A Decade Of Twitter

So Twitter is ten today. I celebrated with this tweet:

I do love Twitter. It is my news feed.Β Like most people who use Twitter, I mostly use it to consume information. I have never met a web or mobile service that gives me what I need to know better than Twitter.

I think that’s the thing that many people don’t understand about Twitter. They think of Twitter as a social network, like Facebook, where everyone posts and everyone consumes. Twitter is different. It’s a network and it can be social, but at its core, Twitter is a user configurable broadcast network. It has a very different read/post ratio than a classic social network and that’s part of why it is so good as a news feed.

Anyway, here’s to the next ten years Twitter.

#Current Affairs

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Wow. 10 years already!?Time flies like an arrow.Fruit flies like a banana.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Extra credit for you!

    2. Girish Mehta

      The Countdown clock in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip πŸ™‚

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Awesome share.

    3. Tony de Zanet

      It is time for #RIPTWITTERin an elite conference held last week, delegates were asked when was the last time they checked Twitter in the week. No hands raised. In a month, no hands raised. In about an year, two people raised their hands with little obligation.In one of the best colleges in the world, students were asked the same question. No hands raised , in a week, in a month, in a year. None at all. Now, they were asked when was the last time they accessed Facebook. The class roared. One guy stood up and said “I just checked FB before entering the class” and an other student was actually posting on FB as this was going on . Now, this is what i call indispensable.can you live without FB ? —> Not even in hell.can you live without Twitter ? —> Does it even exist ?So , #RIPTWITTER, the stock that caused major losses to the investing community in the history of trading

      1. fredwilson

        “elite”say no more#ripelitism

        1. Donna Brewington White


        2. LE

          Elite colleges are still great if you can get into them.

          1. jason wright

            where Google and Facebook were conceived, ironically.EDIT: and why i once called G and FB the ‘new churches’ of our age. institutions that derive their power from ‘ordering’ the masses. the more masses, the more ordering, the more power…for the elites that run the ‘new churches’. some things never really change.

          2. JamesHRH

            Freddy didn’t pass on MIT and, as I repeat here often, the only benefits he really got were social.So, Twitter is naturally less important than FB.

        3. Matt Zagaja

          Not sure what elite institution Tony was at as plenty of people are still using Twitter around these parts, but also going contrarian on RIP elitism. In an age of widening inequality elitism is more influential than ever. Nowhere is this more evident than the rise of cities and Taylor Swift. The difference between the top and second most popular album sales are equivalent to the sales of the fourth most popular album here (http://www.ifpi.org/best-se…. Super bowl viewership keeps growing as do the ad prices (http://heavy.com/sports/201…. If you apply to work at a start-up or a Fortune 500 company you are more likely to get through the hiring screen with a degree from Harvard or MIT than Central Connecticut State University. GE just moved from Fairfield to Boston because it was too difficult to hire software developers to live in suburban Connecticut.Even more evident when you read about the YouTubes and App Stores of the world. Tons of apps flood the Apple App Store but even some long time development shops are struggling to keep revenue coming in. A friend has a YouTube channel and while viewership is rising his CPM is shrinking.

          1. Richard

            What does elitism have to do with Taylor Swift ?

          2. LE

            You can blame US News and World report for part of that shit. Of course it’s not like back when I went to college that we didn’t know what the good schools were, we did. But all of those lists of schools has done nothing but widened the lust for the top schools. Back then there was essentially the IVY League and a handful of other schools of note. But the schools below that weren’t really (other than football schools) thought of as being that mediocre (from my memory at least).The other thing you can blame is the SAT (which we had as well) and the things that middle class people can afford to do for their kids that others can’t. I did really poorly on the SAT but still managed to get in and it wasn’t because of my family either.But in a sense it is fair and here is why.My dad came to this country with nothing and worked to a point where he could afford to send me to a private high school (which by the way was my idea, not my parent’s idea, my sisters had no interest in going there). He then made enough to pay for an elite school. He earned that money, nobody gave it to him. As a result I am able to help my kids. My dad suffered plenty of medical issues by working the way he did and it didn’t come easy.Fred’s kids have advantages that others don’t as a result of what he and Joanne have done. Fred’s dad didn’t have “money”. Nobody handed anything to Fred. Ditto for JLM’s kids afaik (wild guess here). Others here I am sure as well (probably Jeff Carter, wild guess that he didn’t grow up with wealth I could be wrong).So this idea that everyone should have the same opportunity and not have some advantage that their parents are able to give them is not entirely reasonable to expect. It might take a generation or two.

