminds me of the sun from this poem:”These things are good: ice cream and cake, a ride on a Harley, seeing monkeys in the trees, the rain on my tongue, and the sun shining on my face.These things are a drag: dust in my hair, holes in my shoes, no money in my pocket, and the sun shining on my face.”

    1. fredwilson

      oh man, you are a philosopher this morning Kirk. reminds me of a text exchange I had with my son about the Knicks this week.he was talking a bit like that about the knicks. and i said “what are you reading? Nietzche?” he replied “no, Kant and Rousseau”

      1. kirklove

        Sounds very Wesleyan πŸ˜‰

        1. fredwilson

          yes, very. he says winning is not the goal this year. gelling as a team is. i have a tough time with that assertion

          1. kirklove

            That’s cause he’s not paying for the tix ;p

          2. William Mougayar

            Watch the Raptors this year πŸ˜‰ !!!

  2. Vitor Conceicao

    My view is that Twitter is Twitter, it is not Facebook. Twitter is for live things and it is the best way to get great news flow.I think Twitter as a company will still bring us great things.But I think that the Twitter feed sometimes gets too cluttered and it can get scary for casual users. What I think happens in Twitter is that sometimes great voices that tweet eventually get crowded out by some people that tweet like machine guns.What I would love to see them doing is create a very simple zoom lever, zoomed in you see your full feed, zooming out the algorithm would filter tweets and get a less cluttered feed.This is something that I think would be of easy comprehension for both new and hard core users and they could set different default options, for hard core, leave it all zoomed in, for new users or for users that are not on twitter all the time it could be more zoomed out.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with you more than you agree with yourself

      1. JimHirshfield

        JLM, what have you done with Fred?

        1. JLM

          .Have you ever seen Fred and JLM at the exact same time? Hmmm.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. JimHirshfield

            Yes. At USV a few years ago.

          2. awaldstein

            i have!

          3. JLM

            .Were you drinking at the time?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. awaldstein

            When do we go out and not?Have a great one my friend!

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Okay, separate wheat from chaff — standard, old, biggie problem for, e.g., e-mail, medical testing, system monitoring, Twitter feeds, Internet search results, credit card fraud detection, discovery, recommendation, the wheat of what stocks to buy from the chaff of which ones to ignore.Easy to want, but wanting’s not the same as getting. Or, how the heck to do that? There are lots of candidate techniques, e.g., support vector machines, classification and regression trees (CART, mostly by Leo Breiman), using some group theory from abstract algebra and borrowing a little from ergodic theory (once I published a paper in Information Sciences that did that), count gross popularity, e.g., page rank, to yield a Top 40 list, and much more.For a Twitter user, since what is really bad chaff to one user might be really good wheat to another, to do well somehow need to use some information about the user.Since for a given user, what might be bad chaff for one of their interests might be really good wheat for another of their interests, need information about their interests.So, for the SR-71 level, i.e., 80,000 feet up, view of the architecture of the system that is a good solution, simple but essentially inescapable, need (1) take in data, (2) use software and computing to manipulate that data, and (3) report the results, e.g., the filtered Twitter stream.For the manipulations, can try (1) think how would do this personally, manually, and try to write software for that (stand to have trouble here if the manual method depends on software that can get real meaning from reading text), (2) intuitive heuristics, (3) some of the well known methods, (4) some classic techniques from math and/or engineering (e.g., filtering is an old and advanced subject in parts of electronic engineering, e.g., some of the Russian work on nonlinear filtering), (5) some original research.Inescapable: The manipulations are necessarily mathematically something, and, thus, proceeding mathematically can have some advantages, e.g., commonly can come up with techniques, code up easily enough, that work great and would be essentially impossible to discover otherwise.E.g., using the fast Fourier transform to do 3D deconvolution of audio signals from reflections of subsurface discontinuities and where the audio signals came from an audio impulse, e.g., an explosion, that is, discover where to drill for oil. So, separate the wheat of where to drill from the chaff of the rest of Texas, Oklahoma, the Gulf of Mexico, much of the Mideast, etc.E.g., get the oil to a refinery. So, the refinery operator sees the candidate crude varieties and prices and the candidate product prices, and wants to know what crude to buy and what products to produce to make the most money. A good answer means big bucks. It’s an applied math problem, in non-linear optimization, and commonly is pursued just that way by both Prof Floudas, long at Princeton, apparently now at Texas A&M and in Houston. Separate the valuable wheat from what the heck to do with the crude oil from the huge chaff of thousands of ways to run the refinery that yield much less profit.Commonly without the math, we can “dance ’round and ’round and suppose while the secret sits in the middle, and knows”.Net, one of the most promising approaches is to regard separating wheat from chaff as a non-trivial problem in applied math.Why math? For one reason it is by a wide margin the highest quality information in our civilization. Why? Because math, with theorems and proofs, has by a wide margin the most powerful methodology. That way, often can know a lot just from:It is still an unending source of surprise for me how a fewscribbles on a blackboard or on a piece of paper can changethe course of human affairs.right, from S. Ulam.I’ve derived such math for the crucial core of my startup, and I’d urge Twitter to do the same for theirs. And, I’d say that that math for the crucial, core of the crucial functionality for the crucial UX of Twitter and the crucial market cap of Twitter is heavily just what the heck the Twitter BoD, CEO, CTO should be pursuing and evaluating.Thankfully for US national security, for 70+ years the US DoD has understood this lesson in very effective terms.E.g., the start of the movie on John Nash started with “Math won WWII”. This is a bit over simplistic but, still, close to the truth. How? I mean, it really was the really good leadership of Monty, Ike, and Patton that beat Rommel in North Africa, right? Uh, sort of, but it helped a lot that most of Rommel’s supplies that left Europe never made it to Africa but were sunk in the Mediterranean from attacks from British aircraft. And how’d the aircraft know what, when, and where to attack? Sure: Some good applied math back in England broke a German code.Maybe the biggest naval victory in all of war was what the US did to Yamamoto at Midway. That was from good leadership by Nimitz, Spruance, right? Partly. But it was a biggie help that Rochefort and his team broke the relevant Japanese code and, thus, knew what, when, where, and how the Japanese were to attack Midway and were waiting. Separated the crucial wheat of what the Japanese were up to from the huge chaff of intelligence information.The bomb, the A-bomb? Right: At its core, a lot of applied math. And, still: E.g., take positive integers A, B, C, n, and X(n) and formX(n+1) = A*X(n) + B mod Cfor, say, A = 5^15, B = 1, and C = 2^47. What the heck to do with that? Sure, X(1)/C, X(2)/C, … look like a sequence of independent random numbers uniformly distributed on (0,1). Right: Thank you Coveyou and MacPherson, right, from Oak Ridge.And what can do with those? Okay, for any cumulative probability distribution F, find F^(-1) and use that to generate a sequence of independent random numbers distributed like F. With that? Generate some random directions in 3 dimensions. With that? Simulate what happens to a neutron from a heavy atom that splits. With that? Evaluate the core geometry of a fission reaction, calculate critical mass, estimate energy produced from a fast, chain reaction, … get Japan to sign an unconditional surrender and save maybe 1 million US casualties. Little things like those. Thank you, at least the guy on the left inhttp://www-history.mcs.st-a…So, separate the astoundingly valuable wheat of how to win the war from the huge chaff of nonsense about accepting 1 million US casualties. Yes, also how to separate fissionable materials from the rest.So, it’s all about computer science, right? I mean, we need computing, right? So, it’s all about computer science? Right? And about HTTP, HTML, CSS, JS, C++, Objective C, Python, PHP, Ruby, model-view-controller, SQL, UI/UX, etc., right? Nope. It’s applied math, with some physics and engineering.Yup, first they ignore it. Then they laugh at it. Then they fight it. Then you win, or some such.Net, from 100,000 feet up, we want to see the future, and we have a lot of data and want a lot of results, e.g., filtering Twitter feeds, and want to know how to manipulate the data to get the results, that is, tell some computers what to do with the data. Guys, for the future, often that’s a math problem. Can learn this now or learn it later, but you will learn it or suffer.

      3. David Semeria

        “Well played”, Fred

      4. Twain Twain

        Unfortunately, weekend heading into Q4 2015 earnings call … it’s going to $15 as I called it.I like their new homepage — not just because color palette coincides with my wardrobe but because it’s an example of them starting to use better AI algorithms to serve content and widening their appeal to a more diverse audience.What I think Twitter team should have done was rolled out the new homepage BEFORE Moments and emojis. Instead of World Series baseball (and the ad that made little sense and that few people got or liked), doing a Moments ad with Superbowl 50 would have been more of a landmark tie-in.A Superbowl 50 Moments ad should include FAMILIES excited and getting ready to share on Periscope — instead of the confusing and male-oriented ad that was the World Series one.By launching heart button a few weeks after Facebook released reactions buttons, it made them seem like copycats whereas the new homepage would have been a stronger and bolder signal from Jack that, “We’re charting a new product strategy for content discovery for users and here it is. It’s for everyone.” (Subtext: we’re not following in Facebook’s wake and Wall Street needs to value us differently because of this.)@domainregistry:disqus — I hope the share price rises so you make your investment back!

    2. charlieok

      yes. My term for the same wish was “volume knob”. I’d be tapping it up and down to find the right point between “I wouldn’t want to miss that” and “too noisy”.

      1. Bruce Warila

        i’ll settle for a checkbox that enables me to hide tweets that don’t have links.

    3. boteman

      The beauty of Twitter is that each user is in complete control of how much and what he sees. I just had to mute a baseball writer because he is driveling on and on about things that are not of interest to me. That was my choice.I had to explain this concept to some technophobic friends who were decrying Twitter without ever having used it. They actually sounded interested once they realized that they would not have Niagara Falls unleashed on them at the outset.This is a feature, not a bug.My question is: *IS* there something wrong with Twitter??

      1. Vitor Conceicao

        Not wrong, per se, but I think that there is always room for improvement in every product. Or you think Twitter is perfect and doesn’t need any new features or development? I never saw a tech product become static and stop improving.

        1. Andu @ Widgetic.com

          Windows XP. πŸ™‚

          1. PhilipSugar

            Which people still use.

          2. jason wright

            guilty

    4. Collin

      Precisely. Twitter is not a social network like Facebook or even Instagram. I am not connected with most of my friends on Twitter, but we’re all connected on Facebook and Instagram.So the question is how does Twitter focus on the newsfeed role that it plays for most people who use it and also make money? There is also the fact that I hear all the time “I have no idea how to use Twitter.” I think part of the reason for that is most people try to look at it through the Facebook lens when it is not even remotely similar.

      1. April Johnson

        Collin, I too, hear *often* “I don’t know how to use Twitter.” (Or worse, “I don’t get it, but I don’t care what everyone eats for breakfast.”) Twitter is (still) a great resource and news feed, in my mind. It makes me sad when stigma or lack of understanding keep people away. Comparing it to FB makes me want to vomit. If I could only have one sm platform, hands down, it would be Twitter.

        1. Vitor Conceicao

          The problem for new users is that you have to first build a great list of followers and then you need to learn how to tame the firehose. So it really is not that simple to use.The billion dollar question is: How to make it easier for more people to use without ruining the experience of the hard core users.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Right. If they could “bottle” the “successful” onboarding process that we “power users” figure out for ourselves, it would be a win.

          2. laurie kalmanson

            yes. suggestion: homepage, with lists, sortable by tags — works on browser and on ipad, sort of works on phone. old tweetdeck solved the channels nicely for me. look at how netflix has updated its information architecture, categories and subcategories.

          3. Ciaran

            The onboarding that probably took most power users a year or more, back when Twitter was the size of a small city rather than a large country? Again, that possiblity may have been and gone.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            That’s also where tools like Tweetdeck come in handy. I have a “daily” column with the people I don’t want to miss. I also have another column for a certain group that I want to stay on top of.

          5. laurie kalmanson

            yes. make something like that a homepage on signup, and keep it around for people to return to after they’ve joined

          6. Donna Brewington White

            I think you are on to something.

          7. laurie kalmanson

            netflix … amazon prime video … content is content and twitter is content; users need content to be navigable and findable — that would set twitter way apart from facebook and instagram, which are still just continuous scrolls.keep the character count. add findability.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Yeah, the character count is still part of the charm.

