What If The Narrative Is Wrong?

I always like to look for where conventional thinking might be wrong. I think you can find interesting investments that way.

I was exchanging emails with a colleague yesterday about Twitter’s decision to get out of the developer tools business and I asked her if it was possible that the conventional wisdom about Twitter (it is in decline and needs to be turned around) is wrong.

I shared these two Google Trends charts with her.

Facebook “interest” over the past two years:

Twitter “interest” over the past two years:

What if Twitter is not actually in decline but has seen the bottom and is growing again?

What if Facebook is in decline but nobody has realized it yet?

I am not saying either of those things is true. I am just asking the questions.

Disclosure: My wife and I are long Twitter and have never owned Facebook stock.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Chimpwithcans

    What if people are using google less and less, and everyone is now on DDG? 😉

      1. Chimpwithcans

        I know, was just introducing a “wrong narrative” to the comments section 🙂

  2. andyswan

    App store rankings tell a different story :/

    1. fredwilson

      What does FTFY mean?

      1. andyswan

        Fixed That For You. But I changed the comment to be less of a debbie

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I had to look it up when I read Andy’s comment. Fixed That For You.

      3. falicon

        See…fifteen more minutes of wasted time because of the use of an acronym… 😀

  3. William Mougayar

    Exactly.”Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.” -Karl Popper

    1. Donna Brewington White

      We don’t know everything, but we know more than we think we do. If only we lived all that we know. — Donna White

      1. Girish Mehta

        Re – “..we know more than we think we do” – Do we really ?Agree with the second part – “if only we lived all that we knew”.Its possible that we don’t even live what we do know (which is less that we think we know), no ?

      2. Salt Shaker

        I might add to your closing sentence “….and listened more where we don’t.” Nicely done.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          That is a great addition.And thanks.

  4. awaldstein

    Only the market is never wrong.

  5. JimHirshfield

    I don’t know what I don’t know, but conventional wisdom tells me that I know more than I think I know. Know what I mean?

    1. obarthelemy

      I think you’re wrong.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I don’t know

  6. Salt Shaker

    Most TWTR advocates try to position the company as being fundamentally diff than FB and say it’s an unfair comparison. Perhaps to some extent it is, but the street doesn’t care. “Interest” doesn’t correlate w/ performance. It’s like touting “purchase intent” w/ out sales.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Of course. “Purchase intent” is a far better barometer of company health than “interest,” which isn’t particularly discriminating, lacks context and hardly is a precursor to sales/rev. (“Purchase intent” is a call to action metric.) Kudos to Chipotle. Hard to win back consumer trust and confidence, especially w/ food, but not too surprising that they’re succeeding. They serve a quality, affordable product and they historically have had a perception of being a health conscious company, despite their PR foibles. Time heals all wounds.

        1. andyswan

          WE DEMAND QUESO 🙂

      2. Jess Bachman

        Not feelin this chart Swan. Two scales on the same chart.. thats strike one… one scale only being 60% to 70% percent.. thats strike two…. chart colors looking like a beef and lettuce burrito.. we’ll call that a foul tip.. but keep your eye on the ball will ya. http://i.imgur.com/mDXMwjE.png

        1. andyswan

          I agree on all points! Design is not our strong suit yet!

          1. andyswan

            Well… scale from 60-70% is not bad. That’s an ENORMOUS move for a restaurant chain….the difference between “in business” and “out of business”

          2. Cam MacRae

            It’s more or less criminal in statistics circles.

  7. Alex Murphy

    Twitter had some bounce from the NFL and from DJT. Maybe they will bounce back up, but the trend doesn’t look great.Facebook recognized the trend long ago. They have been strategic in buying great apps that are in fact rising in their level of interest.https://www.google.com/trenhttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

  8. Tom Evslin

    Now that Twitter is an essential part of the political process and Tweets Are DIY headlines for politicians, is it too important to fail? I’m only half being facetious. if its current business model doesn’t work, our political discourse will need a replacement (which I’m sure will happen). But meanwhile Twitter is a huge part of the information and disinformation and noise which make up “the news”.more at http://blog.tomevslin.com/2

    1. Rob Underwood

      A short, public Facebook post can do the same thing (provided the author keep him/herself to the same Twitter enforced brevity), and, arguably, allows better follow-on threaded discussions. I am a Twitter fan (and have more or less quit Facebook) but Facebook can pretty much do what Twitter does but not the other way around.

    2. ShanaC

      there are thoughts about mexican currency traders buying twitter outright for that very reason

  9. Sebastian Wain

    I don’t know for sure if they are in decline or not but what I [think] I know is that Twitter has a serious fundamental flaw in their business: no real API and no easy way for individuals and small companies to consume the firehose buying API credits. In Facebook and Google this is virtually one click.

    1. ShanaC


  10. Jeff Janer

    Anecdotally, I recently did alumni interviews of 4 high school seniors as part of their college applications and asked them all what social media apps they used. All of them answered Twitter for news, Instagram and Snapchat…not a single one said Facebook.

    1. andyswan

      Instagram is Facebook 😉

      1. Jeff Janer

        Not in their minds.

    2. Jess Bachman

      They will all use Facebook when they get to college. I guarantee it.

  11. Tom Labus

    TWTR needs a deep pocket big brother like CBS News had with CBS at its peak. It’s cultural value is very high and is in imbalance to its financial value. If that gap closes, the stock goes higher. I’m long a bunch of times on the way down.They are still paying the price for being at 70 bucks post IPO.

  12. Glen Hellman

    Twitter has a huuuuuuge concentration risk. If Trump stops using Twitter…It’s all over.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I don’t think they will have to worry about that happening anytime soon.

      1. Glen Hellman

        I’m more worried that it won’t stop happening

    2. Sebastian Wain

      I don’t think he will stop using it because, on the other hand, Twitter is addictive for influencers when the reaction is immediate.Twitter is almost a frictionless “creative” platform.

    3. andyswan

      I’d be surprised if he gave up on his version of the “fireside chat”. Why let the crooked media be your megaphone?

    4. Steve_Dodd

      There will always be other “TrumpLike” events to light up Twitter. Maybe not as extreme but that is the beauty of Twitter vs Facebook and why they cannot nor should not be measured the same way. Or, considered as “equal” platforms from a user perspective. I would argue that anyone using both use them very differently and for very different purposes.

    5. ShanaC

      i find that news is still better on twitter

  13. Sprugman

    Um… Dutch Tulips? Edit: Arrgh. This was intended to be a reply to awaldstein ‘s “the market is never wrong”, but the stupid Discus app failed me. :-

  14. Jess Bachman

    I think there is a difference between “in decline” and “coasting due to lack of alternatives”. I see Facebook as a damn on a river, full of the debris of ourlives just swirling around eddies because there is no where else to go. I would never be long any company in that situation.

  15. DRM

    I draw the total opposite conclusion from the Facebook chart, specifically because it represents Google queries. Because the FB mobile app is so dominant, the need to search “facebook” on google seems kind of silly in 2017. Whereas because many people are still passively engaging with TWTR – no account, etc. – they still search “twitter” on Google.Facebook reports their DAU and MAU by region each quarter, and often publicly release nuggets around the amount of minutes people spend on the platform. None of those metrics imply a decline of any sort (a deceleration in some regions, yes)I understand the post is mean to be thought provoking and not your personal view. But there has certainly been a meme circulating around the demise of FB for a long time now, based on silly anecdotes about what people’s kids/nieces/nephews engage with…. while much of the actual data is right there in front of our eyes.