          3. PhilipSugar

            I am going to take the con on that one. I think it’s much better to not compete for tech talent at the main tech centers.

          4. Dan Moore

            What? Everyone must be willing to move to San Francisco. :)See meme sweeping… Twitter:https://mobile.twitter.com/

        4. jason wright

          block and chain elites

          1. Lawrence Brass


        5. christopolis

          says the guy that knows that paying people not to work is what we are going to have to do. Or forcing companies to make workers help the government break encryption. you are part of the elite. but nice try.

        6. Vasudev Ram

          >say no moreWow, Fred, if you ever get tired of VC, you have an alternative career as a writer …. :)Saying that not just based on this comment but on reading the last many posts.

      2. JamesHRH

        Noel Coward – ‘Watch television? Lord no. Television is for appearing on.’You have not discovered anything new – high performing ‘elites’ focus on social networks to build the assets they feel will take them to their manifest destiny of influence.Mass market networks are for everybody else. Mr. Coward had that figured out 60 years ago.

      3. pointsnfigures

        Elites hate Twitter. They can’t control it. Elites are about to get a big comeuppance.

        1. Tony de Zanet

          So I thought elites are the ones that contribute the 1% of the Twitter trash. And the other 2% of the worlds lazy knobs consume it. No ?If Twitter isn’t for elites and the millennialis avoid it, what is Twitter for ?Smartphones are a rage globally primarily because people can use them for FB, YT , Goog , we chat and Uber/OLATwitter is like a pager–> FIFO, first in first out

      4. William Mougayar

        That story might have some credibility if you could name that conference.

        1. Tony de Zanet

          Conference name is not the context here, twitter is.Alright, What would you do if you know the name of the conference. Google it all night , right ? And …Tell me one good thing you would want to do and I will email you now

          1. William Mougayar

            I’m curious to learn who the attendees were, like segement characteristics.

          2. Tony de Zanet

            The attendees were representatives from various governments and also includes the CIO’s and the IT government sector representing their countries. Held in Singapore, this is a brainstorm meeting as how to include new technologies in deeper areas of society. We also discussed if creating a IT portfolio group at an administrative level.Long range topics on Google, YT, OLA were covered.

          3. William Mougayar


    4. Twain Twain

      See if more AI folks had your wit, they’d never have created semantic syntax like this …

      1. Lawrence Brass

        love the time-flies πŸ™‚

  2. William Mougayar

    And Twitter’s search is amazing; it’s current and filters the noise easily. It finds people and content.I’m using it with more satisfaction than Google, to round up my latest book related research.

    1. Guy Lepage

      I have enjoyed Twitter’s user search capabilities but very interesting that you’re using it as a strong form for research. Very cool.

    2. Vasudev Ram

      Haven’t found it that good, actually. E.g. I get a lot of duplicate tweets for some search keywords I do. Not sure if we are using the same search features.On a related note, Twitter recently killed Tweetdeck, as I read somewhere.

      1. William Mougayar

        It’s good at surfacing the latest on a particular subject. I don’t use tweetdeck.

        1. Sharon Tan

          you make twitter look like it can reverse aging too :-)too much of fawning at fred and twitter therefore.

          1. William Mougayar

            Either you’re a believer, or not.What good is it to keep being negative & pounding on a company who knows they have challenges.If you think you know how to fix them, go get hired by them.

  3. David C. Baker

    I wish I could use Twitter like you do, as a quick source of relevant news, but I’ve not been able to configure it like that and I simply don’t use it that way. I feed bites of content to Twitter but I’ve never figured out how to turn the arrow in the other direction. The S/N ratio isn’t there for me as a listener.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I have the same issue with Twitter, have not yet discovered where it fits in my communication needs map. I read Twitter feeds from some people I follow and usually link from there to their articles or curated content, but not in real time. Realtime communications for me is WhatsApp, Skype, Phone Messaging usually from family and team, and news is BBC/Bloomberg TV and radio. All the rest, people discovery and navigation I guess I do with plain internet navigation-browsing, favourite sites, blogs, and Google search of course.Do I need to fix something?+ “configurable broadcast network” is a very good description.++ I have just realized that I have not “configured” Twitter properly, that is something to fix. My FB network was built mainly from friends recommendations and direct requests. This is what I need, I have been lazy with Twitter.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        >Do I need to fix something?Not necessarily.But one thing you can try, if not done before, is Twitter lists. Also see Kirsten’s link in this post, on how to use Twitter effectively.