          9. awaldstein

            There is no shortcut to building a network. Not going to be. Lot’s of solutions but that is not one that’s going to happen.

          10. April Johnson

            Maybe it’s because I’ve really liked Twitter from the start, but I just don’t remember the learning curve being that difficult. And by no means do I think I’m an expert or always get it right either. But it is a site I enjoy immensely.

          11. Ciaran

            What if the answer is you can’t? It increasingly seems like that may be the case.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          What’s that saying– my FB friends are the people I have to connect to, my Twitter follows are the people I want to connect to.

          1. April Johnson

            Right, Donna!? I like to think Twitter is where we are all more ourselves. Those family or life-long relationships we are friends with on FB may continue to hold us into who we “should” be instead of who we are.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I really understand what you mean, April. Interestingly some of my business relationships have moved over to my personal FB page — more than my business page — and even some of my AVC relationships which would have been less comfortable several years ago. I’ve been trying to merge into a more integrated whole… a lifelong quest actually. Long story. Social media was a new frontier in which to become more authentic and transparent but that process was different on each platform and of course the emphases are different. The result is a multifaceted but still authentic self being represented. It’s cool to have an AVC friend “like” a post on my personal FB page.

    5. Andu @ Widgetic.com

      You’re so spot on on this! I do it a lot, last time a few days ago – I tell users, I started following you, you’re tweeting too often. Please be more concise.They say: I like what I share, and I instantly unfollow them. If there could be a way in which we could filter the type of tweets we could see from one, it would be amazing. So instead of 99% spam, it would be 1% spam. πŸ™‚

    6. Nate

      I use Highlights (how i came across this post) and Notifications to filter my feed (and I ignore the feed). Twitter Development has seemed more focused on Moments.

  3. Tom Labus

    The financial growth under Dick was amazing. The Market wants them to be FB like but that’s not them. What they need is to be left alone but that’s not going to happen. I hope they don’t pull it part in trying to fix it. Own the stock, I’ve bought at new lows but who knows at this point

  4. William Mougayar

    Does Twitter know what is wrong and how to fix it?If they do, they should tell us. Yes, negativity is too high, and they can change it. They don’t deserve it. But one can take so many hits on the chin.

  5. Martin otyeka

    Don’t sleep on Jack Dorsey

  6. RichardF

    Do they know? probably, can they fix it no because they have a rabid user base who like it the way it is and normals don’t get it or use it on a daily basis (unlike facebook) Everyone says Twitter have won, Facebook have won, I disagree the new shiny thing will appear and is probably not too far off. No clue what it will look like though.

  7. LIAD

    have been mentally and emotionally ‘long’ twitter since I first started using it back in February 2008.asymmetric follow, default public, strict constraints, low friction, was love at first sight. fail whales, developer armageddon, spam – pfff, minor annoyances. irrelevant in-fact.biz once said, twitter a triumph of humanity not of technology. i was completely sold.it’s created an endless torrent of social, economic, intellectual value for me over past 8 years. nothing else even comes close.luckily(?) stock price is an irrelevance to me.sheen is beginning to fade though. releasing half-baked products. matters to me. not updating broken products. matters to me. hiring a part-time CEO who already has fires to put out as his other public company. matters to me. competing with other social platforms and not innovating. matters to me. infantilising the product. matters to me.the vision is fading. what happened to heartbeat of humanity!———–tweet from yesterday. when one of twitters largest(?) shareholders starts competing directly with it, creating the new and improved rather than helping fix the original. things begin to feel very wrong.https://twitter.com/L1AD/st

    1. fredwilson

      not everyone can write blog postseveryone can construct a 140 character message on their phone

      1. obarthelemy

        Is that a blessing, or a curse ? I you can’t write a cogent page, do I want to read your tweets ?

      2. Jess Bachman

        and then you have quantity over quality. aka… noise.

      3. LIAD

        come on. i know that. you don’t need to preach to the converted.just saying sharks are circling. and these are invested sharks.CEO hire was a mistake.Product quality control has been lax. Pace of innovation has been slow. Narrative has been weak. New user onboarding still(!!) a unsolved problem.It’s fair to see why even die hard users and fans are beginning to doubt

      4. LIAD

        Plus the fact everyone can. But still aren’t makes Twitter look even weaker.Doesnt seem to be a positive frame to use anymore.If the pitch is no friction and there’s still no growth…

        1. Jess Bachman

          “everyone” starts twitter with an audience of zero. Unless you are already an internet-celeb and can port your audience over, but thats not everyone, thats .00001% of the internet.

          1. LIAD

            So

          2. Jess Bachman

            So the fact that anyone can construct a tweet is irrelevant if no one is listening. Which is probably why people aren’t doing it, despite the ease of use.

          3. LIAD

            Nice

      5. pointsnfigures

        or read it

      6. Mario Cantin

        But what’s going to happen if and when they substantially increase the character limit? They sure have to thread carefully on that one.

      7. Kirsten Lambertsen

        And not everyone wants to *read* long form posts. I always have a few seconds for 140 characters. Always. (Even if it’s just a psychological construct.)

      8. LE

        I think it has to do (per Matt Zagaja’s comment elsewhere) with the feedback mechanism on Twitter. In order to have a large base of engaged users there needs to be positive feedback and from what I gather that doesn’t exist per amount of energy spent (even if 140 characters).You know here on your blog many more people read than will make any comment at all. Part of that has to do with not wanting to feel stupid or not having self confidence or not knowing the subject. But some of it has to do with lack of a positive feedback mechanism that encourages people to comment. [1][1] And I’ve experimented with this and in some cases have proven my point by drawing people out by replying and upvoting their comments.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I really disagree with Medium being the new Twitter. There is nothing at Medium to lure me away from Twitter.What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that the beauty of Twitter is that it consists of millions of tight knit and often interwoven communities (tribes, if you will). It’s a never-ending conversation. It’s the best party I’ve ever attended. I meet the best people there. I learn the most there.Medium is broadcasting. Twitter is a conversation.

      1. LIAD

        Twitter stands unique. Definitely. But in aggregate. Definitely broadcast over conversation.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Try thinking about Twitter as the world’s biggest research resource.What do you want to learn about today? Would you like to know what it’s like to be a trans sexual in today’s world? A woman of color? A comic book artist? A socialist? A neo Nazi?Twitter is the ultimate Rorshach test. You will learn more about how people *really* feel and think than anywhere else by simply quietly observing the conversations for a while.

      2. LE

        Medium is a shiny ball that could easily be replaced by another service. Twitter is much different. Medium is in a sense apparently just good editing tools. Newly hatched flock there when something else comes along they will go to that place.

      3. Salt Shaker

        Aren’t all social networks fundamentally a conversation at a granular level? TWTR’s base is very targeted and users can engage with specific areas of interest. That said, they’ve failed by building from the bottom up as evidenced by their stagnant user growth. They need to attract mass appeal (wide net, top down–“the hook”, if you will), while simultaneously not alienating the company’s core and loyal user base. The type of growth WS is seeking has to start with broad conversations, with users segueing to various levels of granularity, as desired.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Right, so the problem we’re all attacking is stagnant user growth.I think to focus on ‘mass appeal’ though is skipping a step. Didn’t we all learn a long time ago about how to take a ‘niche’ product and grow it by finding the the connectors from the current power users to new users? The lotus pond metaphor?We can’t just suddenly focus on mass appeal, right? Wouldn’t that be a classic marketing mistake?

          1. Salt Shaker

            I think TWTR needs a two pronged strategy. “Connectors” are the core and what drives engagement. That’s been their primary focus, though it appears to be stalled w/ respect to platform growth. Metrics don’t lie, often painfully so. One could reasonably argue they need to do a much better job w/ Connectors, and at some level that’s prob true. That said, to focus exclusively on Connectors at this stage won’t drive critical mass, as that approach is too fragmented and perhaps an inefficient growth strat given WS’s expectations/standards. They need to widen the net, hence the platform’s appeal, to lure in new users in mass. I think they need to invest in marketing and perhaps a big event “tentpole” strategy (e.g., Super Bowl, Debates, Grammy’s) to stimulate trial and mass participation from new users. They need to do exactly what GOOG did w/ last night’s GOP debate on FOX. (GOOG was integrated into the debate discussion and coverage w/ specific “calls to action.”) Connectors are unquestionably the company’s glue, and ideally these new users will find sweet spots of interest and subsequently evolve into Connectors, too.

  8. Jess Bachman

    Fixing Twitter feels like saying “How can this car even run if it’s only got two wheels!” … when they really should be crafting an excellent motorcycle… or even a bicycle.

  9. obarthelemy

    At the global level, I don’t feel qualified to talk about it.As a late and reluctant user, I mostly dislike it. The signal-to-noise ratio is rotten, what with ads, bad posts, every other 3rd-party client hijacking my subscriptions (and the official client rather bad), 140 signs leading to nothing but empty soundbites or click-through… Not only is there no editing, there is no filter either and the mad quest for followers leads to the most ridiculous stuff. I use my account less than once a week, when I’m bored. It’s useless for regular content/knowledge gathering (vastly inferior to RSS), and so empty that even for discovery, I’d have to follow tens of twitters and wade through thousands of tweets.The one use case I have for it is for status updates (game server outages…) especially since only Opera seems to support forcing web page refreshes at set intervals, and Opera feels abandoned, so camping the server status webpage is no longer an option. And for Customer Service because for some reason, CS is most responsive over that.

  10. markslater

    I am a huge fan.The two things i constantly hear though are1. IT’s hard for a newcomer to get started….i dont get this as this has been the biggest issue for the last 8 years and they still have not solved for onboarding…..2. The part-time CEO thing feels like ego etc and is a huge investment disconnect.

    1. LIAD

      mentioned the exact same 2 points.

    2. LE

      Most likely because the solution does not scale to millions of users and isn’t low hanging fruit. Anything they can think of is probably expensive and wouldn’t move the needle.

  11. kidmercury

    people been beefing about twitter for almost a decade now. if you haven’t silenced the haters by then with proven, irrefutable results, i think it becomes harder to believe you ever will.to their credit, though, at last they are OCF positive now, and have been for the past year. that’s something noteworthy that can refute some of the hating.

    1. fredwilson

      correct!!!

      1. Twain Twain

        412 years of cash to fix itself, apparently:* http://www.usatoday.com/sto…Good luck to Jack. He’s going to need it on 10 Feb for their Q4 earnings call. It happens to be Chinese New Year w/e.

    2. Richard

      balance sheet

      1. kidmercury

        i agree, there is plenty to not like about twitter’s financial statements. but if you believe the story that it’s a growth stock (which i don’t, and which stagnant engagement metrics don’t support either), you can spin a narrative that OCF positivity means the company can theoretically self-finance itself if it needs to (i agree even this could be debated, but at least with a positive OCF it cannot be immediately dismissed).to put it simply, i would say that in 2012 and prior there was nothing positive to say about twitter’s financials. now there is at least one positive (though many negatives).

        1. Richard

          Any feel for what it costs to keep periscope running?

    3. SubstrateUndertow

      Maybe Twitter is more distributively organic than even Facebook thus honing in on its functional sweet spots can be expected to be a much longer trial and error journey ?

    4. jason wright

      twitter will be ten on 21st March.

  12. Chimpwithcans

    I think many people are too used to letting others decide what they consume, and don’t have the skills to handle something as broad and overwhelming as twitter.Getting feed curation right without becoming over controlling of the user experience is still a problem.Leadership is not inspiring and the message to the public about what twitter wants to be is not clear either. Innovate and communicate better. Don’t copy features or confuse the message.

  13. sdso234

    I think 3 things are simultaneously true(1) Total minutes consumed would grow more if twitter focuses on the light-to-moderate users (I would include myself in that group) within the existing 300MM base(2) The things required to do #1 are unlikely to yield significant actual user growth because the existing base is “inflated” by a large # of people who dont love the service or experience.(3) Analysts are unlikely to give any credit to their efforts unless the 300MM base grows.