    1. William Mougayar

      And I wonder how many of these searches are Twitter people searches from Google. Twitter’s internal search isn’t that great, and I often resort to Googling someone’s name, in order to find their Twitter handle.

      1. Jim Peterson

        This is very true.

    2. ShanaC

      I love data as much as the next person, yet data failed in the election.

  16. Aravind B

    Google Trends isn’t a reliable indicator of popularity as shown (hilariously) by Facebook data scientistshttps://www.facebook.com/no…

  17. LIAD

    options for comment.1. Narrative is right because….2. Narrative is wrong because…3. Narrative is right but it doesn’t matter because….4. Narrative is wrong but it doesn’t matter because… 5. Trump cat pic. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. Richard

      Narrative is wrong because Facebook is now an n-dimensional ecosystem while twitter remains a messaging board.

  18. pointsnfigures

    Trump is using Twitter the way that FDR used radio. He might be saving it. I read an awesome book “Freedom From Fear”. It was about the FDR administration prior to and during WW2. Really insightful read (but long and detailed) FDR went to radio because the newspapers at the time were controlled by right wingers that would obfuscate his statements and policies. Radio allowed him to communicate to his target market without obstruction. Trump is doing the same thing with Twitter.Younger people are turning away from Facebook and going to Snapchat. I predict Snap will have the best performing IPO of the year.

    1. awaldstein

      don’t see it that waythe mediums are not the same while the motivations might be.twitter is a shock jock medium and trump is a shock jock of unparalleled proportion.radio in the beginning war a colloquial communal information channel, mostly conversational and back then i bet almost no call ins (don’t know about this).i was raised listening to the radio as a family in the kitchen during dinner.it is too easy to equate them and tempting but I don’t see the personalities nor the capabilities as the same.though interesting nonetheless and your views on history and knowledge of are always challenging. much appreciated.

      1. kenberger

        great point re shock jock.

      2. LE

        radio in the beginning war a colloquial communal information channel, mostly conversationalYou are waxing nostalgic like some Normal Rockwell painting. It’s a way to communicate the advantage is that you don’t even have to schedule anything in advance. The parent point was simply “using it like FDR used radio”. Never heard FDR on the radio but from what I know it’s a valid analogy.TV nightly news, which we watched at dinner has also changed greatly since the 60’s and 70’s. The stories are in many cases entirely different… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

      3. Pete Griffiths

        This is deeply true.Many mediums start with great hopes for them as means to edify vast numbers of people. In the UK the BBC was first run by Reith who gave a very important speech laying out the social responsibility dimension of BBC programming. But over time this vision is typically eroded and the medium becomes dominated by entertainment. BUT until recently, by the very nature of most of the professionals working in media (typically university educated) there shared a latent assumption of some form of rationality. Anything that resembles authentic journalism recognizes that facts matter and that arguments can be more or less cogent. People may have very very different views but share the value of rationality as an overarching imperative. We have certainly seen the rise of shock jocks who show little interest in rational values and exist to push buttons, but whilst their influence has been important – especially on some channels and in some geographies – they don’t dominate traditional media.BUTThe world is changing very fast. The internet has exerted profound pressure on all media channels because it affords the opportunity for anybody to use a megaphone. And this means that the floodgates have opened for millions of people who don’t share rational values to have a voice. Such people will say anything with scant regard to facts or argument. The problem is that there is a huge audience for such button pushing. And that reality exerts huge pressure on journalism.It has become fashionable to talk of a ‘post-factual’ society. This is tempting but profoundly misleading. The more disturbing truth is that we have always been, in very large part, a PRE-factual society. Huge numbers of people have never shared the rational values that the ‘elite’ take for granted in their cosy well educated bubble. But previously, such pre-factual people had no voice. Now they do!Radio has always been a very different media from Twitter. And the presence of shock jocks doesn’t alter that fact.BUT Twitter is the absolutely perfect media for pre-factual button pushers. There is no need to present data or an argument. Just push a button.

        1. awaldstein

          terrific comment with a lot of thought in it.i am not at all nostalgic as an individual. i am an expert and student of media channels and behavior as a marketer.And of course a very early pirate radio personality.

          1. Pete Griffiths

            Thanks A.

        2. PhilipSugar

          “Huge numbers of people have never shared the rational values that the ‘elite’ take for granted in their cosy well educated bubble.””This attitude is why they hate us (and I am going on record saying I might be the top ten elite on this board) and will do “irrational” things.” But to them they are totally rational. You are the one that is irrational.You have to think about your viewpoint. Think about it if you were in their shoes. Just think.I just shake my head when people can’t understand this.From outside your world how many no elite people to you actually friend? Not Facebook Friend. Just relate to as friends?Go hunting, wrench on a truck, split wood, fix plumbing, run wires, spackle drywall, paint walls? How many times last month or last year?For me every day.

          1. awaldstein

            Phil–it doesn’t make me elite if I don’t hunt or have a fireplace or fix stuff.Is that what this is about?Is it not about income and not all lower middle class of poor think about that they think about public schools and and role models and keeping their kids off the streets.i participate in those things.

          2. PhilipSugar

            No, it does not matter, but it matters to relate to people. I know because they try and figure me out. They don’t care I am elite, but they can’t believe that I can relate. Initially I always just come up and talk, then somebody says, well that is the boss.I participate and relate to people on this forum. The only way you can do the same is to relate to people that do that work.

          3. awaldstein

            We agree. And we will probably get along well when we do meet sometime.But I don’t for a moment think that successful means elite.I don’t for a moment believe that having money or privilege is the kicker, I think its empathy and humanity and understanding.And i don’t think you need to come from the lower middle class like myself to understand them.You can collect Keith Haring, recite Charles Olson, live in a high rise doorman building, travel extensively, blog and not be elite.Being an ass is what separates you.Humanity and empathy is what connects us to the world and others.

          4. PhilipSugar

            We have met and had wine at your favorite place, but we need to get together again.

          5. awaldstein

            dumb ass i am

          6. PhilipSugar

            That is a really good point. Success does not equal elite. Attitude does.But I have said this before. It is really tough the more successful you become to not become an ass. And I say this because I do get called out for being an ass. My wife and my late mother are/were the biggest call outs.

          7. awaldstein

            I agree.I’ve realized more the last few years how the core values of my family have impacted me and formed a lot of basic beliefs–not religious–but basic tenants of education, hard work, and tolerance. My father didn’t have a bigoted or racist or elite bone in his body.I’m the better for it.

          8. PhilipSugar

            Yes. So critical. I agree with all. My mother would add the word humility.My wife always worried because she came into our family from such humble beginnings. My mother came from very humble beginnings.My mother loved her she would always admonish me if she thought I was being proud.I worry a bit about my kids because they see my lifestyle and that is why I make sure that we are never above getting our hands dirty, or watch while somebody else is working.

          9. awaldstein

            All you can do is follow your gut on what is right.And be conscious of your concern.In the last year since my mom passed away I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. About my roots. About the generation of immigrant 1st generations that came out of serving in WW2 and how they raised their families.I was lucky to be the result of this.I wrote some of the story about my mom here: http://arnoldwaldstein.com/…And my grand father whose 41st Yahrzeit is in a few days here: http://arnoldwaldstein.com/

          10. ShanaC

            why do you think success often creates assholeness?