    2. JamesHRH

      Fred has an unusual level of interest ability to micro-tune all kinds of things. Most of us don’t.I personally can’t find the time / interest to do it. Every now and then.

      1. pointsnfigures

        it’s about who you follow and what you want to know. that’s the key. It’s not about tweeting

        1. JamesHRH

          See other comments – Teitter the business would be well served to be about the tweeting

      2. Vasudev Ram

        Right, and he also does it partly because it helps him know his portfolio companies’s products, and the tech market in general, which is very helpful for his work (as he has said here in the past.) And in that he is unlike many other VCs who may have a hands-off approach. A pretty good strategy.

  4. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Same :o)For me it’s this (quoted from today’s Bloomsberg article):β€œWhat’s interesting about Twitter is that the value is not the social network you bring to it,” Dorsey says. β€œIt’s actually the people you meet around interests that you discover.”Twitter has grown my world a thousand fold, and for that I’m grateful and loyal.

    1. Sharon Tan

      yeah, but how is that a revenue generator ?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Twitter doesn’t have revenue problems.

        1. Sharon Tan

          Wow.. only this community treat Twitter like it is Facebook. I bet Fred bought you all a sumptuous lunch.Elsewhere in the world, people mock at the very mention of twitter

  5. Rob Underwood

    I love Twitter too. I deactivated my Facebook profile a while back for lots of different reasons, but Twitter is essential.My first twitter handle was “nyctwitter” (which I still “own”), before it was obvious (to me at least) that I should use my real name. My actual name was taken by the time I wanted to switch, so I went with “brooklynrob” because I thought it would be easy to remember (it is).”Brooklynrob” has become a bit of a personal brand for me — when I meet people sometimes they say “Oh, you’re @brooklynrob…” Twitter is a brand creator/amplifier for a person in a way that I’ve not yet seen duplicated on other social networks.

    1. Sharon Tan

      Deactivated FB for Twitter, Psssh. You need to be spanked, just kidding.

      1. Rob Underwood

        You’ve been reading too much Robert Scoble. πŸ˜‰

    2. LE

      My actual name was taken by the time I wanted to switch, so I went with “brooklynrob” because I thought it would be easy to remember (it is).Twitter has a “we don’t give a fuck a fuck about you” attitude toward unused handles and there is typically no way to even contact someone who owns a handle (as opposed to domain names):https://support.twitter.com…What if I have a request for a username from an account that looks inactive, but I don’t have a registered trademark?We do not generally accept requests for usernames that seem inactive. If a username you would like is being used by an account that seems inactive, you should consider selecting an available variation for your use on Twitter. In general, adding numbers, underscores, or abbreviations can help you come up with a great available username.Despite that I was able to recover a handle that I wanted (but then again that’s me). They should lay out a better policy on this and not take the lazy route “find a variation”.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I guess you did it thanks to your negotiation skills.If you own a trademark Twitter will help recovering the handle right?

        1. jason wright

          https://support.twitter.comhttps://support.twitter.com…although officially a violation of its own policy i have read on several occasions of cases where Twitter has actively assisted parties in buying handles. There’s Twitter, and then there’s ‘Twitter’.

          1. Lawrence Brass

            I hope it is not the same case as domain name scams.Houston, we might have a problem.

        2. LE

          I wrote several really good letters with irrefutable logic.Twitter will only help with trademarks (officially at least) if there is infringement which is not the same as someone having a trademark.If it were as simple as presenting a trademark that would easy to game.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Twitter handle redirects: there’s a little money-maker they could build. I’m stuck with “mspseudolus” because I was feeling whimsical when I created my Twitter account. I’d pay to have that redirect forever to something more intuitive.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Why not just create another? Too much cred invested in the former one?

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Yeah, I’ve had it since 2008. I wouldn’t like to inconvenience (and likely lose many of) my followers.It’d be so cool to be able to pay, say, $99 to just have it change magically to a newer name of my choosing. Not sure how much of a market is there for it, though, to be honest.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            Got it.Techie reply: Almost all problems can be solved by adding a level of indirection.:-)That was said by some famous software person (Dijkstra / Perlis?), probably partly in jest, but in this case it could work. If they (Twitter) maintained a handle or pointer to the Twitter handle – this is the indirection – then they could just change the value of what it points to (old name to new name) in one place, once. Problem solved.