  14. rossgreenspan

    People who aren’t on Twitter yet have no reason to get on Twitter now. Instead of seeking out the next marginal user, anchor the power user to the platform. I have only used Twitter for finance. It is a work tool but utility has gone down especially in the last 36 months. The signal to noise is barely tolerable with heavy and active curating. During a news event, intolerable. I would pay $1/mo to follow certain people. I might pay $5 to never see ads. More premium services, more stratification of the user experience for niche groups. Forget my sixty year-old mother; she’s happy with Facebook and never getting on Twitter.

  15. awaldstein

    I’m a fan but you need to look at this in context of the market.Facebook is on massive gigunda tear and gobbling the world.Twitter seems to be reacting out of fear and that is always a fail.

    1. vruz

      Twitter needs original thinkers.First they screwed the developers trying to be Apple, controlling “the experience”.Then they screwed the creative users, giving a louder voice to whoever pays more, instead of amplifying whoever says interesting things. They started to think like Facebook.They need to start thinking like Twitter again.

  16. Susan Rubinsky

    Have you noticed that twitter, and other outlets, just give the contrarians and curmudgeons an outlet to amplify their complaints? Imagine if all the good was amplified instead. (BTW, today is national curmudgeon day, a perfect day for you to post this!)

    1. LE

      If it bleeds it leads. People slow down for a car crash. And so on.Good won’t be amplified, goes against mass human nature. News people figured this out a long time ago. [1][1] There are exceptions of course “best of lists” for example are highlights of the positive but they are done in a hyperbolic manner and there is negative in that as well (people doubting the positive ratings and wonder why their favorite was not included).

  17. vruz

    Twitter should have stuck to being Twitter.Investors may want to have Facebook-envy, but Twitter has to find a way to be a better Twitter.Unfortunately, being a better Twitter means a leaner Twitter.But after-IPO Twitter needs to be big and monstrous to keep up with market expectations and the tyranny of the next quarter.Twitter should do less and different. Not more of the same others do.(be their own bitches, in Wilson parlance)But that, in the corroding structure of corporatism and stock market gambling may be impossible.If Twitter can’t find themselves, maybe they should genuinely embrace developers once and for all, instead of screwing and micromanagng them.Shortlist:1) Stop trying to be Facebook. Be a better Twitter.2) Stop trying to be a media company. See: Yahoo.3) Stop centralising attention. It’s a dead end. Decentralise. Make the network bigger. Allow for vertical Twitters, non-profit Twitters, entertainment Twitters. Stop being one size-fits-all.4) Publicity is anti-ethical to attention. It is essentially diversion from attention. Publicity destroys the value you aim to create.5) Integrate pay features, say, medium-form blogging, and in-stream picture galleries, medium-length video. Integrate tools to craft excerpts that fit the microblogging model.6) Integrate Flattr-like tipping. It’s never going to work as a separate service, I have no idea why neither Facebook nor Twitter have done this yet.7) Please. Please. Please. Allow others to help build a better Twitter. Stop screwing the developers FFS. Worst decision ever stemming from Apple envy.8) Quit thinking the thoughts of other people, however smart, they are not Twitter.I have more ideas, but I do that for a living.

  18. Sebastien Latapie

    I thoroughly enjoy Twitter as a way to take a pulse of the latest trends and current thinking. I’ve actually started using it in my work much more frequently*. That being said, I don’t find myself participating in the discussions very often. I find it slightly intimidating for some reason. So while I’m content as a consumer, I never feel engaged as a user and that may be a challenge for Twitter to address.* In my work I’m often looking for case studies to illustrate the points we present to client and Twitter has become a great search engine to discover recent and pertinent examples. This was never a use case I intended.

  19. Phil Chacko

    I’ve been ostensibly a Twitter member since 2009, but I didn’t *really* start using it until last year when I realized how amazing it is for techies.Twitter has always struggled explaining its value prop to new users.On their site:”Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”Should be:”Our mission: To drive today’s conversations, globally and locally.”I’m rooting for them, because they are very distinct from Facebook. But they need to find their soul and focus quickly.

    1. Phil Chacko

      Addendum: In an alternate reality where Twitter were executing financially, I’d believe it if Disqus and Medium were Twitter products.

  20. Jeff Robinson

    It all starts at the top – Twitter needs a CEO with a clear plan who is committed to running Twitter only. Until this happens, Wall Street will not become a believer. Should/if/when this occurs the stock will have a very healthy recovery.

  21. jason wright

    twitter is such a powerful tool for mass media journalism, and this simple fact accelerated the brand to Mach speed and beyond in a very short space of time, and no company in the world would have been able to keep up with that. the laws of physics do apply.the market looks at facebook and extrapolates.

  22. Joe Cardillo

    To me the negativity is too high. Twitter clearly knows what’s wrong (flat user growth) and they are working on a bunch of solutions. The leash is probably only so long, but I think there’s still time and talent there to figure it out.If I had to pick one thing to change, it would be to give power back to developers. Cutting off access / massively limiting API calls is a mistake when you still need to grow the network significantly. Facebook is fairly walled off now in the sense that they control the parameters for anything built on top, but they enabled developers to create entire companies worth millions and even billions. The only downside for Twitter of going that route would be having to let go of the reins a bit, but unless there is some other bright idea besides commerce or ad rev then increasing the network makes sense (besides, you can’t control a network that big anyway).

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Amen. I speak from deep experience πŸ™‚ Lots of devs would love to create things that would result in user growth for Twitter.

      1. Joe Cardillo

        Honestly I don’t understand why they are gating…regardless of how they are intending to make money, it’s a network. And networks need scale. So much easier to make it simple to develop on top than to put together media partnerships, recruit high profile users, acquire competitors, etc. That stuff is herding cats compared to creating an open platform that devs can riff on.

    2. Yinka!

      The company-dev relationship appears set to change, based on Jack Dorsey’s comments at an event yesterday – he acknowledged that was soured but says they’re looking to fix that. Don’t know at what time mark though.https://www.periscope.tv/w/

      1. Joe Cardillo

        V. interesting – thank you for sharing that, I was wondering if (and hoping) that was a priority. Really want to see Twitter succeed.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing it, Yinka. Blackbirds is such a great name!

      3. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Wow. I sure like all the talk about listening and that Twitter is for listening! Clearly Jack is reading our comments πŸ˜‰

        1. Yinka!

          Well, they’ve supposedly been listening for a while, so I’m looking out for resulting action .

  23. Matt Zagaja

    I do not feel like putting effort into generating twitter content is worth it most of the time it gets low distribution and low likes despite having 500+ followers. There is interesting stuff to read on twitter and it’s fun for real time sometimes or communicating with people in the same communities but overall I’ve found myself drifting away. When I post on Facebook or Instagram I usually get a bunch of likes which I presume are a fraction of the people that actually see the posts.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      You are a perfect example of someone who wasn’t able to onboard himself effectively. This is exactly what Twitter needs to work on.Now that I’ve onboarded myself successfully, I can’t imagine life without it. Seriously.

    2. boteman

      Nobody wants to read what I have to say, so I’m satisfied with mostly reading a very, very narrow selection of tweets from people who have some common sense. They act as my curators.I mostly follow a handful of baseball fans who share my fandom. Every once in a while I will get a like or a retweet, but like Mark Twain it makes me wonder about those fools.Every single tweet need not be a megaphone to the universe, ya know.

    3. LE

      When I post on Facebook or Instagram I usually get a bunch of likesI don’t do any of these but your point is the right point and the root of all good (and evil). Feedback mechanism is important for the majority of people.

    4. Bruce Warila

      Hey Matt.. Just checked your Twitter profile. This is not a knock on you, but I rarely follow people that tweet a lot (13.5K is a lot for me). However, this is a knock on Twitter. I know you from AVC, so I should be able to follow you on a different basis (e.g.: show me Matt’s tweets that get favorited x times.), or better yet, merge Matt’s tweets into my dashboard view of my world (where I don’t even see the checkbook ledger / timeline).On another topic.. 20 years ago, I built a business that sold towing and recovery equipment (it’s a long story). I still have friends in that business. Get in touch with me if you want to discuss. We live in the same general area.

  24. JLM

    .TWTR has critical mass and the issues are not ones of getting to critical mass but of what to do now that they are no longer an adolescent but a young adult.The dog has caught the pickup — which most dogs don’t — and now the issue is what to do with and to the pick up.If you think about it, it’s not really a bad situation to be in now particularly as the cash drain is essentially staunched. Or close to it.The solutions appear to start at the C suite wherein they have had a mass exodus of talent and have an odd relationship with their “shared” CEO.I must say that such a wholesale parting is troubling to me particularly as many of them already, apparently, have plans. I would be more comforted if I were to learn that they had been forced to walk the plank.Of course, if they had been forced to walk the plank, there should have been some talent waiting in the wings to replace them. This is basic contingency planning. Every C suite occupant should have a targeted short term replacement already on the org chart.The company has made a big hire in Leslie Berland, their first ever CMO. “First ever CMO” is a little hard to believe.She’s a crackerjack AmEx pro and she’ll bring some big company discipline to the cheerleading. Cheerleading being the knee jerk reaction to the company’s short term problems.Big point here — it is gratifying to see that they can attract such high level talent. A lot of people would not be willing to take such a career risk particularly coming from such a powerful brand as AmEx. This is a very good thing even if they had to buy her at full retail.AmEx is an adult brand and understands business development and partnership building. Two skills that may come in useful in the near future.The physics of turnarounds are pretty damn simple. They require a clear plan and a great team. A steady skipper to lead the team.Helpful if the plan is good — though they can make all kinds of mid-course adjustments along the way — and the team believes in it. The old bunch, who got TWTR here, is not going to get them out of the ditch. That’s simple logic.It is mind boggling to me that any board could embrace sharing their CEO with another equally challenging company. The issue is not to get rid of Jack Dorsey but to put him in a slot wherein he can continue to contribute but not bet the company’s future on his CEOing.I also think that Dorsey is an extraordinary visionary (Square and Twitter are miles apart as to the nature of his vision which shows what a broad visionary he truly is) and what they need is a CEO who is a fire maintainer not a visionary. The product innovation can be found elsewhere.If your measure of success is the stock price then it’s pretty damn simple — earnings cure everything and absent earnings nothing is cured. The graph below is pretty damn brutal but not fatal. As Fred says, “Maybe this is the time to buy.”He didn’t actually say that but he was thinking it.Good luck to all.As an aside — some of the biggest dividend paying names on the NYSE are now trading at levels that show 5% dividends. This is important because I think a lot of money is going to be freed up and thrown at the stock market, in general. If you can hold GE or Ford at almost 5% in today’s pathetic fixed income return environment, why not?People will be looking all over for bargains and TWTR might wander into their cross hairs. I would also look at the tech ETFs for some good buying opportunities.Last point: I think TWTR is a product not a service and you can always fix a product while you can live without a service. This is why the number of clients is so damn important. That many ants can’t be wrong, right?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      She’s a crackerjack AmEx pro and she’ll bring some big company discipline to the cheerleading. Cheerleading being the knee jerk reaction to the company’s short term problems.Big point here — it is gratifying to see that they can attract such high level talent. A lot of people would not be willing to take such a career risk particularly coming from such a powerful brand as AmEx. This is a very good thing even if they had to buy her at full retail.High level talent?What is the big coup in hiring her exactly? So they threw money at her and/or some upside that she couldn’t resist? She could be a success or she could be the next Ron Johnson. Amex is a vastly different company than twitter. She was in diapers when Amex was already a legacy and had a solid base.It is mind boggling to me that any board could embrace sharing their CEO with another equally challenging company. The issue is not to get rid of Jack Dorsey but to put him in a slot wherein he can continue to contribute but not bet the company’s future on his CEOing.Agree. To me it shows desperation actually.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      A know-nothing brain-storming comment from the peanut gallery here :-)To me Twitter is ultimately a bottom-up network-effect organic-tinker-toy experimental affair and thus just-maybe the”physics of turnarounds are pretty damn simple. They require a clear plan”is a touch too 20th-century linear physics metaphor where a more emergent trial & error 21st-century adaptive-biological metaphor might be a more productive contemporary framing ????To me they should start thinking about how to incorporate elements from the now long debunked Google-Wave !