          11. PhilipSugar

            Because when you are not successful people will not tolerate your ass..When you are they will kiss it.

          12. Matt Kruza

            This is such a great and succinct way to put it. The assholeness is already in a person, they just can’t get away with it until they have money or “success”

          13. PhilipSugar

            I am going to tell you, it lets it grow. I know it and I’ve seen it. I think we all must have some in us, it’s how much you let it grow.

          14. Amar

            I like to remind my team that “History is written by winners” :). And the truth is, “we” (as a society) don’t walk the walk as much as we talk the talk. We love our value, virtues and principles but we do cut “winners” a lot of slack!

          15. PhilipSugar

            I fully know and am aware I get treated specially. My last name is a huge anomaly in the U.S. The amount I travel means people that don’t know me kiss my ass. There are many classes on American Airlines: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Executive Platinum, and the secret Concierge (look that one up), Same for hotels.But my job is to treat everybody with respect. I genuinely love them. They are my respite from my tough job. But I see some really shitty behavior. I call people out on it. I have the people that are the recipients of that shitty behavior say I wish I could say that.

          16. Pete Griffiths

            I agree. Being an ass is something you can be at any level of income or success.And having humanity and being able to relate to others, including those who live a very different life from your own, is also possible independent of level of income or success.BUTThis is not critical to my core point. You can be someone who is a well meaning decent person but very poorly equipped to address matters rationally. Like countless millions of others across the globe, you may well have been brought up in an environment where reason is not prized and where the tools to turn a respect for the value of reason into practice are not taught. Without the commitment to reason and the tools to express it you just can’t conduct yourself with remotely competent rationality. There are countless great people who can’t think their way out of a paper bag. This is nothing to do with disrespecting the humanity of another and nothing to do with being an asshole. It is to do with recognizing an incredibly widespread reality. The vast majority of the world’s population are pre-factual.I’m absolutely all for treating others with respect and relating to others. But I’m too long in the tooth to pretend that ‘the masses’ are not easily manipulated against their own interests, that they cannot be captured by a rhetorically skilled demagogue etc etc. And the internet is making this reality pretty scary.Those who live in the post Enlightenment bubble tend to assume that the power of Reason is such that it can’t be blotted out. But there have been other periods in human history where rationality emerged only to wither and die. The Greeks were followed by centuries of medieval irrationalism.Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

          17. PhilipSugar

            Gives me pause for thought and I love the discussion. But I will say what feeds “prefactual” behavior is disdain, even using that word is disdainful, because it implies that people can’t think. The periods where people “withered and died” were caused by elitist thinking which then was followed by a backlash because those that did the work rebelled at those that benefited most. My word was humble. Look at my response to ShanaC.I am not going political especially today.

          18. Pete Griffiths

            I hope it is clear from my post that I am not being disdainful.But I am not going to shy away from what I believe to be the fact that whilst millions of people can of course ‘think’ they can’t ‘think’ in a rational way. They don’t have to commitment to rational values or the tools to do so. Acknowledging the truth of this, if truth it is, can doubtless lead to disdain, but I don’t feel it.I don’t think that the post Greek process of a longstanding destruction of reason and the centuries of medievalism were ’caused by elitist thinking.’ I’ve never seen any evidence of that. I’d be curious to know what you mean by this. I think the lesson to be learned from the post Greek descent into unreason is that Reason is not something to be taken for granted.As for backlashes, there have indeed by rebellions throughout human history, across the globe, when ‘the masses’ have grabbed their pitchforks to protest against or overthrow their kleptocratic overlords.

          19. PhilipSugar

            They think in a rational way to them, not to you. Look at my bowling ball story. Do you know how hard it is to calculate how to drill a bowling ball? You have to adjust for the thickness of my fingers, the meat of my palm, the span of my fingers, the center of mass for the bowling ball which is weighted and then drill a sphere on a press, and get it right.I asked him you must be a machinist? No, I am a mailman.He is very capable of rational thought. Just not to you.

          20. Pete Griffiths

            I’m not saying it’s not thinking, I’m not saying it’s not skillful, I’m not saying I could easily do it and I’m not saying it’s not worthy of respect if you are a bowler.But if you believe that being able to calculate how to drill a bowling ball is the same as the revolution in human thinking that was The Enlightenment then we will have to disagree.People had been doing things like your mailman for hundreds of years. People split flints to make arrowheads and invented traps for large animals. That’s thinking. But that is NOT what students of history are referring to when they talk of the Age of Reason.When you take the application of rationality further perhaps it is a little clearer to point out that it’s not science either.

          21. Pete Griffiths

            Arnold. You need to start hunting. And the fireplace .. get one right away. I’ll help you fix stuff.

          22. awaldstein

            Ha!Guns: I spent three years living on a mountaintop in NW British Columbia running bees for wildflower honey in the high alpine and living where Cougars were common.I know how to use a gun and never really liked them even then.Fireplaces: The first article i ever published was on the mechanics of building a Rumford fireplace. I love wood burning fireplaces and when I lived in the mountains the amount of wood we cut equaled the size of our cabin! Pretty crazy in retrospect.Fixing stuff:I built houses and worked construction on and off to support my family back when to pay the bills.My hair was also to my shoulders.Just not who I am anymore 😉

          23. Pete Griffiths

            I can assure you that I am well aware ofa) the fact that everyone thinks they are ‘rational’b) the many dangers of painting groups of people as pre-rationaland please don’t just assume that because of what I was saying that I just don’t ‘get’ the horny handed sons of toil world view.

          24. PhilipSugar

            I am sure you do. And I am not being political. I am just saying that to understand the view you have to be down in the trenches.I have had this discussion before. People say you don’t need to know how to dig trenches to be able to lead soldiers. I respectfully disagree.

          25. Twain Twain

            I agree. Being at the coal-faces and getting your hands dirty alongside others is the best way to learn and to be.

          26. PhilipSugar

            Yes, yes.

          27. ShanaC

            usually, but sometimes you need to know more than getting your hands dirty

          28. PhilipSugar

            You always need to know more, but you still need to know how to get your hands dirty.

          29. Twain Twain

            Getting my hands dirty with Kickstarter campaign with AFRICINA. Fred and William have kindly backed it.I’m looking forward to making tons of mistakes in my ignorance because this is my first-ever Kickstarter (e.g. inventory management), and know I’ll learn even more in the process, :*).* https://www.kickstarter.com

          30. PhilipSugar

            Now me too. First project.

          31. Twain Twain

            Yippee! Thanks, Phil, that brings us to over 10% raised on first day! We’ll have AVC folks backing more Kickstarter campaigns before we know it!JLM and LE have both backed it too — proving that AVC’s men are great guys, across the political spectrum.Being bright+happy are universal qualities, after all…You’re all backing the birth of something bold and different.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          32. PhilipSugar

            I don’t think politics has much to do with it. I have pictures last year with two U.S. Senators, two U.S. Congressmen, two State Governors, and one U.S. VP. All seven have one thing in common. They are “Democrats” If you look up my donations, you can see where they go.I think many of us individually certainly including me are across the political spectrum individually. Don’t care about race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality: care about who you are.