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Yup! Easy money πŸ˜‰

  6. Mike Zamansky

    I think when Twitter rolled out moments – that’s when it really became my first stop of the day.

  7. Jess Bachman

    Whatever twitter is, longevity is clearly part of the equation. Respect.

    1. Twain Twain

      In its birth, it was all about texting people what everyone had for breakfast.Now, apparently, it’s about collectively “watching the puddle”:* http://www.bloomberg.com/fe…Wall St, though, doesn’t get the “watching the puddle thing”.

  8. Lawrence Brass

    Happy Birthday Twitter and Happy Spring/Autumn-Fall everyone.

  9. Guy Lepage

    Love twitter but loved it more when it was simpler back in 2008/09 (even with the fail whale). Simplicity is key to longevity I feel. But amazing that it is 10 years old.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      i loved the fail whale!

      1. Rob Underwood

        The story I have heard was that the frequent appearance of the fail whale was a reason they moved away from Ruby on Rails. Would love to know to what degree that story is true or not, or if it’s just urban legend.

        1. Guy Lepage

          I’ve heard that it was a scaling issue with Ruby.

        2. Vasudev Ram

          Yes, heard that too. Not sure about the facts. Also heard that they rewrote parts of the service in Scala (language) for better perf, and then it improved (maybe due to other factors or efforts too).

          1. Rob Underwood

            Yes, given both Foursquare and Twitter use Scala, I wonder if our host is putting that MIT degree to use by moonlighting as a Scala developer.

          2. Vasudev Ram

            Ha ha, nice one. He actually started as a developer, as he has said earlier.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Me too. Why is that?

  10. Ari Lewis

    What did you think of Darren Rovell’s article about paying for Twitter? http://bit.ly/1pVTXxL

  11. markslater

    i had the hardest time in the early years of twitter trying to figure out how it fit in to my life. As you point out, i now use it every day as my news feed – i rarely post – and its hugely valuable to my mornings….

  12. Martin otyeka

    Sohaib Athar ‏@ReallyVirtual Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).3:58 PM – 1 May 2011#LEGENDARY

  13. sigmaalgebra

    Never used Twitter. Don’t know what it is for or how to use it.Fred, the Twitter people should do something that for computing is so radical it is nearly forbidden — sit down for this radical, seditious suggestion: Explain how the heck Twitter works, how to use it, what it can be good for, as in part you did in your post today.So, set aside the common computer industry approach of being essentially illiterate and insisting that users discover how to use something by experimentation. At times that approach was justified by saying that the user interface was intuitive, with a metaphor of direct manipulation of on-screen objects which were graphical representations of reality — all inarticulate, illiterate, obscure, fantasy horse feathers.In part this approach goes back to an old reason to be obscure: Person A has some good work, is afraid their work will be rejected, so is obscure about what their work is so that if person B rejects the work then person A can have the retaliatory pleasure of knowing that person B missed out on something good. Meanwhile, person A misses out on the potential admiration and usage of person B. Bummer.Instead, explain, i.e., document, the work so that others can understand it.Of course such documentation requires writing in, say, English. Tilt — first obstacle, the people with the computing need to be able to write in English. Clear English — tilt again. Then, to have something to write, have to have clear concepts about what the heck are going to say in the writing, that is, have to understand the subject, conceptualize, clearly identify the relevant concepts, as you did in your post today — super gigantic big tilt.Net, computer people need to learn how to — and for the envelope, please [drum roll], here it is, in one word (yes, with anger from frustration) — write.I’d say that for people in high school who want to do well in computing, it would be better for them to learn how to write clearly about technical material than how to write, say, JavaScript.Gee, now after 10 years, we are beginning to have bubble up some clear descriptions of some of the core concepts of the good, basic utility of Twitter. After only 10 years! Wow!I know; I know; General Mills and Pillsbury didn’t work very hard to understand French baguettes and Austrian Sacher Torten either!