      1. JLM

        .The plan can come from anywhere — any degree of complexity — but the first steps in any triage plan are to stop the bleeding, clear the passageways, and place pressure on the wound.I am a subscriber to Occam’s Razor which has stood the test of a few centuries with solid results.Having done a few turnarounds myself, I can say with certainty the initial plan is obvious to everyone but it takes someone willing to act to make it happen.The wholesale Diaspora at the C suite says that is where the problem and the solution are likely to be in residence. The “sharing” arrangement of the CEO defies all logic. All. Logic.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Ahh – But I bet you only apply Occams Razor because anything more might complicate things πŸ™‚

          1. JLM

            .Actually, I like the 5-bladed shave. Very neat and clean.It is universally applicable. So, I find.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  25. Richard B. McConkie

    I don’t see much wrong with Twitter. There are some annoying quirks but nothing big. This is in regard to Twitter the product. Regarding Twitter the company, I have no idea what might be wrong (if anything). The general view seems to be that Twitter should be making more money.Twitter creates and provides a lot of value to users and even non users, but creating value doesn’t always mean generating cash. In my experience finding the right subreddit can provide TONS of value (r/personalfinance and r/homeimprovement are two that I’ve leaned on over the past couple years–so much free advice! And some of it is good!) but from everything I’ve heard, Reddit doesn’t make a lot of money.Managing the gap between “provides value” and “generates revenue” is a tough one.

  26. Cam MacRae

    I’m so negative that I killed off my ~9 year old account earlier this month. Feels good.

  27. heuristocrat

    Seems like Twitter would be way better off as a non-public company.

    1. Tom Labus

      Etsy too

  28. Josh Burwick

    As a Twitter bull, I love the skepticism. It is very reminiscent of FB 3 yrs ago in the low 20s when “professional investors” were laughing at FB as a core tech long b/c they are just social media, they “can’t monetize their user base”. Boy how things have changed given last quarter’s results, i.e. ARPU $3.72 vs. $1+ 3 years ago, up 4 fold.Twitter is having issues growing user base no doubt but Jack and team are poised to turn it around. While investors often think you snap your fingers and change is instituted, it takes time. The big hire is CMO Leslie Berland from Amex. Twitter needs to appeal to the masses, the non news freaks, and who better to communicate that message than Amex CMO who worked wonders there. I think we look back 1-2 years from now and this hire will be the turning pt.Twitter will turn it around and if they don’t I think FB or GOOG buys them. So as an investor its a win win at these levels.

  29. Shaun Dakin

    Twitter is for power users who get it and understand it.I teach Internet marketing at George Mason University every semester and use Twitter (@DakinMarketing) for my class.Every semester I start with a show of hands – who uses twitter on a daily basis.The number of hands is typically 1 or 2 out of 70.Those numbers have not changed in 8 years.

    1. Richard

      What’s the number on Instagram?

      1. Shaun Dakin

        good question!

    2. Vasudev Ram

      “Twitter is for power users who get it and understand it.I teach Internet marketing at George Mason University every semester …Every semester I start with a show of hands – who uses twitter on a daily basis. The number of hands is typically 1 or 2 out of 70.Those numbers have not changed in 8 years. “Interesting. So are you saying Twitter is not for the masses?That could have implications for their monetization plans, if true?

  30. pointsnfigures

    If I was on the board of Twitter, I wouldn’t have an opinion-I’d ask a lot of questions.What is the market telling Twitter-and I don’t mean the stock market or analysts. I mean intuitively, what is the “market” telling the management team? Twitter obviously has totally disrupted the breaking news service.What else can I disrupt with a network and the immediacy of Twitter? Can I go deeper in the news service and enable that network-for example with video? Are there constraints that are limiting me from doing that? (data plans or physical impediments like not enough bandwidth)Are there things that my existing users are doing on their own that I could make easier by enabling Twitter to do that?I would also be open to some experimentation. Twitter is so public and opinions are strong so they would have to be very transparent about it.The other question I would ask is this: Is there a potential acquisition I could make that makes my company better and lets me infiltrate a new vertical in a focused way-or conversely, is there a company that could buy me and get my shareholders value?

    1. Tom Labus

      or they get bought

      1. pointsnfigures

        ya, exactly. my last question. I think that if I was on the board, I would be working my network softly to gauge potential interest, and at what price.

        1. LE

          To my other point not likely with a guy like Dorsey emotionally invested at this point. You know people don’t donate large sums to their alma matter to help the kids they do it to get their names on buildings.

    2. LE

      Let me ask you this. Don’t you feel that having a guy like Jack Dorsey means what you are suggesting (I agree btw) is not going to happen? He has his owns ideas and his own legacy bias that means he won’t be able to step into the box that you suggest.

      1. pointsnfigures

        I have zero idea. I don’t know Jack at all, or anyone associated with the firm. Only saying what I would do if I was on the board-and that is not have any answers, only more questions that might help everyone find answers.

        1. LE

          I don’t know Jack about Jack either (other than what I read). My point is to me a “guy like that” is not going to want to endorse suggestions that you are making. As opposed to someone who wasn’t involved from birth and has a more pragmatic and is less emotionally shackled.A good example of this might be automobiles and branding. If I am attached to a particular sports car brand then I might not be the guy who comes in and says “get rid of the manual transmissions and put electric motors in this car”. A guy w/o the emotional attachment would certainly be more likely to do that because he has no baggage in his head (like I do).

    3. Michael Elling

      “What else can I disrupt with a network and the immediacy of Twitter?” Or maybe help the disrupted (basically all publishers and content distribution networks; 10 account for 50% of online news http://bit.ly/1QLc2Jk) to virtualize their business models and rebuild their own stacks. This involves sitting down with those customers and their viewers and understanding how engagement increases between them (and not Twitter). Twitter as the go between will benefit. That’s basically the google model.

  31. Joe Marchese

    80/20 rule on steroids: 80% of tweets from 0.20% of users. It’s a giant megaphone that a few have grabbed and turned off the majority. So make the megaphone grabbers pay up… betcha they will, big time… and make the revenue model put the company on more sound basis. Doesn’t solve the new subscriber problem, but at least then the company will be serving a market that values it. Or if they let go of the megaphone, profiles of use may become sustainable. They should test it and see what happens.

  32. Sebastian Wain

    I think just giving an option to pay for increasing the API limits for small businesses increase Twitter revenue. In the past, one of the AdWords innovation was opening the advertisement services to small businesses while with companies like Yahoo they required to pay a few thousands upfront.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Don’t they already do that via Gnip?

      1. Sebastian Wain

        No, look at their pricing page, you can’t find any $ symbol there and you need to follow a long buying process that is implicitly saying it costs too much for a small company. Compare this with AdWords and you have the idea! You can spend only $ 5 per day and stop/resume when you want.I think the whole business process is bad designed so they can’t sell you without involving real people and resources. They are wholesalers without a retail option.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          I see your point.

        2. Vitor Conceicao

          Thats because they fell in love with the idea of becoming a media company and are hiring media people who are going after the big bucks instead of letting the computer catch up a huge base of small dollars.If they play the media industry game they’ll loose. The only way to win is by zigging to their zag, like Google and Facebook are doing and racking up huge sums of small dollars.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Tend to agree. The media company thing never resonated.

          2. Michael Elling

            EXACTLY! There are 3 players in the exchange (think of a triangle) and they put too much value in their own role (and abilities) and not enough in the other two corners. In fact, their current strategy antagonizes or frustrates both corners. Their best strategy is to step back and let others do the heavy lifting and increase the forces holding the triangle together. They own the real-time, headline space, but there’s a wealth of knowledge that’s been built up that they and others can profit from but don’t. They are a platform, a go-between, not a destination.

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Totally agree. I know that many feel the media company thing was the right decision, but it never ever felt right and still doesn’t.They should be putting more tools into the hands of the community. Twitter has community leaders, like any other platform, who would spin gold for them if they had the tools.

          4. Sebastian Wain

            Yes, right. You can understand this mindset in certain types of companies, but Twitter? This is a mindset from the 90s that goes against the obvious Internet way of doing business in a hyperscalable way.

  33. Michael B. Aronson

    I started using again after many year hiatus to participate i the discussion around our company, Jet.com. I agree with Walt Mossberg, it is too hard to generate content, I don’t know all the shortcuts etc. I’d love some way to triage my feed beyond unfollowing someone. Ranking, only most recent tweet, etc. It has been useful for establishing back channel communications via private messages with members of the press to correct many of the misunderstandings they have of our companies business model

  34. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Die hard Twitter fan, here. It’s been amazing for me, personally. I will be crushed if it goes away. I am cheering for them as hard as I’m hating on Uber ;-)Negativity is too high right now, and kind of silly. But hey, everybody’s gotta sell pageviews, I guess. Twitter is dead! Long live Twitter!To me Twitter is about *individuals*, not corporations. It’s about conversation, not broadcasting. So, some of the recent product stuff worries me in that it feels like it’s moving toward favoring broadcasters, and I _think_ that will be a losing proposition all around. But hey, what do I know?I agree with others here that the key is probably in figuring out how to onboard users more quickly. Again, I feel like the secret sauce there is connecting new users to their tribes not to brands. (Has Seth been brought in to consult? Heh.)But what really threatens to hold Twitter back from the greatness that awaits it is **harassment**. A LOT of people (mostly women) quit Twitter b/c of the epic amount of harassment.There’s nothing in the middle of the road but white stripes and dead armadillos. Twttr needs to get out of the middle of the road and firmly on the side of not tolerating harassment. It won’t be perfect, but nothing is.

    1. Cam MacRae

      Services like block together shouldn’t need to exist. That they have come into being tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how seriously twitter takes harassment.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Yes. They need to dedicate 25% of their team to it. Make it their mission to set a standard for excellence in this area.

    2. Yinka!

      Spot on about conversation, not broadcasting. The most intense and widely participated in conversations simultaneously become broadcasts (for voyeurs or interested but passive participants), but the waves start as conversations.And yes, their anti-harassment really does need technique and staffing overhaul. Per my other comment, successful solutions can only arise when a significant portion of team includes key user groups – in this case, those who suffer the most from harassment.

      1. SubstrateUndertow

        Maybe they need better broadcast amplifiers on key conversation waves to draw in more broadcast voyeurs by creating some kind of incremental participation tools ?

        1. Yinka!

          They need to first see the waves as they’re actually situated, view the conversations through participants’ eyes and understand how they differ in purpose from other platforms (like FB).Then relevant tools can be created as secondary step.

    3. Anne Libby

      There’s nothing in the middle of the road but white stripes and dead armadillos.You’re on fire. And I agree.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        πŸ™‚ Like most good lines, that one’s stolen (from Jim Hightower, ha!).

        1. Anne Libby

          Also, I must post my favorite article about Twitter, where William Gibson explains that it’s a novelty aggregator.http://wrd.cm/1hd76OZIf there were just a way to explain this to more people (and kill some of the noise, like the p0rn-bots that you have to manually block) there would be more of us!

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Good share, thank you πŸ™‚

          2. laurie kalmanson

            and he is **all** about aggregating the novelty. have you read the peripheral? i swear, this is the “crown” the characters use to move through time … “the telephone of the future be a videophone that will enable users to see each other while talking” … also, time travel.related: his very very early “wired” piece on how ebay made his obsession for collecting obscure/expensive watches track through its curve of adoption/loss of interest 100x faster than it could happen without the web http://www.wired.com/1999/0

          3. Anne Libby

            I have it sitting here, saving it for a vacation or other time that I can really dive in…

          4. laurie kalmanson

            my favorite of his since neuromancer; i liked it a lot, and i have them all.

    4. Tom Labus

      Hook Twitter to Watson and see what happens

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I dig it!

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Oh well done!