          33. Twain Twain

            Thanks, a maxim to stand by: “Don’t care about race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality: care about who you are.”

          34. Pete Griffiths

            I agree with you.And I assure you that my view is not some set of elitist assumptions imbibed with my mother’s milk. 🙂

          35. ShanaC


          36. PhilipSugar

            Because to lead somebody you need to know what they do. Not be good at it, but know what they do.Two reasons:1. It gives you respect for what they do. It’s easy to look at a drywall spackler and think: Whatever. Try it. It’s really hard.2. It gives them respect for you. They realize you actually care about them. If somebody thinks you don’t respect or care about them you are never going to get a good effort.I’ll give you a story from last night. (I love stories) I went to the bowling alley to get my new ball drilled. I was talking to the guy understanding, and showing interest in what he was doing, it really is a skill. We had a great talk. He is a mailman during the day. Turns out I actually knew a guy that used to work his route but unfortunately died, he was a great friend, my wife’s uncle.The man literally would take his shirt off his back for you. He worked two routes (one for free) for six months so a sick friend could get retirement. He would buy special food and drink when he knew I was coming because he knew I didn’t usually have what he had (after three times of me only eating his food and drink he stopped)I am bowling. (my son loves bowling) it is league night and it is full of blue collar workers. I get a tap on the shoulder. It’s him, he says: “Are you that guy that owns that house and travel overseas every month? My friend says you are that guy””Yup”He says: “I never would have guessed that, you have a great night”Now the reason why he says that is because he expects people like me see him as “prefactual”, he wouldn’t know that word even if you gave him the definition.Or worse not even see him, like my colleagues would didn’t recognize the cleaning lady they had seen hundreds of times.You have to relate.

          37. Donna Brewington White

            Oh that “horny handed sons of toil” reference so tempted me to quote a dwarf from LOTR in response. Alas, dwarves have no regard for being PC.

          38. Pete Griffiths


          39. cavepainting

            at least in this specific post, you come across a bit condescending. We all need to open our hearts, but the challenges go both ways. There can be empathy and compassion in all kinds of people – the ones who have “non-elite” friends as well as the ones who do not.

          40. PhilipSugar

            Mmmmm. Appreciate the feedback. Yes, I can see how it could be taken that way. The intent really was not there. I have so many people that I know that really never have taken the time to ever know a “working person”. Maybe that shapes my view. I had one tell me the other day, the world might be a big place but the upper crust is very, very thin. Blew my mind.”Huge numbers of people have never shared the rational values that the ‘elite’ take for granted in their cosy well educated bubble. But previously, such pre-factual people had no voice. Now they do!””Prefactual thinking offers the primary and critical method to alleviate anxiety.[1] Usually, this prefactual thinking is paired with a pessimistic outlook, resulting in negative/undesirable imagined scenarios”What I am saying is these huge numbers of people are not prefactual. Some are but most are in fact very rational given who they are and what they do.

          41. cavepainting

            You are welcome. I did not mean it in a pejorative sense and understand your intent was not to be condescending. Just what I instinctively felt on reading it. Some times, what readers feel are not what the author intended. No one to really blame except for everyone to be more sensitive to how the human mind reacts to situations, people and words based on its own experiences and dispositions.I also think there is a natural see-saw to the society in terms of who feels hard done by and ignored and who is on the upswing. It is a cycle with ebbs and flows, and as much about who has been in the spotlight and getting attention vs. the actual facts of the case. Especially so when politicians ignore realities and fan resentments bubbling under the surface.Every “revolution” in terms of who comes to power and the mandate they carry causes real or perceived excess which creates the motivation for the other side to upend the status quo and cause another revolution.

          42. PhilipSugar

            I respect your opinion.One of my favorite exchanges on this forum was discussing the fact that the first haircut as a Hindu was to shave your son’s head. It was in fact a tradition in Southern India.I was soundly rejected, not out of hate but out of knowledge. I learned and was happy that day.

          43. cavepainting

            Thank you for the kind words and the way you approached the feedback with openness and humility. Says a lot about you…

          44. Pete Griffiths

            I totally disagree on what I think is the absolutely most critical point.”What I am saying is these huge numbers of people are not prefactual. Some are but most are in fact very rational given who they are and what they do.”For me this is just wrong. And it is wrong because you are interpreting the word ‘rational’ pretty much as a synonym for ‘thinking.’ But they are very different. The Enlightenment wasn’t an insignificant period in human history. The rise of Reason isn’t a meaningless phrase. There was thinking before the Enlightenment but a huge change between the world view that completely dominated prior to the Enlightenment and the world view that the Enlightenment ushered in. Belief in the value of employing critical reason to uncover truths, better analyze problems etc rather than to take culturally inherited beliefs as articles of faith was a huge change. The importance of data, subjection to competent critical review etc became central to science but the principles apply more broadly. You either think that beliefs can and should be challenged or you don’t. You either think this across a huge swathe of beliefs or you don’t. You have either taken the trouble to acquire tools to enable you to do apply reason more rigorously and do a better job of ‘reasoning’ or you haven’t. etc etc.To say that someone is “very rational given who they are and what they do.” is true at a weak level, but it ignores the important fact that some people are more committed to rationality and better tooled to execute on those values than others.The problem is that there is a threshold. A pre-Enlightenment world view isn’t committed to Reason and is hence pre-factual. There are countless millions of such people.It is precisely because huge numbers of people are pre-factual that shock jocks and tweets are so dangerously effective. A tweet is not an argument – it presents no data and presents no argument. “Lock her up” for example, is not an argument. We have given voice to prefactual emotes. Saying that this is in any meaningful sense rational is IMHO a mistake.

        3. ShanaC

          how are we prefactual?

          1. Pete Griffiths

            Good question which I have to answer obliquely with a rather broad brush.What was ‘The Enlightenment?'”The Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason;[1] in French: le Siècle des Lumières, lit. ‘the Century of Lights’; and in German: Aufklärung, ‘Enlightenment’) was an intellectual movement which dominated the world of ideas in Europe in the 18th century. The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. In France, the central doctrines of les Lumières were individual liberty and religious tolerance in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy – an attitude captured by the phrase Sapere aude, “Dare to know””https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…This period that profoundly changed human history (it spawned the rise of modern science, engineering and all the technology we now enjoy) and it fundamentally altered the very world view of many people. BUT BY NO MEANS ALL PEOPLE.If The Enlightenment – the age of reason – ushered in reason, then what did it replace? Basically – magical thinking. A huge percentage of the beliefs that human beings had about the world were not grounded in any sense by investigation, data and reasoning but were items of faith, cultural inheritances. It is easy for even the most ill educated to scoff at some of the beliefs held in medieval times but here’s the rub. THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD still live with this pre-rational view of the world.It is this magical view of the world that is pre-factual. And all this is a long way of saying that most people in the world are still living with a pre-enlightenment mindset.It is extremely easy for well educated people to take the VALUE of reason for granted. But it is not an universal value. MOST people in the world don’t share this value.There is a huge difference between people who understand cause and effect in their everyday environment and people who are committed to rationality and who possess at least some of the tools to execute on this value.I have liberal views. But I can happily discuss matters with a rational conservative as – I hope – he or she can with me. But I can’t engage in a meaningful discussion with someone who doesn’t value reason, who is mired in magical thinking. No amount of romanticizing the noble savage will unpick that harsh truth.We are most deeply divided by the schism between those who value reason and those who truly don’t ‘get’ reason.I hope this clarifies my point.For those interested in the topic I cannot overemphasize just how fascinating and brilliant Peter Gay’s two volume work on the enlightenment truly is.The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (Vol. 1)The Enlightenment: The Science of Freedom (Vol. 2)