    1. LE

      Explain how the heck Twitter works, how to use it, what it can be good for, as in part you did in your post today.For example there is no explanation of things as simple as when you are replying to someone’s tweet that it doesn’t go to your feed unless you include your handle (an extra step). There is no explanation about what all the icons mean (rollover and display) and there isn’t even something as simple as a “twitter 101” link or “twitter faq” link at the top of the page. [1] You know the old “if you don’t want to read the entire manual here is what you need to know”.On the page that you get when you don’t login, you can’t even (because it’s infinite scroll) see the end of page links they keep disappearing.I simply don’t get why they (apparently) do no testing to discover and fix these types of thing.You know back in the day airports used to be a complete clusterfuck of bad signs. Making you guess where you needed to go and where you were. Then one day some stupid clueless person got involved and explained to the people that were familiar with airports (who were smarter?) that they needed to design for people who were there for the first time and not frequent travelers. It’s amazing that the people in charge didn’t realize this on their own. [2] Truly amazing how clueless people are when designing products. (And you wonder why the iphone is such a big hit, it’s because Jobs was able to think down to this level).[1] WHY NOT? It’s like a secret club. But those days have passed.[2] And everytime I am at an airport I still see room for improvement.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Many good points made.I wont get into more details or peeves of my own, done that before.I’ll just state a more general point that I’ve sort of deduced (or should that be induced – because it’s sort of like mathematical induction πŸ™‚ from many such cases – not just Twitter’s – that many such things were done better (because, more thoughtfully? possible) in the earlier days of Internet and tech in general (some things, not all). E.g there were FAQs for tons of topics on Usenet. There was even a web site called faqs.org which hosted all of them. And that came maybe later. Before that there were FTP sites like rtfm.mit.edu into which you could FTP and download / upload FAQs / software / docs / other files, including tons of useful info, tech and non-tech.( https://en.wikipedia.org/wi… )I’ve even used those sites via email (in Internet-constrained times and places) – there was a technique to get FTP files via email. And there was a FAQ for THAT (Accessing the Internet via Email, to be precise πŸ™‚ I made huge use of it to learn stuff when working in a company which had email but not easy Internet access for the employees.Each Usenet newsgroup [1] had its own FAQ. Many mailing lists (mailman, majordomo, listserv) had FAQs. BBS’s had FAQs. And so on.[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…(Many Usenet newgroups are still available via Google Groups and Gmane.org.)And yet many startups (not all) (including some that have gone big) don’t seem to have learned from the past, and some of them keep reinventing the wheel, sometimes poorly. Too busy navel-gazing and backslapping each other on how hot/cool/hip they are, maybe – while their users suffer for a while and then silently drift away.Posting a related / relevant video here, of a Rich Hickey talk (he invented Clojure, a programming language (a new variant of Lisp, on the Java / JVM platform), that has achieved some traction. (The story of how he did it and how it became somewhat of a success is also interesting, but I don’t have enough details right now, only heard it through contacts, so don’t want to say anything.)Tech Video: Rich Hickey: Hammock-Driven Development:http://jugad2.blogspot.in/2…End rant πŸ™‚

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Yup, experimentation and discovery. With your post, the situation is worse than I expected.But you are getting as critical as I am — must be contagious!The good news: You are now part of the Twitter cognizanti in-group! So, any such student in college can find a pretty, confused coed and say “Let me show you now we can Tweet!”. Since she may be afraid of the threats to the planet (they tend to be afraid), he could Tweet her about being Green and 100% all-natural this afternoon!

    2. Richard

      I’ve never understood the “I don’t understand Twitter” point of view. It’s like saying i don’t understand books. Twitter is a messaging platform not a partial differential equation.

      1. JamesHRH

        People running Twit create this confusion by refusing to accept that Twit is what it is.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Gee, does Twitter really need its version ofR. Courant and D. Hilbert, Methods of Mathematical Physics: Volume II, Partial Differential Equations, ISBN 0-470-179-85-6.Courant explains why might be interested in PDEs — the heat equation, the Navier-Stokes equations for fluid flow, parabolic PDEs for pricing exotic options, Maxwell’s equations, the equations of general relativity.Now, for what is the Twitter messaging platform good for? Building a professional network? Socializing with friends? Making friends? Running a political campaign? Organizing a revolution? Getting filtered, up to the minute news? If so, then just how, i.e., with what features?Maybe I should write Twitter for Dummies except I can’t count on David Hilbert as a co-author! Or even Richard Courant!

    3. Lawrence Brass

      It don’t come with a manual, as so much things in life. As you mention Fred gives us a clue, it has to be configured to work properly.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > It don’t come with a manual, as so much things in life.Right, and that’s why I may have to write Girls 101 for Dummies — Boys. A standard lament of men is that girls don’t come with a users/owners manual — or just a manual to omit the offensive users/owners! So, what word to use? Lovers manual? Naw. Friends manual? Naw. Looks like the English language fails again!