    5. Joe Cardillo

      Way on the mark. I’ve worked on some Twitter projects, and have a few friends over there in product design and sales roles. Neither are major executives but they are only a degree or two away, and the impression I’ve gotten is that leadership is worrying too much about perfecting (or overfitting) product and creating brand partnerships at the expense of user safety, dev opportunity to build on top, and really paying attention to a metric like referrals (implied or directly offered). That last part Facebook has done masterfully and Twitter has absolutely failed at. I can’t even remember the last time there was any sort of design aesthetic or motivation to refer someone to Twitter in an easy, fluid manner that’s relevant to their interests (new on-boarding in last several months is a 6 out of 10 in my opinion). People know what Twitter is and that it exists, they just don’t know why THEY might care.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Oh no, so it’s really the way it looks from the outside πŸ™ Sigh.You’re SO right about referrals. My goodness. I was thinking about that in a roundabout way when I mentioned the NBA app to Arnold. Little apps like that are an example of how Twitter could snag new users in a really friendly way. But something direct and to the point in the UI would be such a good idea.

    6. Alex Iskold

      Would you pay Monthly fee to use Twitter?

  35. Matthew Perle

    At it’s core, I think the problem is still disagreement about what Twitter is fundamentally for. Seems like they still want it to compete with Facebook on distribution, when it’s better suited for conversation. The overarching vision for the product has never been as clear as FB, and so a lot of the new features seem tacked on, rather than pieces of a whole (e.g. polls). And as was discussed here a few days ago, if the strategy’s wrong, the execution can’t be right.

  36. Kirsten Lambertsen

    If you look at Twitter as purely a marketing tool, you’re sure to miss the point and think there’re all kinds of things wrong with it. You’re missing out. Try using it as a hooman!

  37. Mike Slagh

    I’m very long on TWTR. There’s no other network that lives across the web and facilitates instant user growth around interests, rather than personal relationships. It speeds up product development allows founders to quickly iterate on user adoption.Blab, Nuzzel, Product Hunt, Periscope, Meerkat (initially) hacked the interest graph to get big audiences and validate their idea in real time β€” they built the airplane in-flight.I’m excited to see the next hundred apps where it just makes more sense to build on Twitter. I’m especially to see smaller, intense communities form around specific interests. It’s clear that foursquare is onto something and I would love to see Twitter Lists move in a similar a direction, or allow us to embed our favorite services inside of Twitter.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Here’s a guy who gets it.

      1. Mike Slagh

        Hey thanks!

    2. awaldstein

      lots of good thoughts.can’t imagine basing a company on building an app on twitter. that’s gambling not a strategy to me.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        But think about something like the NBA app that the USV guys made. Side project. It probably increases engagement with Twitter. A really successful/popular app like that could even introduce brand new users to Twitter.Those guys made it for fun, enjoyment, coding resume item, whatever. Now if Twitter wants to scoop that up for a very modest sum, the developers might be quite open to it.Companies that leverage Twitter in an app are more likely bundling it with other social networks or messaging services (dashboard type thingies). I’m curious if you see that kind of approach as gambling as well? Honest question. Not a trap πŸ˜‰

        1. awaldstein

          Great retort.When we build a company each of us sits down and maps out how a community could occur cross the nets.Twitter is there of course. They also have a horrid reputation of playing foul with the developer community.You place your bets based on upside and assurance. It Twitter is that to you go for it.It’s a leap of faith to me with little to corroborate the risk of playing with a dinosaur that is hungry for a dwindling food supply.

          1. Mike Slagh

            True. Fabric is changing devs’ minds though. 250K+ apps built on it of last Oct. Tinder, mobile game Dots and NBA all on Fabric.Integrations with Stripe, AWS, Optimizely, Mapbox, etc make it the fastest way to get started and iterate.Twitter is there for that critical moment when you want to get started and acquire users *right now* around for a specific community, problem or interest. Once you’ve onboarded, they’re yours and you’re not tied to it long term.

          2. awaldstein

            Nicely said.And I’ll repeat I’m a fan from day 1.Your comment made me remember a post from 6 years ago:Facebook…can’t love it but can’t leave it http://awe.sm/yMo9Today Facebook has won, still don’t love them but use them all the time for what their good for.Twitter, damn I wanted to love them but they–like FourSquare–feel like they don’t understand themselves or the market I work in.I’m there for them but they have a lot of work to do.

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            They need to contract with you.

          4. awaldstein

            unlikely but thanks!

          5. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Excellent points. From a reputation/assurance standpoint, it’s very high risk.

          6. Dan Moore

            This. I don’t know if they can ever regain the trust of the dev community.

          7. awaldstein

            Of course they can if they have a clear strategy with that community.

          8. Dan Moore

            Hmmm… Sure. But trust once broken is hard to regain. Twitter made a lot of allies in the early years when they had an open API and TOS and allowed developers to build pretty freely on top of their interest graph. Then they shut it down, and burned developers who had spent time and effort building on the platform.So, yes, they can regain that trust, but it will be a slog. Maybe Fabric is enough, or maybe developers have forgotten (or a new generation has arrived).

          9. awaldstein

            Business is a slog.Twitter needs to find their intent before they find their market. I hope they do.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanks.

    3. SubstrateUndertow

      How about some tools that collectively implement an actionable digital-democracy nervous system.To my way of thinking that would be a pivotal, dynamic, purpose driven interest strange attractor ?

      1. Mike Slagh

        We’re getting there. Hashtags create the nervous system you’re talking about and many of them have actually changed the word. There’s even a big rotating # mural inside of Twitter HQ that reminds everyone what they’re building has critical implications.#YesAllWomen#YouOKSis#BringBackOurGirls#BlackLivesMatter#UmbrellaRevolution

      2. Lawrence Brass

        The day that happens, if it ever happen, the clichΓ© phrase “let’s change the world” will have a new meaning.There is an underlying problem with social networks though, including Twitter: Content is loosing its authenticity, its being synthesized, (over) curated, managed as in any other marketing channel, and that is a bad thing if it is not balanced with people needs and wants, which is mainly open communication with a high signal to noise ratio.The increasing amount of advertising in the networks is unbearable, at least for me. I used to enjoy FB but really can’t stand ads inserted every 5 or 6 posts. The same with Youtube, only Google knows the global statistic measuring how much time a human takes to “skip this ad”. I would like to know. Of course I could block a lot of that, but I think that is not the point.Luckily, of all the networks, I think Twitter is the less poisoned and that is a good place to start. Something like “tools that collectively implement an actionable digital-democracy nervous system” you propose is something I would agree to be charged or even taxed for.

    4. Andu @ Widgetic.com

      Would it make sense for Twitter maybe to open up a marketplace of apps to build on top of it, for them to control the environment and be in a position to earn a % of that income?As you mention, these services built on top of it (like many, many others), find the value in Twitter. So it’s crazy that Twitter is in this position, while everyone else prospers on it.

      1. Mike Slagh

        Power to the platform.The question is what will ultimately drive more attention and ad dollars?Slack recent launch IMHO is a more relevant example. Toggling between BoT (Built on Twitter) apps inside of TWTR would be truly compelling.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Slack seems a great role model here.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            what is the business model for slack?

    5. β“£β“žβ““β““ β“’β“œβ“˜β“£β“—

      I love this idea your propose about embedding your favorite services inside of Twitter. I think Twitter has the potential of becoming a leader in B2C realtime engagement. When you have an issue with a product or want to give a shout out to your favorite brand, consumers turn to Twitter, not Facebook. I see Twitter Lists morphing into a future version of email where B2C marketing is continues vs discreet. In terms of its current ad strategy, Twitter should ditch it and move towards an opt-in scheme that serves ads that target increasing LTV.

  38. creative group

    Fred:There is no magical wand that can fix all the issues with Twitter. There was a reason the board choose to replace Jack Dorsey the first go round. Running one company requires no distractions and a concentrated effort. How in the world would any intelligent Board member not seek a full time solution at Twitter? It is apparent people on the inside are living in a bubble while the stock price is living in reality in real time. We have no equity position in Twitter and it would be a short play at this turbulent time.There is no way anyone involved in Twitter decision making would take advice from this blog. The contributors can only take solace in saying after whatever they suggested here that I told you so. Twitter needs to be acquired by a company that will know how to integrate the social tools of Twitter and increase the silly 140 character platform.

  39. kenberger

    At least today we don’t have some ignorant ill-mannered troll here saying something idiotic like “stick a fork in it”, like we had the other day…

  40. Salt Shaker

    When that many execs bail a company in mass that’s a telltale sign something is seriously awry. TWTR has taken on a lot of water, and there’s a perception–whether right or wrong–that the ship is rudderless. I’m sure internal morale must be extraordinarily bleak. The Jack “experiment” needs to end. I’m a shareholder and almost sold at a loss yearend to offset my cap gains. I’ve been cautiously optimistic for sometime that the ship could be righted. I continue to believe it’s a great product with unreasonable expectations, mainly from the street and its continual comparisons to FB. My trust and optimism is fading. I hope the board is exploring all options, including a sale.

  41. Brad Lindenberg

    I follow Twitter very closely. My start-up (www.CalReply.com) works closely with their global media team as an ecosystem partner.My two cents:Expectations – Wall St has too high expectations of Twitter. The problem is not the company but Wall St, and that they expect it to live up to Facebook. Twitter’s revenue per user is actually higher than Facebook. Adam Bain (and Dick) have done an incredible job at building the sales side. Wall St should adjust their expectations and view them for what they are versus what they are not.How to fix Twitter – Drive MAU Growth by re-activating INACTIVE usersFrom an MAU perspective, they can do whatever they want to fix the product. They can make it simpler, add more characters, reverse the timeline etc etc, and even if they get 100% right it will only affect existing and future users who sign up after the changes are made. The real asset Twitter has to resuscitate is their inactive user base. They have “burnt the bridge” and alienated over 800m users who have registered then failed to engage on an ongoing basis. These 800m+ inactives are a large and overlooked asset. There needs to be a strategy to get these users BACK and that is not going to happen only by “fixing” a few features.For example my father who is 60 set up a Twitter account, followed a bunch of sporting handles like @NASCAR, @ESPN, @F1 then gave up and is now an inactive user. If he received a push notification when live events started, for example the Daytona 500, he would most likely follow along in Twitter while he watched, and he would become an active user. If he receive a push for each race, he would become a monthly active user. I’ve been trying to get this plan through to the execs but nobody cares enough (another problem…). Using this strategy they could re-activate 50-100m inactive users in less than year. Of course there would need to be some smarts around what to push, but I don think someone that follows @NASCAR would complain if they received a push when each race started, or @F1, which has a race every two weeks etc, and you could opt out too. One argument is that push notifications are delicate as if you send too many you could cause people to turn them off entirely however if you only enable this for inactive users, you have nothing to lose really.Adding 100m active users in a year will double the current share price.So while this is a plug, I think Twitter should acquire our start-up and use our technology and team to curate and trigger push notifications when live events start if people follow a specific handle. We do this for every sport and broadcaster globally already but push events into mobile calendars. Tying this into Twitter would be a piece of cake and the results would be accretive to MAU’s within 1 quarter.They have 412 years of cash on their balance sheet. They should invest in these types of proposals. Total no brainer.So if you know someone that cares (I know you do!), I’d love to have the opportunity to be heard. I can help.

  42. Steve Goldstein

    Observations from a Twitter fan: They have 4300 employees. What are all those people doing? The platform hasn’t noticeably changed in years. There needs to be better curation or channels that are pre-set. Big 10 Football. Comedians. Presidential Candidates. It’s great for news but hard for a newbie to get the news they want. User growth and engagement is important but the advertising model is a train wreck.

  43. Jake Chapman

    Facebook is a place where everyone can find their own use case. I don’t think Twitter has the same flexibility. It is a phenomenal tool for some and an incomprehensible brick for others. This is OK, the questions are (1) does Twitter want to add new features targeted specifically towards users who don’t currently get value from Twitter, (2) If so, what are those tools and (3) what is the right value to place on Twitter in that context. I think adding the moments tab, focusing on the logged out experience and hiring an editorial team are all the right steps to be taking but I think the execution of the moments tab was bungled horrendously.p.s. I am long term bullish on Twitter. I haven’t bought public securities in years outside of a few fun options bets on movie studies based on upcoming catalogs but I’ve been buying Twitter this month.p.p.s I did 13 seed deals this year of which at least 2 can be attributed directly to relationships formed on Twitter and if I were to handicap my 2015 vintage I would put them at the top of the list. Twitter is way more than a social network and way more than a news source.