          2. Twain Twain

            Ah, Pete … it’s the magic that’s missing and that’s why the machines, with all their “Enlightened Rationalism” can’t understand us.In fact they’re blind to the art and heart of us. Da Vinci is rolling in his grave at the amiss paths Descartes and his Rationalist ilk have led us down.As for value, objective data is only 1/2 the value at most.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          3. Pete Griffiths

            Let’s assume you are 100% correct.What of the fact that countless millions of people don’t have the cultural commitment or the tools to express their rational potential?And what of the fact that not having rationality doesn’t mean that you are exquisitely gifted on the ‘art’ side of the equation. Looking around the world I don’t see hordes of people with the artistic sensibility of Da Vinci. I see hordes with little in the way of rationality and poorly developed artistic sensitivities. Such people are no less deserving of respect than any other human beings, but it’s hard to have a meaningful political discussion with them. They are, and have ALWAYS been, terrifyingly susceptible to the emotive rhetoric of demagogues. The internet has legitimized such ‘discourse’ at massive scale. It’s a global problem and there is no ready solution.

          4. Twain Twain

            Thanks, Pete.What I’m saying is that the systems en masse don’t represent the whole of us. The head, heART and soul of us.The way the code is set-up conditions and biases us all to narrow, binary views that are about popularity counts rather than about the quality of us and our information.Quality not in terms of how much quantity of things a person can buy, according to their $bank balance.Quality in terms of valuing people in diverse and representative ways.There is a solution. There isn’t yet the collective knowhow to ship it to market.

          5. Pete Griffiths

            You’re right. There is more to life than Reason.But we have a serious dearth of Reason and it’s killing us.It is Reason that uncovers global warming. But the dearth of Reason means that we may well allow it to continue and destroy the planet.But I don’t know what the solution is. But even if there is one, I doubt that there is the means, let alone the knowledge, to ship it to market.

      4. ShanaC

        shock jocks kept radio valuable as tv took over.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Valuable financially.Destructive socially.

      5. laurie kalmanson

        cable tv was pitched as everything the internet came to be: wayne’s world. everyone has a channel.

        1. awaldstein

          yes indeed.trust me i’m not nostalgic about the past but i’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how our behaviors meld themselves to these channels and change us.such a great time to be alive and building stuff.

          1. Pete Griffiths

            It’s also an incredibly dangerous time because for the first time in human history we have given voice at global scale to Unreason.

          2. awaldstein

            how polite you are.we’ve put power in the hands of a juvenile driven only by his own id.

          3. Pete Griffiths

            If that’s all it was it would be terrible but it’s far worse. The juvenile is channeling tens of millions of pre-factual people.

          4. awaldstein

            Trust me I agree.Resist and fight we will.

    2. kenberger

      great analogy re radio and saving it.

    3. William Mougayar

      Trump has figured he can tweet something at 6:30am and that will feed the media the whole day, talking about it. Not unlike AVC here where Fred posts daily, because we all come here. Trump’s tweets have become an interesting daily part of the news cycle.

      1. LE

        because we all come hereHonestly Trump has become an almost a killer app-esq for Twitter.The fact is he could do the same thing w/o twitter by simply having his own twitter clone or similar which he posts to. Call it trumpam.com, trumpnow, trumpsays.com or whatever. The media and others would simply link to that and tweet what he says there (if it was made simple to do).It wouldn’t even matter how many people went to the site to see what he says (he controls the logs of visitors). He could even interact directly with people on the site something that is not as easily done with twitter. Honestly he doesn’t need twitter as much as people might think he needs twitter now that he is President (as a candidate, sure absolutely).He could post video, do live things, allow his cabinet and others in the government to say and do things and so on. I would be surprised if he didn’t do something like this at some point. Maybe use twitter just to give links to his content elsewhere.

        1. William Mougayar

          Yup. There was a recent article talking about how he is becoming his own media, but I can’t find it 😉

          1. Twain Twain

            Last March, at a tech meetup, I heard a theory he wasn’t serious about becoming President but only ran for election with a view to building his own Fox Network.

          2. PhilipSugar

            You know I never heard that but it could be true. Sometimes when you don’t care, you win. I have done this.

        2. ShanaC

          so why twitter?

          1. Pete Griffiths

            See my post above, Shana.Twitter is PERFECT for him due to its character limit.

        3. Pete Griffiths

          Interesting.But Twitter has one HUGE advantage for Trump.Twitter’s character limit is an advantage to him. Trump doesn’t post stories, news, facts or analysis. Like a shock jock he just shoots out one liner emotionally laden phrases. “Lock her up.” “Make American Great.” Twitter is perfect for this because everyone knows the 140 limit. He can hide behind this limit, leaving the suckers to imagine that whilst this is just his tweet on the topic, he has a much more detailed position that he just doesn’t have room to outline on Twitter.If he had his own site he wouldn’t have that camouflage.

          1. LE

            He can make his own limit whatever he wants. He can make a headline in 140 characters and provide more detail if he wants. Or not. The precedence is there. Newspapers do the same with headlines. People can post more than 140 to twitter with multiple lines 1/ 2/ etc or whatever convention they want to use.Twitter was an advantage for Trump but now he can communicate in other ways and in fact would be safer government wise to do so.

          2. Pete Griffiths

            The question should not be whether he CAN further explain himself or whether other people do. You are absolutely right, people who want to make an argument, authentically make a case, do indeed typically use Twitter as a headline to direct traffic to a more cogent explanation of the clickbait. But Trump doesn’t do this. He doesn’t want to and he doesn’t have to because the Twitter doesn’t demand it of him and nobody can tall him that he has to use Twitter to direct traffic elsewhere.You’re right, he can communicate in other was and it certainly would be safer, but let’s see what happens. 🙂

      2. Pete Griffiths

        How much more ironic could it be? Trumps tweets, which are completely non-substantive, have themselves become news.

    4. PhilipSugar

      This is a really great point. Really made me think.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      Interesting analogy, Jeff. Whatever biases you may have, I think you are able to put them aside to make these astute observations. It’s good to have you in the room.It will be interesting what history will show in 20 years. I hope to be around to talk about what it was like to be alive during these times.

    6. ShanaC

      I hope you are right for twitter’s sake

      1. Pete Griffiths

        It will be incredibly ironic if Fred’s financial holdings in Twitter are saved by their adoption by button pushing neanderthals.

    7. Alex Murphy

      Very good observation on the similarity of the tactics.Unfortunately, the message is not “the only thing you have to fear, is fear itself,”but rather”you should fear immigrants, free trade, and muslims, so we will build a wall, build more nucs, and partner with Russia and its former KGB Boss.”This is a sad day.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Of course, FDR’s entire New Deal wasn’t put in place for the good of the American people. It was put in place to ensure a permanent political majority for his party (and he said so privately). Turned out, he was correct. For example, farm subsidies were enacted to “tame the farmers”. They have no economic value at all.I wasn’t a supporter of Trump but he was freely elected and one hallmark of America is the peaceful transition of power. Democrats hurt themselves by protesting and boycotting. It turns the independents against them.