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Girls are like Twitter.. πŸ™‚

  14. Donna Brewington White

    We all have those relationships that have a good single purpose. But when you find one where you can relate on so many different levels and in various facets…that continues to evolve over time… those are the ones that marriage and lifelong friendships are made of. Well Twitter is like that for me.Twitter has expanded, deepened, changed… my life. Given me access that I would not have had otherwise.Jack, Ev, Biz… I often think of them in a similar vein as those legendary boys from Liverpool.Happy 10 years Twitter… 70 in dog years.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen


      1. Donna Brewington White

        I had to resist using the title of this song in my comment. Glad you took the bait. πŸ™‚

        1. Lawrence Brass

          I just followed the crumb path. πŸ™‚

  15. Gregg Smith

    Any chance you could link your early posts on twitter? The word “Twitter” is so ubiquitous on your site that it turns up on every page even with a date range filter. I’d like to revisit the point I first signed up. ThanksGregg

  16. Tom Labus

    Twitter is the old CBS News with Walter Cronkite only you choose where those reporters are stationed around the world. Maybe it will never make a fortune but it’s still very valuable.

    1. Girish Mehta

      Re: | Maybe it will never make a fortune but its still very valuable.Thats the question. I find twitter extremely useful to follow people of interest and get news I want. There is no question that Twitter “Creates Value”.Question is how much of that value Twitter is creating for the world can it Capture for itself.For most of the post-2004 Internet world, the rule-of-thumb has mostly held that “Value Created” and “Value Earned – Captured” are connected…viz. Create enough value for the world and you will Earn a meaningful portion of it for yourself.But over the history of business, that rule-of-thumb has not always held. The airline industry is a commonly cited example (e.g. Buffett’s comment on the airline industry). Modern life and globalization would be unimaginable without the airline industry, airlines have created tremendous value for the world over the past 100 years, and yet the airline industry as a whole has not been able to make a profit in hundred years. (I do understand am comparing to an industry as a whole here).Symptom – A lot of discussions about twitter’s business outlook quickly become about the value twitter is creating in the world and how valuable users find it – which is not in doubt at all, atleast for me.

      1. Tom Labus

        A lot of companies would give anything to have TWTR’s numbers. They’re out of favor in the market now but that can and usually does change with time

        1. Girish Mehta

          Re :”A lot of companies would give anything to have TWTR’s numbers” – Agreed. $2.8 Billion revenue run rate based on Q4 for a 10 year old company is not shabby.The questions seem to be about growth momentum and product.

      2. PhilipSugar

        I like your post. I don’t use Twitter very often. That doesn’t mean I’m a hater.What do I think about the stock price? No opinion.However, I would point out one difference in your airline analogy.On airlines anybody (well kind of) can buy airlines and start a service. For things that are sexy like starting an airline or a SCUBA shop, profits go way down.I could copy Twitter and nobody would care. That has always been Fred’s point about the defensibility of networks.However, it is a really good point just because you create value you don’t necessarily get to reap the rewards. See my post about why Donald Trump doesn’t pay to tweet no matter how much value he gets.

        1. LE

          Agree that defensibility of networks is key. But right below that would be perhaps companies like airlines or even McDonald’s. McDonalds has good real estate locked up (note how they are often closest to the exit off the turnpike) and airlines have landing rights locked up.But for sure it’s much “easier” than what twitter or facebook has done. That said live by the sword die by the sword. Facebook could and most likely will fall out of favor at some point. Air travel and people eating junk food, less so.You know what I get a kick out of? All the attention going to Cuba right now (hotels chomping at the bit) while Puerto Rico rots away in debt but at least has infrastructure. I’ve never been on a poor island with good weather that is that much better than any other poor island with nice weather. I guess the military advantage to the US is just to important to the US and we need to stake our claim for our protection..

    2. JamesHRH

      its more like a wire service with the ability to to track topics and reporters.AP is less valuable than CBS News, b/c it does not curate.

  17. laurie kalmanson

    i love twitter — personal AP wire

    1. laurie kalmanson


      1. jason wright

        marketing twaddle. sorry.

  18. Richard

    why no mention of periscope? While it has only 1/10th of the users, my guess is that it may have as much as 25% of the monthly user minutes. Ironically, the cost of operating periscopeits must be a problem for those in the c suites.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Periscope is so new, people are figuring it out. Currently it is a toy. Someday it will be pretty powerful.