  44. ErikSchwartz

    The only thing that I think was really wrong with Twitter is that its valuation was way too high.That’s pretty much fixed.I have never thought it was as main stream a product as some people think it is. I think it’s an excellent product for those who use it regularly. Can they leverage the brand name to build other products with more mainstream appeal? That’s what I would be doing. Their brand recognition, not their audience, is the most important asset they have.

  45. Yinka!

    My take is that Twitter’s problems will disappear or be solved faster when staffed with teams that include key user groups propelling growth. Who better to keep focus on the business (not the stock) and successfully expand use cases? Such teams would implement more meaningful product changes (vs e.g. lukewarm ❀ icon updates), find/create new avenues for monetization, quell spam and harassment better, etc.Basically, Twitter’s success today isn’t as originally planned. So, old perspectives can’t be used for planning tomorrow’s success. The exec reshuffle is not a negative sign but a great opportunity and I tweetstormed as such earlier on in reaction to the news:https://twitter.com/YinkaDo

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Gosh, yes! I hope SO much that they do this.

      1. Yinka!

        Indeed. As I finished that series of tweets, I also realized how tweetstorming would have probably been successfully integrated as a feature by now if their product teams included power users!

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Exactly. I was always taught that when your users show you what they want from your product, focus there and do *more* of that.

  46. dineshn72

    I’m long on Twitter and it makes up a big part of my portfolio. I don’t really care about the negativity, the core product is wonderful and very hard to replace. However, the poor execution and the apparent lack of focus is quite disturbing, and the senior management team needed an overhaul, and looks like it is happening, one way or another. Just hope that Jack makes some prudent hires, and does not make the same mistake that Yahoo’s BoD did when they were in a similar situation :-p

    1. ErikSchwartz

      Twitter right now looks a lot like Yahoo did in 2000.Too many employees who were hired for the wrong reasons (both from the employee perspective and the company perspective. Many fiefdoms.It seems this latest exodus is the moment we find out if things get better or they follow Y! down the hole.

      1. Adrian Lurssen

        I 100% agree with this.

  47. creative group

    This blog is all the social media we will engage. We still are baffled by adults who have no financial or business interest in social media having an account especially if you are not wealthy and have a life.It is addiction on a different level. Does the addict really admit they are addicted until hitting rock bottom or effecting something they value losing? (Family, relationships, etc.)We need to enjoy our life. You contributors enjoy the entertainment. Good Friday.

  48. Salt Shaker

    Last night’s GOP debate was like a GOOG infomercial. My first thought was GOOG must have compromising pictures of Roger Ailes. No other explanation for allowing such blatant commercialization. (The only thing missing was the GOOG halftime show.) My second thought…where was TWTR? They should own the news, sports, finance and entertainment cycles and they don’t. They need to own the “big event” space, or at least give GOOG and FB a run for their money. Currently they’re on the fringe. Maybe the new CMO has ideas on how best to fill this void. TWTR has growth issues, but much of their problems seem to be marketing based.

  49. Silverfox2

    Twitter needs a full time CEO now. Dorsey is very bright, accomplished and capable, but Twitter needs full time attention. I think it is slightly arrogant for Jack to think he can be co-CEO of both Square and Twitter, and do a fantastic job running both. Twitter’s stock hit a new low yesterday and Square’s stock hit a new low today. Yes, all tech stocks are down, but that says something, doesn’t it? Jack should step down as CEO of ONE of his babies, and hire someone great to run the other company. I believe Jack’s stake in Square is almost double his stake in Twitter, though I doubt he is motivated solely by money. I hope both companies succeed. I used to own Twitter stock and sold it.

  50. Stuart Kime

    Sentiment is for bankers. The only thing that matters is the unit economics of engagement.

  51. Eric M. Seitz

    Quite a few comparisons between Twitter and Facebook here. I’ll go along with that theme.I know someone who is completely addicted to FB. It fuels her happiness, her social life, her depression, and her sleep deprivation. Those pictures are worth a thousand words, and she has to read them all. I believe it is rabbit hole of non-productive behavior. That said, it is useful when one needs to find someone, much like LinkedIn, and it can be used as a sort of contacts database.I don’t want Twitter to be a version of FB, and it keeps trying to push me there. The list of people it suggests I follow is generally full of mass media garbage.Twitter will never do those heavy FB users any good, and I don’t think it should court them. My take is the photos/videos drive the addictions and images are not what Twitter is about, for me at least. Twitter offers bursts of, hopefully, relevant content. Once managed correctly, it can offer a nice, curated stream of information and ideas.Twitter has been tough for me to tweak to a point where it is a highly effective use of my time. I’ve had my username since 2007/2008. There can be quite a bit of noise, even out of people I admire and know I can learn from.I love the idea of a volume control. Maybe some simpler solution to ranking up the people you follow and get value from, so they are at the front of the continuous wave of information.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      Yahoo made them both rich with products that basically no longer exist.

      1. LE

        Sorry but Graham not in same league as Cuban. Not because of what Cuban did post Yahoo (like Graham who was rescued by Yahoo btw.) but because of business knowledge of Cuban vs. Graham. Cuban way out on top. Not even close. [1]Back when Cuban blogged regularly you could tell he was a guy (at least I could) that grew up in the trenches to get to where he was. He knows the basics about the subject at hand and human nature. Just a sharp guy who has intuitive knowledge of business. The type of guy that lives and breathes business. [2] Graham? Essentially a Harvard educated intellectual that has stepped away from business to do writing and apparently go after a higher purpose.YC (under Sam Altman) has it’s hands in to many pots right now. They are just going in all sorts of “high falutin” directions and all restless with spilkas. And Nero is off playing the fiddle while this is all happening. Of course that is his right to do that.That said I know people who have been on Shark Tank. It is a long process and does take time and not everyone who is even filmed makes it on TV (the people that I know were on twice and did very well).[1] I mean for God’s sake Graham can’t even write a fucking essay without having 10 people read it first. What’s that all about? Cuban is more like Trump, enough confidence to let it ride and manage all details without a support team to tidy things up.[2] And whatever Cuban got from naive Yahoo he earned vs. Graham who probably postulated to long and got a shitty deal. Cuban played them, Graham did not.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          I worked with both of them after their respective companies were acquired by Y!.Mark’s an operator and a PR hound (both for himself and his companies). No question. FWIW many at Y! felt Todd Wagner was the more impressive founder at BCST. The BCST was a brand/audience buy.Viaweb was acquired much earlier in it’s life than BCST was. My memory is foggy but I recall Excite poached a shopping company that Y! was about to purchase so the Viaweb deal came together really quick. Viaweb was a technology buy.To me Mark has much more interesting things to say about growing a publicizing a company. Paul is more interesting at a much earlier stage.Neither product went anywhere interesting for Y! in the long term.

          1. LE

            (Being a PR hound is a positive although most would read it as a negative (out of jealousy)).To me Mark has much more interesting things to say about growing a publicizing a company. Paul is more interesting at a much earlier stage.To me the major difference is that Mark deals in the real world while Graham deals in a world where the majority of ideas are shots in the dark with a only a few sticking. Mark knows and lives business from all angles while Paul just knows his small corner of the world quite well. Paul didn’t even think about business until he was way out of school (he was what a computer scientist and math guy?) while Mark started and sold a business right out of college and moved on from there.As far as Todd perhaps people thought he was more impressive because he isn’t a hoot like Mark and is more reserved calculated and measure. (I have no clue just speculating). You know there are people out there that don’t think Donald Trump is smart either because of the way he says things and the fact that he doesn’t “sound” intellectual. Whatever that is.

          2. LE

            Neither product went anywhere interesting for Y! in the long term.Well for one thing the entire culture of Internet companies is to stick your hand out and catch the business. They aren’t intuitive about the hustle that is needed because the vast majority of people working back at that time (and maybe even now) never had to grind it out (like Ray Kroc..)

  52. Michael Elling

    Twitter could be a phenomenal knowledge management tool (or component of a or several larger systems; and not through acquisition) and engagement platform. It lacks the tools to empower the sender and receiver to do either particularly well, because it tries too hard to justify its direct value as a (social) media destination and limit the generativity of those on the platform. It is not the end. It is the way through.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Yup !More experimental efforts to conjure up purpose-driven strange-attractor tools.

  53. Elizabeth Dorsey

    As a newcomer, I do get overwhelmed by the clutter. It’s a product issue BUT, I trudge through because I am thrilled that I can tweet and get responses from people who I admire: Jim Cramer, Farnoosh Torabi and our own Fred Wilson, for example. Where else can I converse with professionals of this caliber? My career is on Wall Street where dialogue has become virtually nonexistent (because of regulations and a lot of other reasons). To me, TWTR is a huge auditorium (“platform” if you must) that provides a forum for spontaneous interaction. The number of users remains frustratingly low, but the quality is unusually impressive. You could go either way in your analysis. For me, the latter is cause for celebration and keeps me wading through the morass of information. With regards to Wall Street, some of the most talented portfolio managers in the world own TWTR shares but only modestly. Get their input, curry favor with them by asking a lot of questions. Not to be nasty, but when was the last time Mr. Dorsey visited Boston?

    1. Vasudev Ram

      >The number of users remains frustratingly lowSome hundreds of millions, is that right? That seems low?That’s a “problem” many startups would love to have.

      1. Elizabeth H (Lisa) D

        true, i was referring to US users but point well taken…..

  54. Marc Devry

    twitter is a $5 stock and it portrays the real value at that numberthe hype you generated from this blog post inturn backfired and caused a lot of negativitey.the sad state of twitter is explained the moment you seek ideas from the pubic contrary to ideas coming from within the product team

  55. irit israeli-kahana

    My name is Irit and I’m addicted to twitter…I’m addicted to it bcs its not a social network, but a broadcust system that I can choose whom to listen to, without being their friends..I follow a limited number of ppl that I appreciate and can learn from, a limited media sources and some organization I support their cause…and I believe that was the original idea executed with perfection…Simple, no big-brother intervention, use lists to make sure importnat twitts are not lost…what’s so complicated about it?At least in my country the elite is using it, so its even feels like being part of execlusive (more inteligent…) group..maybe it should be marketted as such…Yes on FB there is by far more interaction, but we do not need another FB, or whatsapp or instagram..If we categorized Twitter, like a huge directory for any news outlet, blogging platform, social media NW – we might critisize it less…bcs, at least for me its the best directory..Yes I wish I had more followers, get likes and shares, but its not the product problem but my own….I wish Twitter share will go up…from a very selfish reason, I do not want it to be changed bcs of the wrong reason…

  56. Brandon Kessler

    I think Twitter’s ‘manual nature’ which has previously been their strength is now their weakness. The one word I hope they worship moving forward is ‘relevance’. Twitter makes nothing relevant for us. To me Jack is the right guy because he wants to eliminate the user effort, and that’s all about relevance.

  57. Semil Shah

    If I could sum up the dilemma, I’d say: A tweet from Oprah can move markets and a tweet from Kanye can ripple through pop culture, but the place where that content originated from (Twitter) cannot capture any piece of the value created from the proliferation of a tweet. I do believe Twitter can theoretically capture some of this value, but not in the way it’s set up today.

    1. Michael Petruzzo

      This is really interesting. The current twitter ad product assumes that an impression of anything is a standardized value. But pulling this threat, what if they experimented pegging the value of the information in a tweet as a ratchet for pricing the ads? Adding a granularity lever where their ad product has the most competitive value (celebrity/breaking news). Another related lever could be the value of information over time – because a tweet’s information is more valuable at it’s birth – so perhaps ads that appear around them should be priced higher as they are closer to the information’s birth? Trumps tweets are all over TV – why shouldn’t Twitter be able to insist that for the first 72 hours of a tweet’s existence it also includes a “brought to you by Geiko” inside the embed?

      1. Semil Shah

        Any idea like this is a good idea for them to try.