  19. VincentWright

    What if the narrative is wrong about Google Trends?By that question I’m asking, has Google Trends proven its accuracy? Or is just the name “Google” enough for us to stop worrying and to have justifiable certainty about its accuracy?

    1. B. Llewellyn Shepard

      Yes, Google trends has proven its accuracy.

      1. VincentWright

        Care to point us to an example of proof?

  20. Tom

    This isn’t interest, it’s searches.This shows us over time slightly fewer people are searching these terms, this is what happens when awareness of the site is high.

  21. Ryan Frew

    Sometimes I feel like the odd man out as the 25-year old AVC commenter. I had to read the sentence, “What if Facebook is in decline but nobody has realized it yet?” about 3 times. Everyone I know has been saying that for at least 3 years.

    1. Richard

      Show me the money. When you are 27 and you have to earn money to pay for your own health insurance, what platform will you look to?

      1. Ryan Frew

        I’m not sure I understand your question. I’m employed w/ good benefits already?

    2. ShanaC

      you’re not. you are reminding me that I am getting older though :pI’ve found that facebook yes/no is coming and going with people our age. They hate it, yet they get drawn back into it, because there is such a large critical mass of people

  22. Saeglopur89

    From European point of view: Twitter is in tech/socialmedia same thing to us like pager was.It’s amazing how this can still be used in rich media age and why is it so hard for management to adapt it finally. Without strong identity layer it’s even more difficult to treat it as a trustworthy platform.

  23. markslater

    Fred – where are you getting those charts – could you add instagram there…..There is a 5 year “changing of the guard” bet that is beginning to appear….dont exclude goog either….

    1. B. Llewellyn Shepard


  24. B. Llewellyn Shepard

    That may be true, that Faceplace is on the way down and Twitter on the upswing, but… as agency, Facebook is soooo much easier to buy media on. They take my staff to training sessions monthly and are constantly rolling out new ways to help my clients. As a result. the team here will *always* launch a new client on FB.Twitter, on the other hand? We wouldn’t even know who to call. It’s like they make it hard on us.

  25. Guy Hargreaves

    What if this is Jan 2000 with a new, controversially elected, GOP POTUS, an old tired bull mkt, tech multiples high, tons of loss making dotcoms around, underlying software business growing well albeit different companies at different stages in their growth cycles (FB v TWTR).Well then history would suggest we’re three months from a tech wreck, and three years from a bad choice to wage (more) war in ME.Seems sadly plausible to me.

  26. Nick Johnson

    #TwitterTruthers unite

  27. Joe Marchese

    The utility is proven for those who create/report and consume news. But that’s a minuscule percentage of the registered user base. [Saw a stat that may be dated, but said 20K users generate 85% of the traffic.] It’s 10 years now trying to find a path to sustainability. So @jack: Dude… you’re beyond product tweaks. Gotta find the revenue. [Hint: it ain’t all advertising.]

  28. Joe Lazarus

    Trump has been a boon to Twitter (see below for Google Trends specific to US). Most of Facebook’s growth seems to be coming from international, other apps (WhatsApp, Instagram), and monetization improvements. Anecdotally, a lot of my friends are far less active on Facebook lately. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

  29. Kirsten Lambertsen

    On a similar note, the key to Twitter’s future success may be in doing exactly the opposite of what the market expects. In other words, Keep Twitter Weird.Maybe this has been said before but, it seems a community like Twitter (or really, collection of communities) could benefit from using urban planning as a metaphor for decision making, vs more traditional online business models. I’m talking about the Jane Jacobs kind, not the gated community in suburbia kind.

  30. Matt A. Myers

    Does that graph for Facebook take into account Instagram and WhatsApp usage/interest?

  31. Thor Snilsberg

    We live in a post modern world. As you point out there are many possible narratives. It depends on where you stand, how you interpret the facts, the timeframe, etc It seems to me today’s narratives have to do with how loud and persistent you are when trying to convince everyone your narrative is THE meta-narrative.

  32. Ana Milicevic

    I want to be long on Twitter as I readily see the potential of the platform but am frustrated by consistent lack of visible leadership and any semblance of a cogent monetization strategy that extends beyond the lazy ‘oh, we’ll just monetize through ads’ approach. The very least they could do is support third-party developers who would have a better chance at cracking monetization options on top of Twitter as a platform — their in-house teams, in spite of literally thousands of talented folks, have so far proven utterly inept.The more I watch their leadership team flail, the more I’m convinced that Zuckerberg’s clown car metaphor was and remains spot on.

  33. jason wright

    Is Twitter like Zynga?

  34. Semil Shah

    I am not sure extrapolating from this particular graph bolsters your argument. $FB needs to be thought of as a global network of different properties (Main, mobile, Instagram, Whatsapp etc) that’s a huge graph of people worldwide. Twitter is more of a broadcast and interest network, but has no strategy of either growing those networks or monetizing them to the extent they really should — all things that $FB doesn’t just do well, but is truly world-class at doing. I realize you don’t believe in much of $FB and I agree w/ many of those philosophies, but the facts remain.

  35. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Our response to the sentiments and emotions regarding blog posts highlighting a feature or benefit of Twitter was usually meet with what we actually looked at in Twitter’s numbers that have been opposed to the rosy dialogue in this blog.Numbers don’t lie (Unless being misrepresented, not even a claim being made with Twitter).The Tea Leafs being read reveal what we have stated continuously that Jack Dorsey is a visionary but is human and doesn’t have the ability to run two companies at once.The Street views Twitter as Dead Money. No Growth, losing user base, layoffs, C-Suite executives fleeing are easy reasons.DISCLOSURE: NONE TO REPORT. NO TWITTER HOLDINGS.WE DO HAVE A POSITION IN SQ

  36. Emily Steed

    Great post – got me thinking: “What IS “conventional wisdom”? Whatever it is, maybe it should involve evidence-based decision-making. To me, the attached global charts for a longer range view show facebook and twitter in very similar situations – I don’t see any significant differences in the longer, global view. It looks to me like they may both be plateauing, as the next social platform emerges. Curious: what do folks see that differentiates the twitter chart?p.s. good job with the disclosures Fred :)https://uploads.disquscdn.c… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  37. Jack Byrne

    The trend is also influenced by who is using social media. A Nielsen study just published yesterday contains surprising stats on higher social media use by Gen X than Millennials…”Would it surprise you to find out then that Millennials actually aren’t the heaviest users of social media?People ages 18-34 spend a hefty six hours and 19 minutes per week on social networks, finds a new report from Nielsen.But Generation Xers, 37 to 52, spends even more, six hours and 58 minutes. That’s 10 percent more than Millennials.What’s more, Gen X increased its social media time by 29 percent from third quarter of 2015 to Q3 of 2016, while Millennials only increased by 21 percent. Those over 50 had the biggest gain, at 64 percent.”(from http://www.medialifemagazin… )

  38. WA

    Perhaps FB needs to put a Chronos play into effect. Gobble gobble?

  39. Salt Shaker

    Hypothetical: If someone on Trump’s staff gets wind that The Donald plans to tweet about a particular company and trades on that info does that constitute insider trading? Is POTUS staff, even non-executive, precluded from equity trading?