      1. Richard

        It is far from a toy I know literally hundreds of people making six figures on Periscope

  19. jason wright

    ten? wait until the hormones kick in.

    1. LE

      Funnier than @JimHirshfield:disqus award of the day.

      1. jason wright

        A Jimmy?

  20. JamesHRH

    If only the people in charge of Twitter understood it was a news feed and realized that the revenue stream that works is to charge high volume PUBLISHERS for direct access to their audience.10 years without a clue at the C-suite level has to be some sort of record.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      But that would violate the sacred VC tenets of ‘swing for the fences”, “go big or go home”, “let’s get growth / users and figure out the revenue model later”, you see.Unthinkable …A contrarian approach:David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) talk at Startup School 2008:https://youtu.be/0CDXJ6bMkMYSomewhat tongue-in-cheek, but solid points.DHH is the creator of Ruby on Rails (used by lots of VC-backed as well as other startups) and one of the management (and co-founder?) at 37 Signals, creators of Basecamp software.

    2. creative group

      JamesHRH:you are preaching to the choir. Without any doubt Jack Dorsey is brilliant at ideas and bringing them to people who can take them to the next level. Jack doesn’t appear to be able to run two companies simultaneously. The desperate board of directors at both companies should acknowledge and take action.

    3. Dan Moore

      Curious on how you see this working? Does Twitter provide alternative ways for big publishers to reach out to all their subscribers? (Email, notification, pinned tweet, something else?)Why would these entities be interested in that when they already have millions of followers?

      1. JamesHRH

        They have no users without a verified account.Tiered pricing based on number of followers / tweets:- 0 to100,000 followers $x per year- 100,001 to 1M followed $x per day- 1M+ followers $x per tweetThat’s just off the top of my head.

        1. Dan Moore

          I would keep a free tier for the first 10,000 followers, but I agree that would bring in some revenue.

  21. Chris O'Donnell

    I tried to follow an EPL team hashtag as I watched my favorite EPL team overcome a 2-0 halftime deficit yesterday. The feed was basically unusable, with 25%+ of the updates being spam from egg accounts, or vaguely Russian sounding names with attractive female avatars, and zero followers. A check box to ignore zero follower accounts can’t be that hard to implement.I like Twitter (using it since 2007 I think), but I was damn irritated with the service yesterday. They need to fix the spam problem.

  22. Alex Murphy

    @fredwilson:disqus what tools do you use to get the most out of Twitter?

  23. pointsnfigures

    I can’t remember when I joined Twitter. I read an article in Barron’s. A CEO said, “Twitter is a river of information. It’s like mining for gold. You dip your pan in, check it out. Keep what you want and throw out the rest.” I wonder if Twitter would scale faster and be more valuable to people if it figured out how to enable people to mine for the gold they wanted to find.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      >I wonder if Twitter would scale faster and be more valuable to people if it figured out how to enable people to mine for the gold they wanted to find.Great point. I’ve thought the same about both Twitter and Gmail. And said before: maybe web companies should consider providing more general search facilities than the limited ones they have now, for their data / services. A more general solution automatically solves many special cases which come under it, so they don’t have to spend time and money to develop features for those special cases individually. For example, Gmail could have a better, more powerful, SQL-like search (and hey, Google is a search company first). But it may be that they are afraid of exposing too much power to the users, for what could sometimes be valid reasons, like misuse or overloading their infrastructure.

    2. ASK47

      Yep. That’s what we tried to do with mvtweets.com. Instead of clicking on hashtags and having to filter through the results, keeping the focus on a single (or set) of accounts would be very useful. Twitter could easily implement a simple toggle that turned such “hashtag focus” on or off. As you can see with mvtweets.com, being able to easily drill down to the tweets you want to see just by clicking the hashtags is a compelling use case, one I hope Twitter will someday implement.

  24. LE

    I just discovered that you can use Siri to post on twitter if you have twitter setup (I didn’t) on your iphone.

  25. creative group

    Any enthusiasm when viewing the consistent rants about Twitter is tempered by lack of sound fundamentals.Gasps!DISCLOSURE: No Twitter holdings.

  26. pointsnfigures

    http://blog.dilbert.com/pos… Interesting blog post by Dilbert creator Scott Adams “Social Media is The New Government”. He has been following the Trump phenomena closely and is a must read if you want to understand it. This fits in with some things Fred wrote the other day about Twitter.