      2. laurie kalmanson

        surge pricing for twitter

  58. Dan Conway

    Twitter is a great source for information but it was amazingly useful for early adapters – you could listen, learn, reach out, talk to the people you followed, meet up, establish new freinds, create a business network.. But it is impossible to replicate that now for a new user. It’s like having four children with the youngest and oldest 10 years apart. You end up at the same elementary school for 16 years. You’re great friends with other parents of that first child. You originally met at the school but you end up having dinners together, you see each other at gril scouts or at little league. Wonderful. But by the time of that fourth child comes around you’re kind of happy not meeting any other parents. You have your friends. You know enough people. And you’re tired of the school. Twitter is the same. For new users, it is harder to break through because relationships have been established. For older users, you’re now having dinner, you’re sharing information via texting, emailing, phoning, Facebooking, Snapchatting, Instagraming — so you no longer engage on Twitter like you once did. Good for you, not so much for new users.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      extending the metaphor — but the new parents make their own groups.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      This would be a much better FB ad. FB knows with a considerable degree of confidence the status of an individuals relationship.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Indeed. Which is why I steer clear of FB.

  59. kellercl

    The Notorious B.I.G. put it best, mo money mo problems. In Twitter’s case would it be, no algorithm mo problems?

    1. Jaime Meeker

      i didn’t understand what you said

  60. apedraza

    It’s interesting how some people see twitter as a medium for conversation and others as a news / entertainment feed (i.e. social network vs. media company). I personally love Twitter and don’t want it to lose its identity, but if they want the platform to grow beyond the core ~300MM users it will have to focus more on being a real time media platform (they may have already reached their potential as a standalone social platform). Growing without upsetting the core user base will be very tricky no doubt, but as a public company they kind of have to unfortunately. Simplifying the product will obviously help, but twitter as a social platform is not for everyone no matter how simple it is.

    1. daryn

      I haven’t been paying attention to the numbers, but 300MM is a pretty enormous “core” set of users. What do you think is an acceptable maturity point as far as audience size? Seems high engagement/activity/vibrancy of some n is better than low engagement of a much larger n.

      1. apedraza

        I totally agree with you, 300MM is a huge number, and I’m not suggesting that in order for the product to be better you need more users. My point was more from the perspective of the public markets / investor sentiment, which is really what’s causing all the commotion. If twitter wants investor sentiment to improve it will need to show user growth, but personally I love the product and don’t want it to change.

  61. OurielOhayon

    problems for me (i have around 15k followers for the context)1. way too much noise (not enough relevant posts that get my attention)2. way too much spam (bots that RT, news that are RTed, fake accounts,…)3. search broken. the way they display results is not convenient and user friendly4. the reading experience is not visual enough and way too cluttered

    1. Bruce Warila

      good list.. I am going to add #5. tweets are meaningless to most (99.9%). This could be fixed if Twitter built better ‘listening machinery’ (to your point 3). Every tweet should have meaning (as a slice on graph, a point on a line, a vote in a poll, a picture in story, a community contribution, a spot of sentiment, a historical record, a predictive input, etc.).

  62. Inna Raykhman

    here is what the ever important teenagers had to say about twitter:”You might not expect Twitter to be among teens’ favorite apps. After all, the company is having a hard time attracting new users. But a lot of teenagers we talked to really liked the platform. Here what they had to say:”Twitter because I can update everyone all the time quickly and it’s not annoying like Facebook.” β€” 17-year-oldTwitter because “you can voice your opinion on anything you want to and you can somewhat interact with celebrities.” β€” 18-year-old”My favorite app is Twitter because I am the kind of person who needs to get out my thoughts, and Twitter may be like shouting into the void but at least I am heard and often validated by my peers.” β€” 19-year-old”from here: http://www.businessinsider….

  63. Vivian O. Weeks

    The power and platform that Twitter has to not just enable broadcasts but to help develop tangible relationships amongst Tweeters is already there. Twitter can use it to build a purposeful member base well beyond what can be done with LinkedIn or Facebook. Privacy, or the lack of it is a big problem in Twitter. In the age of employer and client snooping, we have too think too many times before we Tweet what we really want to even when it is purposeful. Everyone is not a broadcaster who can voice, and we are living in an age where even those who enjoy being a “voice”, Tweeting can be at the cost of ones livelihood. So what about allowing the option for public Tweets when we want, and private tweets amongst our tweeter connections? Just some food for thought.

  64. daryn

    Sure, there are lots of features, etc. that twitter could add, remove, and/or improve upon. And those are fun to talk about. But increasingly, it seems, the issues surrounding twitter and its future are about the organization not the product. Maybe Twitter as a platform is perfectly fine, but from a business perspective it isn’t structured or scaled appropriately to support its current, and potentially terminal, velocity.

  65. Andu @ Widgetic.com

    What I can say is that there can’t be a world without Twitter. As there can’t be one without Google. I guess if both companies would charge users, a large percent of them would pay.I can imagine a world without Facebook and the other unicorn companies pretty easily. But not one without these two guys.I’m sure Twitter will be worth a lot. They just need time to experiment until they get it right. It’s the simplicity of the platform, the community and the integrations that make it so powerful.I see a lot of companies making a ton of money off them. Maybe that’s where they should look at first.

  66. Jon Michael Miles

    Twitter is for making new friends. It’s a relationship building tool. It allows you to establish light contact and engage in a more human way that Facebook. They should leverage the shit out of that core piece of functionality. Dating app anyone?

  67. Bruce Warila

    Everyone that wrote a fix Twitter blog post (including me – http://j.mp/1ME13vh) is wondering if it was their post that caused @fredwilson:disqus to nearly puke? For anyone into ‘product’ stuff, Twitter is an opportunity to raise and refurbish the Titanic, instead of watching others rearrange the deck chairs…

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      So true, isn’t it? It’s like speculating what I’d do if I won Lotto, ha!

  68. Vasudev Ram

    >So let’s get to the discussion. Is the negativity too high right now? Does Twitter know what is wrong and how to fix it?My 2c:They definitely DO NOT know at least some of what is wrong, or are ignoring it, IMO (or are too busy with other “more important” stuff).One example, quite irritating: In mobile.twitter.com on my phone, there is a link at the top of the page to get and use the Twitter mobile app – instead of the mobile web site. I prefer the mobile web, in many cases, for whatever reasons.If I click the x on the left of that link, JUST ONCE, to dismiss it, it should go away, essentially FOREVER – unless I ask for it to come back, via some option in Settings.Guess what: It goes away, yes – until I do a few actions, like view different tweets, etc. Then IT COMES BACK. UNWANTED.And this has happened MANY MANY TIMES. It’s like the marketroids or productroids out there at Twitter are determined to bring me into the Twitter mobile app fold – WHEN I DO NOT WANT TO, and prefer the web site.Huge bummer. Not okay at all, unless there is some good reason for this that I don’t know about.

  69. kellercl

    Is this an example of one of the subtle headlines that Fred is referring to in his post? It’s a shame I used to love Twitter. Goodbye friend.The End of TwitterJOSHUA TOPOLSKY1/29/16http://www.newyorker.com/te…

  70. Matthew Zadrozny

    Couple adds.Twitter rewards early joiners and penalizes new users. Cumulative advantage / network effects are baked into the product experience. Example one: early joiners tend to have higher follower counts (and are therefore more likely to get “richer”). Example two: the decrease in short, decent usernames over time makes choosing an identity difficult and — because of the character limit — penalizes those with longer usernames (who are more likely to be newer users). All this makes it difficult for new users, particularly content creators (think 1% rule), to gain a foothold.Further, Twitter is difficult to use as a network because power users (news sources in particular) drown out casual users. Why isn’t there a button to see the last tweet from everyone I’m following? For that matter, why can’t I easily see what someone else’s feed looks like?If Twitter wants to survive, it needs to figure out how to be a democracy.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      “Why isn’t there a button to see the last tweet from everyone I’m following?”Happy to make one of these for you or anyone here who asks. Displays only tweets within the last 24 hrs from a group of users of your choice (such as who you’re following, or a list you want to use). This one’s just USVers:http://45.55.208.97:8000/XAPNIK/#/group/usvClick on the blue button for any user to see and interact with the tweets.

  71. Diego Ventura

    Twiiter is fine, is part of the infrastructure of our world now. If your Twitter experience is bad, is because your are not using it properly. Moments is a step in the right direction, another one would be to give more support to the companies that are using Twitter as an utility.

  72. Rick Mason

    Twitter is a little like the guy who ignores his own date and asks every other girl at the party to dance. Instead of failed attempts to get everyone to like them they should instead double down on the people already using Twitter to make the service better for them. By creating a deeper core of fanatical users they will develop evangelists for the brand who will get them the growth they seek.

    1. Yinka!

      True. Understanding their current users better would result in stickier engagement and the benefit of organic growth via retention.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Great way of putting it.

  73. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Though not hugely into Twitter, I *think* this might make it more usable from my perspective.1/ Allow self-labelling of two *grades* of Tweeta) My best 5% – *I think* anyone who lives on planet earth and would want to read thisb) Other 95% – For my die hard fans who want to know what flavour yoghurt I likeMaybe a:b ratios limiting or you maybe you can buy credits to up the ratioFull-disclosure : I don’t think I have any die hard fans – but blueberry (just in case)2/ Two follow settingsa) I want to know his highlightsb) Tell me about her yoghurtPS – yoghurt is not a euphemism for anything – as far as I know;)

    1. Stephen Voris

      So, sort of like sponsored tweets at an individual level? I don’t think I’d limit them on a percentage basis, though – I’d rather it be on a timer (and maybe you could monetize by paying to bypass that timer). No sense in forcing introverts to spam to get their interesting thoughts out; there’s more than enough spam in the world already, online and off.

  74. Peter Radizeski

    I wish it was so much easier to make lists. Maybe a button that I could click in the feed to add to a list. Since tweetdeck stopped working, I miss the ability to see different views of the stream. The overpowering, too fast even at following 2600, stream that has anywhere from 80 to 250 tweets added per hour. Unmanageable, except by search or hashtag or mention. It’s a fire hose. And I don’t think they know what to do with it at HQ either

  75. Scobleizer

    I’ve been ignoring all this for a while. Remember a million people protested when Facebook turned on the news feed. So, the masses are often asses.That said, Twitter has quite a few problems that I wish they would fix.First of all, the latest Mac version absolutely sucks. It crashes on my account after only a few minutes and is totally unusable.There are lots of ways to make Twitter much more attractive to both heavy users, like me, as well as new users who don’t have any clue what Twitter is for. But they require an investment in filtering and technology that Twitter has demonstrated an unwillingness to do that I simply don’t understand. If that’s coming from the investors then shame on you.

  76. Adrian Lurssen

    Maybe it is shortsighted or naive to say this but since I can’t talk myself out of at least harboring this suspicion, I will say it:Perhaps one thing ‘wrong’ with Twitter – if that’s the right way to put it – is that it is now a public company. 1. Its measure of success must be quarterly. And the people brought in to impact that measure of success in that ridiculous timeframe aren’t always the same people who are capable of fixing what’s ‘wrong’ on the level everyone is prognosticating about, here and elsewhere. Twitter users are its product. Although I am a big fan and daily user (more so than any other platform),Twitter now seems to be in the business of extracting value from that product, versus increasing its value (ultimately for longterm benefit).2. Call me a total cynic, but people leave after the vest. Especially when the pressures from #1 above lead to lack of direction and a lack of balance around creating value while making money. Again, this could be my naive view things, but I think it’s what happened to Yahoo (in part) in the late 90s as well.As a user, I am a huge fan of Twitter and see nothing wrong, for my own needs. It is the center of my social universe.

  77. Josh Skolnick

    The most important thing about Twitter is that *if* you figure out how to use it, it is completely addictive – more than any other app – for the simple reason that it never ends, and each new piece of content comes in a bite sized chunk. In that sense, it’s like popcorn. Blogging sites, or the NYT, are more like whole meals. With Twitter, the next bite – or refresh – never feels intimidating. And there’s always the right size. You can get something from two mins with Twitter or two hours. If you follow enough people and have enough interests, every time you open the app there will be more content there. More of a conversation between two geniuses, a fight between two celebrities, more scores, more articles, more takes on the stocks you own. AND I usually get smarter — not sadder or angrier, as sometimes happens with Facebook.I’m not sure the product needs to change a ton – it is fairly amazing in current form. The real big question is why the current 300M became addicted and whether that can be replicated. Maybe Twitter only appeals to certain personalities. But maybe onboarding, follow structure etc can get a few hundred million more addicted. If that happens, I think they’ll be financially fine.