    1. LE

      A good question. I could argue either side of that. But I will say not insider trading no way no how. Trump is giving his thoughts on something. The fact that traders act on what he says and people know that traders act on what he says I don’t see as close enough to the intent of insider trading laws at least by common knowledge and interpretation.Would it be insider trading if someone related to the President knew he was going to visit a certain company and that there was a good chance that the publicity from the visit (not what happens but simply the publicity) would cause a bump in the stock?

      1. Salt Shaker

        Here’s the def: “Insider trading is the trading of a public company’s stock or other securities (such as bonds or stock options) by individuals with access to nonpublic information about the company.”Is a POTUS Tweet considered chatter or material info on a company cause his position and stature will impact stock pricing (likely in every case)? Of course, context matters, but since one would be trading on info before it’s published and in the public domain, I’m betting it’s insider trading, though one could easily challenge, particularly when the POTUS so impulsively and often Tweets about anything and everything. Whether it is or isn’t insider trading, it certainly would be grounds for dismissal, assuming the employee again isn’t precluded from equity trading.

        1. LE

          Separately to your original point (which I overlooked) specifically:someone on Trump’s staff gets wind that The Donald plans to tweet about a particular companyWe can probably both agree that it appears that Trump does what he does impulsively and doesn’t discuss it first, eh?Also the definition of ‘public’ matters. If I am in a restaurant and overhear two salesman discussing at the table next to me ‘the big order’ that they got and I trade on the info, is that public? I’d say it is public. I am sure there have been cases about this. (I am wading into discussing something I know very little about so I will end it here before someone comes along and squashes me.)

      1. Salt Shaker

        WS has set its algos to immediately buy or sell when Trump tweets about a company. No doubt, a Trump tweet is more reliable than a stock tip from granny. Here’s the thing: Trump tweets about Carrier moving jobs to Mexico and the stock tanks, unknowingly and adversely affecting the net worth of tens of thousands, if not more, of UTX shareholders (Carrier’s parent). He then saves 800 or so jobs (with funky accounting) w/ out ever realizing the full consequences of his actions. He seems to think far too linearly in a non-linear, multi-dimensional world. Words have both meaning and consequences, often on several levels.http://www.seattletimes.com

  40. popbijoux

    I find it curious that VCs don’t take seriously data and sentiment from those who PAY THE BILLS: the digital ad people. That;s why Facebook makes money, they apparently offer fantastic services to people who buy their ads. Until we recognize that this is a two-sided marketplace we are going to see many flops, esp. considering that ad dollars are not infinite.That is why Snapchat will likely flop, if not now then after IPO – they don’t seem to consider their REAL market: ad people and are selling way overpriced ad space they can’t even offer meaningful data on. You guys are living in a real bubble if you don’t consider the points of view of people who pay the bills. Ad people seem to really hate Snapchat if you look at all the negative feedback coming out of AdAge, Digiday, etc…Twitter is not going back up. I use the product but they don’t care about user experience. They prefer keeping the trolls and bots on there than giving user better controls and more meaningful experience. I mean out of all the platforms, for all their hype they have been the most conservative product-wise. They barely changed and allowed all these Russian bots to thrive. That’s why they are killing developer tools btw – that’s Twitter bots 101. I just don’t get their inertia. This makes me think if the Peter Thiel statement that they were always smoking pot, that is the impression I get, total lethargy and zero decision-making. I blame you VCs for pumping their egos to the point where they don’t want to deal with reality.And that’s why FB wins, because they seem to understand “reality” and are willing to work with it as opposed to avoiding it like Twitter and Snapchat.

    1. ShanaC

      this is actually an underrated comment. Do you think twitter can innovate in the ad space to get themselves out of their predicament?

      1. popbijoux

        I think many things, first of which is that their demise has to do with with their self-perception as a “140 character company”. Just think of how many uses they could have made of their live element…I am developing something myself that is related to immediate image-based communication which I think is what they have missed. TEXT is not the future and that is why their growth is limited.Secondly, in terms of ads, I think you run into the *value* problem. By “value” I mean value as in standing for something. Right now they seem to stand for “troll heaven”. Their brand is tarnished through their association with trolls. I did research on bots and hate speech and I found a quasi-solution by looking at a lot of what goes on, on Twitter. The problem is that the solution to hate speech and trolling has to do with abandoning the so-called “denial of first-amendment rights” argument the neo-nazis at Breitbart have used to collide with russian programmers to create these bots and grass-root trolls. You do that by giving users greater control of how the replies are displayed and you create specific algorithms in response to these “strikes”. Twitter is a playground for propaganda now because it depends on these heavily orchestrated hashtag-trending hijacks that are used to attack legitimate people and to spread propaganda memes.The solution to Twitter is the following: radically change the hashtagging algorithm by making it variable and displayable according to user preferences; create algorithms that delay response time, and create spam filters for replies and visibility. THEN they can change the experience dramatically in a way that will invite people back in. HOWEVER they are still living in the BS Silicon Valley land of “metrics”. The moment they cut the hate their real metrics will show and I am guessing the numbers of fakes and trolls are VERY high. If they had courage they would do this anyway and stand for something and invite a different audience and create confidence with brands and marketers.The bottom line is this: the era of neutrality is over. Technology companies will have to stand for something or they will die at the hands of those who understand propaganda better than they do. The zeitgeist has changed dramatically. You can’t stand on sidelines anymore. This is a huge opportunity for those of us who have courage.I am building a product that talks back to trolls, mimmicks them (there is a talking-bot element to it), tracks hate speech. The hard thing is that part of it is NOT machine-learning. It’s closer to “intelligence” work where you are tracking lots of live information and changing algorithms and alerts based on that. The work is all about understanding and exercising the opposite of neutrality. Neutrality is the opium of the unicorn era. It has put us all to sleep, in fear that by standing for something you lose on “metrics”. Guess the what, if the world is fucked, we are all in it together.

        1. ShanaC

          you’re right about the bottom line. Sadly.

  41. Stefano

    Twitter and Facebook offer totally different value to the user. In my case, I use Twitter because I can follow people that I usually don’t know in person but I find value in what they tweet (like Fred). A few weeks ago I deleted my Facebook account because I wasn’t getting any value from it, and I haven’t had any second thoughts about it.My brother is living in Japan and he has noticed that young people is active on Line and Twitter.For people that complain about Twitter: if you follow shitty people, your experience on Twitter is gonna be shitty.

  42. dan_malven

    Fred,I don’t follow public tech stocks closely, so don’t have a real strong opinion here, but you being long TWTR and never having owned FB feels to me like you’re investing with your heart instead of your head.

    1. LE

      The thing is this. We don’t know what Fred knows that we don’t know. He has access to info I would guess (and for his sake I hope I am right) that we don’t have.So there are a few situations with twitter and Fred’s holdings. One is we should all buy because it appears that Fred is staying and in theory must have some information edge. The other side is that Fred is denying even a reality that he sees. This is very common with life and investing. Ask anyone who has stayed in a bad marriage longer than they should. Or held onto an asset till the bitter end. Of course it’s possible that he has already considered the downside value and that he feels it can’t happen so he figures he might as well hold onto it a little longer. And we don’t know the size of his holdings. What percentage of his wealth? And how important is that percentage?There is a similar phenomena in the assets that I buy and sell. What someone will sell for and what someone will buy for are vastly different. All because of psychology.So on any given day there might be an asset that someone makes an offer of $50,000 to buy from you. You decline because you think it is worth vastly more. But if someone comes to you with a similar asset you won’t even pay $25k for it. So you hold onto what you have giving it different value in your mind then something you can buy. There is a name for this but I don’t know what it is.