  27. Steve_Dodd

    Hopefully Twitter reads some of these comments as many contain strong clues to its future opportunities. #iLoveTwitter

    1. Rodney H

      it usually is the other way roundthat’s how pathetic twitter has become. signs of rip

      1. Steve_Dodd

        Actually, I don’t understand your context here. Twitter’s biggest problem IMO is not understanding what users do with it and therefore not providing specific value to address those unique needs as well as adding value to them. Instead, it flops around chasing the ideas of others. Fundamentally, it has not advanced in 10 years. It missed all major social developments over the past few years because it is too focused on itself & investors and not its users. Some of us use it as a news feed, others use it for reasons most people don’t even know about or understand. Twitter is still the only truly ubiquitous and open network that exists (and the rest are closing up fast). Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Whatsapp and more (including Skype and other VOIP providers) are just derivative functionality that could have been easily enabled within the Twitter context, if only it paid attention to what its users do. Sorry, the key to success is anticipating user needs, hence my original comment.

        1. Rodney H

          I was pointing out that for a product to be successful, the product will have to penetrate into customer interests and space. Not the other way round as in getting the customers explain how the product needs to developed.What makes you think twitter is ubiquitous when I can get the same experience with a multitude of websites. Users don’t need an other index to the web.

          1. Steve_Dodd

            hmmm, sounds like we’re kinda agreeing. they need(ed) to study customers to understand and develop, which they have not. As far as ubiquity is concerned however, I don’t feel there is any other website that delivers what Twitter does, at least to the same extent or with the same level of universality. But, each to their own, call me dumb, but I still love it and gain tremendous value from it.

  28. RameshJain

    I loved Twitter when it came in and have been using it since then. A few (about 3) years ago, however, I started worrying about the noise and difficulty in getting meaningful information from Twitter. Was hoping that Twitter will solve that problem. # does help a bit, but not much. What would help is using ‘Waze’ approach of combining sensor (and hence objective) data with subjective data and clearly making distinction between subjective and objective data. Journalism makes a clear distinction between subjective and objective and that will help Twitter. I remain a user, but also a person who wants to see the change.

  29. Bruce Warila

    I have been visiting here daily for years. Like groundhog day, the same discussion about Twitter occurs every 3.2 weeks. It’s a polarizing product. I have tried to like Twitter once a year for the last ten years. I have read plenty of suggestions from plenty of people (here) on how to make the most out of Twitter.I have met dozens of business people that have hired ‘social marketers’ that spend their days following and unfollowing people. “Hey boss, look how many people are following us now…can I get a raise?” If all of the social marketers unfollowed each other, you would hear the sucking sound from here to China. Then there’s the How-To Tribe on Twitter that in the pursuit of followers will tell you How-To do everything from milking cows to raising capital. I say the same thing every 3.2 weeks: bury the vanity metrics to kill all of the ego-driven behavior and Twitter would become a different place.

  30. Rick Mason

    I think Mark Zuckerberg’s quote on Twitter, “a clown car that fell into a gold mine” is still the single best summation of the company. I love Twitter but it doesn’t matter who is leading it from the users standpoint everything they do is wrong.

  31. Rick Mason

    Here is a simple idea, almost too simple that would add $4.5 billion to Twitter’s bottom line on a yearly basis.https://medium.com/@darrenr

  32. Pete Griffiths

    I’ve never really ‘got it.’ I hear the words, I acknowledge its distinctive nature, I try from time to time but I just don’t get whatever Fred gets from it.

  33. george

    What I love about Twitter most, It’s my personal mobile headline news network! it’s easy to tailor services to suit my specific interests and needs. Like Instagram, Twitter’s platform has a distinct advantage, they know their users behavior, eliminating lots of guesswork and ultimately, that has and will continue to monetize – shortening the relationship distance between end-users and buyer.Happy Anniversary Twitter!!!

  34. Tony de Zanet

    Twitter introducing hashtag is like al gore inventing.. you know what that is ..hashtag has been in use for several years prior to Twitter. You referring it as though it is a ‘like’ button fetching billions of dollars in revenue

  35. Cam MacRae

    That a salty old sea dog like yourself believes the hashtag was introduced by Twitter breaks my cold, cold heart, Charlie.The hashtag has 20 odd years on Twitter.

  36. Richard

    The problem is in part is that Snapchat will beat them to the punch

  37. Dan Moore

    That’s what I thought too–perisicope and Snapchat are in the same market: time sensitive video delivery.

  38. Cam MacRae

    Fair point. It certainly reflects the fact that twitter is still held together with gum and string.