    1. Jim Peterson

      Agree with what you say here- great points.What is happening that I see are there are users who are getting great benefit, like you, and like me. But when I run an analysis of various accounts in my industry more than 50% of their followers are inactive.So the 300m addicted number might be more like this:15 m highly engaged135 somewhere in the middle150 m not even usingEach of these groups need different things: i.e. How to keep more of the 150m around.

      1. Bruce Warila

        Nice breakdown and probably not far from the truth. Of the 15M, I wonder what percent are the ego users that exist simply to get followed (following: 35K, followers 34.9K) that turn the other 150M off? The whole “influence” part about Twitter is a joke. There are so many companies that employ social media marketers that build their reputations on their capacity to acquire followers, and their follow-me, follow-me, follow-me behaviour pollutes the experience.

        1. Jim Peterson

          Hi BruceThanks.There is definitely an underworld to follower numbers. I look at who unfollows us @gardendesignmag and 98-100 we don’t follow, and most bounced in and when we didn’t follow back automatically unfollowed us.Again, that said, the positive side of Twitter is it has helped build a fantastic network that we often take offline. Couldn’t imagine being without it.

  78. Young Ha Kim

    I use twitter sporadically but I don’t think there’s something wrong with twitter.There are two use cases: 1) to pick inside someone insightful 2) to entertain myself with something witty.case 1:pmarca doesn’t blog any more after he started a16z. The only way for me to listen to what he has to say is to follow him on twitter (I read and listen to a16z newsletter but that’s a different thing). I will say to myself from time to time, ‘I wonder what pmarca has to say about issue so and so’ and log on to twitter and search his feed. Strangely enough, because you Fred Wilson blogs so regularly, I rarely search for you on twitter because I read the blog/newsletter instead. You see, I search for a person very often although I follow them (it’s way faster than sifting through my feed).case 2:Once I am done with search (either the person has posted something interesting or nothing), I go back to feed and see if anything funny, witty has been RT’d from my friends. What has changed from the past is that I used to follow whoever tweeted the wittiest remark of the day. Now I realize that the chance of him/her (assuming the person isn’t famous or verified) hitting home run twice is very low so I don’t follow them any more. I simply RT what I find amusing and move on.Having stated these two use cases, case 2 is certainly amusing but not a pain point that twitter solves – I will miss it but I won’t cry over it. Case 1 matters to me and this is in competition with blog, quora, medium. I would definitely like it better if pmarca, chamath would post lengthy pieces but they won’t (takes too long to write? too serious?).So that’s how I see twitter – in competition with blog/quora/medium (yes, I believe Ev has made a direct competition over his former company). Before facebook, people used to blog about ordinary daily life but they don’t do that – facebook is the better platform for it. I won’t visit a blog just to see how they are doing and that makes facebook a monopoly over people’s daily life (chatting is in synchronous communication space, distinct from asynchronous facebook)

  79. Ryan Connolly

    For a long time, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen how much I love Twiiter: http://rpconnolly.com/2015/…. I still feel they are at the start of a great journey. The last years have been ones of unfulfilled promise, not a lot of expansion or evolution, but the core product is not only intact it has more energy than ever before. Twitter is dead, long live Twitter!

  80. Alastair McCann

    The value of Twitter relative to Facebook is it’s opt-in follow setting compared to original Facebook bi-directional friend.This leads to a lot of value on Twitter for those willing to pursue a use-case obtaining value from the edges of their network.Unfortunately, the Twitter advertising business model requires it to have mass adoption. And it needs people to interact more intimately/regularly with their content.Problems here are:- the mass market isn’t interested enough in the edges of the network, rather people close to them.- the content and setting isn’t intimate enough for the mass market to feel secure to create and interact with content.So you have situation where the network architecture is incredibly valuable to some, but not a lot of people.So structurally it’s not Facebook, in a public market that is benchmarking it against Facebook.Combined with this is it appears from outside both companies that Facebook has a superior culture: ‘move fast and break things’ compared to ‘sacred cows’ such as 140 characters.For me as a user it’s sad to watch it be forced to be Facebook when it is quite different.

  81. Josh Jackson

    I started using twitter to follow people and new outlets that I thought were meaningful. I wanted a quick snapshot of what was going on with who I was following and their community. But, I couldn’t follow everyone I wanted to follow because of the cap on how many people you can follow. Here is where I could find the workaround. Once someone follows me, I had to follow them and ask them if they would tweet something out so I could follow the people I really wanted to follow. Now my end user target, my tribe, is the only group I can keep up with and twitter doesn’t have the capability or capacity to drive meaningful and engaging conversations. I move my twitter conversation to a more engagement centered platform. Twitter is now going through their own internal changes because their is a lack of direction and serious nerd roots to cross the chasm of sustainability. I predict in three years twitter will be desolved. Sorry guys.

  82. Kirsten Lambertsen

    OK, everyone here needs to watch the Periscope that @Yinka! shared a bit ago of Jack Dorsey addressing #Blackbird:https://www.periscope.tv/w/…All questions are answered! And, yeah, I’m totally giddy now.

  83. creative group

    This is very encouraging for the tech community and the average Joe. Forbes Article via Flipboard.Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), this morning released a plan that, if adopted, would fundamentally change the balance of power in the cable TV marketplace. β€œAmerican consumers enjoy unprecedented choice in how they view entertainment, news and sports programmi…http://flip.it/6zsX9

  84. Chris Phenner

    NOT a ‘Fun Friday’ topic. I tweeted at a friend at Twitter recently that seeing ‘Twitter HR Issues’ dominate my Techmeme feed/page is really getting old — I think there are so many more interesting, ‘fun’ and important topics that we could be sharing.But I see 252 Comments as I type this, so perhaps I am in the minority.

  85. Dave Pinsen

    Where Twitter shines, in addition to breaking news, is as a complement to live TV. Half the fun of watching a big game or a political debate is seeing the reactions on Twitter in real time. If TV networks are making a lot of ad revenue during those times, Twitter ought to find a way to share in that. Maybe by having the TV networks sponsor the relevant hashtags?Two other suggestions: 1) stop playing political favorites. Some of the wittiest and most interesting accounts are right-leaning ones. Twitter is shooting itself in the foot by suspending their accounts at the request of SJWs. If they have their way, SJWs will make it a stiflingly boring place.2) Embrace the social aspect with commerce. If one of your followers is in an outpost of a major bar/restaurant chain, or a coffee shop chain, you ought to be able to buy him a drink or a coffee via Twitter. It also ought to be easy to buy someone an app via Twitter. Think about how often customers interact with brands via Twitter. If you tweet at Taco Bell that your order was wrong, they ought to be able to make you happy via Twitter.

    1. John Pepper

      Love point number 2

  86. Simone

    A few days ago I was watching this short video with David Bowie from 1999 where he gives his view and prediction on Internet (min.4:20). His description of Internet is exactly what I think about Twitter, the necessity of a twitter (like) platform is beyond debate, I don’t see an internet in the future without twitter’s functionality, regardless if it is going to be provided by them or a newly born competitor.https://www.youtube.com/wat

  87. Stuart Willson

    I love Twitter but for me, the two best ways to use it are Nuzzel and Tweetdeck. One is a third party product and the other is a service Twitter barely supports, which suggests, broadly, significant product development debt.

  88. Alex Iskold

    I own a bunch of Twitter stock now, bought it at $15.I think that to grow into bigger valuation Twitter needs to do the following:1. Keep the core product as is. It is wonderful.2. Launch more substantial news products beyond moments3. Open and monetize its API. I think shutting down API access was one of the biggest mistakes the company made in its history.4. Purchase additional standalone complimentary products that it can operate and get an un fair advantage on by driving its massive audience to them.

  89. george

    Twitter is special, anyone who uses it understands its instant value. However, isn’t what’s wrong really obvious? They are struggling with setting strategy, deploying assets and consumer alignment. This company has the best free content platform ever combined with the best real-time delivery system ever and its still struggling to grow its audience! This is really crazy…DC did a solid job and Jack has a chance to refocus strategies that build stronger user engagement and help avoid their product platform from becoming more of a mobile accessory.Recommend – focus on user experiences + enrich connections, the negativity will always be there your customers are your first concern not investors.

  90. Zak Khalique

    There is definitely a lot of room for improvement. I constantly tell myself that I need to use it more, but despite this strong intention, I barely ever post. I think the main reason is it feels hard to build a real audience. When you first get on it feels like to no one is listening or you get followed by a bunch of marketers. Contrast this with FB where you have a bunch of people that you know are listening to your posts because you have more meaningful connection with them. There is a tipping point, where a user really gets sucked into the community and conversation, but it happens too late and requires too much effort. Note that celebrities love Twitter because they get an audience right away, and regular people with strong niche interests do as well (although I’m not sure why).I think Moments is a great idea, but I think it doesn’t do the platform justice, the stories it unearths are nothing special – things that can be found on google news.Facebook also does a better job of curating your feed. Although, most of the time I hate myself for wasting time with half the stuff in there. It would be great if twitter could give you a great feed like FB, but without the crap.Oh also, why the f— can’t I edit my tweets?!!!!

  91. Andy

    I do not think that Twitter has a clue what is wrong, I made a hashtag to fix twitter in 140 characters and Jack didn’t even offer the courtesy of a reply (or perhaps my ideas are meh in their eyes); https://twitter.com/hashtag

    1. creative group

      Andy:We are baffled by the valuations of the majority of social media sites that only duplicate or are limited in what their core business offer users. Especially the 140 character limit with Twitter. If the Venture Capitalists who decide who will be King the majority of the time don’t provide the backing and network of expertise to guide the start-up the success rate is reduced.Now on Jack Dorsey not replying to your solution on Twitter. Was that comment a joke or serious? Jack is running two companies, people in his ear (Fred being one) and you actually expected a reply on a Twitter post? Your kidding right. If your Twitter entries are important as you feel Jack Dorsey would be on the phone with you.

  92. Mark Essel

    Didn’t know you held a large share of twitter personally. If it’s any consolation my IRA is getting beat up as well the past several weeks (NFLX, DIS, S&P 500 Index).Twitter hasn’t lost any personal value/relevance for me. But it hasn’t gained any either. I get as much or more utility out of Pocket.

  93. Financial Samurai

    Hopefully things can go right. We need more support for the SF Bay Area real estate and the economy to not go bust.Names like LinkedIn getting crushed is really a harbinger of a bad labor market, probably mass layoffs, and a down market in general.Sam

  94. LE

    Twitter’s American userbase may have fallen by a third over the past two years, according to figures from third-party analytics firm 7Park Data.The figures contradict Twitter’s own numbers, which report a 25% growth over the same period.The research firm is 7park data. It’s hard to know the validity and quality of what they are saying without analyzing their methodology in arriving at those figures. This could be a PR play by 7park (after all it did get attention) or driven by a short.

  95. JLM

    .Brutal. I sort of like a bit of brutal in the mornings.Well played. Brutal nonetheless.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  96. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I would say that Twitter was telling you something, and you failed to listen.Twitter *is* a cocktail party, and you came into the room and expected everyone to drop their fascinating conversations while you gave forth your wisdom. How does one “succeed” at a cocktail party? By asking people about themselves and listening to them.Twitter has an unbounded wealth of information for you to mine that could help you in your endeavors. But you approached it as a broadcasting medium instead of a research medium.

  97. Kirsten Lambertsen

    OK, you didn’t mention any of that in your original comment.I just see a lot of people here talking about not knowing what to say on Twitter, or tweeting a lot and getting no response.Twitter really is much more about listening than it is about talking (for you and me, maybe not for Kim Kardashian).I actually agree with your four solution points, though.

  98. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Was I shunning? Hastily judging?No doubt, there’s much to what you say here about many people feeling as you do. That’s important. But we can’t ignore that it isn’t a place to come broadcast, and becoming that place isn’t the answer. I’m not saying you said it is, but many come to it with an expectation that it is.

  99. Richard

    Yep, Twitter is for learning listening.

  100. laurie kalmanson

    listening is a lot of what i do on twitter. it’s my own news wire for things i’m interested in — i click thru to links way more than i post.