      1. Girish Mehta

        Its called “The Endowment Effect”.

        1. LE

          Thanks. That explains part of it but I think there are other things that come into play. Noting that from a quick read (and I had heard of this but didn’t know the name) the experiments that they do don’t explain all of the behavior. For one thing the objects aren’t truly valuable and don’t have any potential upside value which was at least part of my point. (But thanks for this in any case).

          1. Girish Mehta

            Yes, they don’t need to be valuable or have any potential upside value. It is a bias, not rational behaviour….but it is one of the many things that make us human.(One instance of this is how the value ascribed can change drastically in 10 minutes from before making a purchase decision to after the purchase is done),

  43. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Twitter should acquire Patreon, GoFundMe, Medium (ha ha!), FeedBlitz, and… Or Automattic should acquire Twitter 🙂 Just spitballing, here…

  44. Kevin Hill

    I think you are right on both accounts as far as an object of public interest, but not as a business. Twitter still has to figure out how to make money. I don’t think ads work as well on the platform for a couple of reasons.1. A big part of twitter’s reach and power is embedded tweets. You’ve used them yourself fairly often, but ads don’t get embedded. FBs short term benefit and possibly their long-term problem is that they are a more closed system.2. Twitter is a swamp full of rare and exotic interactions. I think everyone who uses it knows this and so reading a twitter feed is more like hunting for gems in that swamp. This is why I love twitter, you might find something beautiful or have an authentic conversation with one of your role models. In contrast FB is just your ‘friends’ and so is more like hanging out at someone’s house. You guard isn’t up as much and that’ll be good for advertisers trying to influence you.So, this means that twitter needs to find a business model that relies at least less on ads. I still think premium feeds with a rev-split is the right way to go, but it isn’t my call.

  45. Steve S

    You own Twitter, use Twitter, love Twitter and hence your lens is tainted and you can’t see what the data is telling you. Twitter and Facebook on the decline, the difference being FB has Instagram and WA and twitter is just twitter.

  46. Donna Brewington White

    It would be much easier to replace FB with something else than it would be to replace Twitter. That is one way that I gauge value.But, admittedly, I have no financial connection to its performance or in any way related to where the rubber meets the road.

  47. Mark Essel

    Fabric and Answers are incredible tools. We’ve used Fabric at two different startups in the past 5 years and would be lost without it.Interesting choice to sell them, maybe not a good one though.

  48. ShanaC

    beware of believing that too much – you’ll end searching for fake news.More seriously, wasn’t that downturn when the privacy rules around facebook changed – and isn’t some of the increase due to tweets being stuck into google.But still, counternarratives are extremely useful – they help us see the truth, because we often lose important details in a given narrative.

  49. jason wright

    Constellation time?

  50. Pedro Almeida

    Love twitter and it has a great potential… but, unfortunately, don’t see it improving at a speed to turn it around, bring new users, improve content discovery, etc.Regarding Facebook, agree is going down, but trying to turn it around at a very fast pace.

  51. lunarmobiscuit

    Fred, the key difference between Fb and Tw is that the masses know what Fb is for, and use it for that purpose. Despite its age and scale, it still feels like Tw is poised to find its true purpose.Fb has probably peaked, as the next generation is not joining in their Fb branded service and has proven to not be locked into any one new brand.Tw has been more about brands talking to followers/customers/fans more than people to people and thus as long as those brands stick with Tw it’ll have a long run of life, short of finding some killer app, which may be the President and other people in power bypassing the press.

  52. Jorge Schnura Becerro

    I think that in order to get a real picture of company performance you would have to compare the aggregate of all FB products vs Twitter. The trend would probably point upwards that way

  53. William Mougayar

    But Facebook’s growth is not just defined by # of users at this point. Their growth is coming from them pushing more products to those users. Their advertising products and tricks are growing.

  54. andyswan

    It’s not about # of people it’s about usage and monetization.As for Trump, we think you’re right LOL: http://video.cnbc.com/galle

  55. jason wright

    Selling out to a GMO? Disappointing to see that.

  56. awaldstein

    the truth of this to me is that i have faith that facebook knows what they are about and brilliant ceo. that may not be enough to win but it a big step.i don’t think twitter knows either of them.not happy about that but i believe that is the truth.

  57. Tom Evslin

    Yuk :-}

  58. pointsnfigures

    Unions, and the others too right?

  59. William Mougayar

    They are making a huge investment in VR. I would bet they can easily get into entertainment production. They have the freggin audience, and they can sell ice to us Eskimos.

  60. markslater

    we were at FB last week – we were told (admittedly by a set of PMs)that the 5 year mission was:Move away from a social network and publisher model and towards a network to find and interact (transact) with people places and things.FWIW

  61. creative group

    Charlie Crystle:Jeff Bezos ego would promote him to think he could acquire Facebook. Facebook sells ads via users information which isn’t compensated. (Future to a great business model, compensating the user base)Amazon sells products and services users can’t get enough of.

  62. creative group

    William Mougayar:As you know Facebook’s monetization depends on user base purchasing the advertisers products in ad’s which Facebook doesn’t own. Amazon owns the products and services. Facebook can easily fall out of favor which we don’t anticipate happening in our lifetime. (MySpace)

  63. PhilipSugar

    That is something you and I have very much in common. I just got the office signed up for (totally optional) farmer CSA. http://www.wallinorganicfar

  64. PhilipSugar

    I can be an ass. I don’t mind being called out as one. Funny story, one of my colleagues in the UK said stop sending shitty emails on the weekend. Well me and a colleague in Delaware then had a heated public argument over who he directed that to because we both wanted to take credit and were on the thread. Getting him to curse is unheard of, and previously I had the record of being the only person in twenty years. He called me an asshat, after I called somebody that, I had to show him the Google image of what that meant.

  65. Donna Brewington White

    Had to look that up. Sometimes AVC is just too educational.

  66. PhilipSugar

    I had to look up gaslighting. Here is a picture from my porch of gaslights. My wife wants. Www. Prime225.com https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  67. Donna Brewington White

    Had to look up that term as well.

  68. Peter Beddows

    This is an amazing thread and I had to decide where to jump in but coming to “Gaslighting” and this picture made the decision for me.Love the picture @philipsugar:disqus. Thank you for that.As a kid growing up in post WWII UK, I can remember looking out of our window in the early evening to watch the official “Gaslighter” walking down our street lighting each of the Gas lighted street lamps as he went by and then, in the morning, coming back to turn them off.Who would have ever thought, back then, that the term would come to be used to describe someone tweaking another’s figurative tail to get a rise out of them? 🙂 /psb

  69. PhilipSugar

    Kirsten used it.

  70. Peter Beddows

    @donnawhite:disqus If you want to know an origin of the term, see my reply to @philipsugar:disqus above. I don’t know if the US ever had such a luddite method of providing street lighting. /psb

  71. Donna Brewington White

    Right — that’s when I looked it up. Your version I was familiar with — but the illustration doesn’t hurt.

  72. ShanaC

    with me and jlm, alas

  73. cavepainting

    What would that exactly mean? Did they provide additional color?