Twitter, suicidal much?

Twitter used to be the social network that brought nerds, wit and lust for news together. Now it does not anymore. For the past few years, more and more pictures of cats and cute babies have found their way into the kingdom of 140 characters.

In many ways, Twitter is still the place to find news from the source, touch base with friends and colleagues living far away and naturally trolling brands and tweeps. However, the once predominated giving away to an endless, pointless conversation about trivial actions people take every day.

Ever since Twitter went public with its IPO in 2013, the social network started changing its attention to KPIs and satisfying shareholders and investors. Nowadays, everything is about the growth of the user base, ads served and revenue. The pressure, when regarding Facebook and LinkedIn as direct competitors, gets stronger day by day. Naturally, Twitter is acting and looking for opportunities to meet these expectations. Not so fast, though. The highest valuation of $40Bn dropped to roughly $10Bn as we speak.

Last year, Twitter changed its original star to a heart and its naming convention from “favourite” to “like”. Facebook much? It turns out, that was not the end of it. For weeks now, there have been rumours of Twitter giving up on it reverse chronological tweets display, only to replace it with an algorithm-based serving based on “while you were away”, but on steroids. Moreover, the original 140-character tweet length would be replaced by a rumoured 10,000 ones’ limit.

If all this gets really implemented in the coming weeks or months, the Facebook-ization of Twitter will be full steam ahead. It would probably make the shareholders, investors and even some users and tech writers happy. For a short period of time, though. Facebook will not let its critical mass go away. Neither its ad business nor the dream of total world domination.

The above-mentioned changes in Twitter’s nature will most certainly drive a lot of its users further away from what once used to be the preferable playground for them. Those that were there for the breaking news will not find them easily anymore. The nerds will no longer find pleasure in browsing their tech-cyphered timelines; instead, they will be seeing more plain talk and burps of cats and cute babies. Twitter will become more appealing to those used to Facebook, and they will initially flood the platform. After all, Twitter used to be where the hip and cool kids played. And everyone wants to be hip and cool these days…

I can’t help myself but think of Yahoo and its downward spiral. Every step it makes nowadays brings more layoffs and criticism. Some of the latter seems to be quite unreasonable, but still.

Maybe Twitter’s story won’t go this way. But it certainly feels like this. At least to me and other tweeps, I’ve been talking to. Twitter used to be my favourite social networks. For months now, not so much anymore. I see less and less point to read my timeline. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I need to change my social graph. Maybe I need to find another digital playground. But I sure miss the Twitter I started using seven years ago.

Copyright © 2016 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.

2 Comments

  1. samoznai February 17, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Though I rarely endorse predictions made on unconfirmed rumor, I find the speculations in this piece quite similar to my personal thoughts on the future of Twitter. BUT…
    I would lie to kindly note that while analyzing the possible impact of the rumored changes in the Twitter algorithm, you are basing your predictions on somewhat ungrounded assumptions about the user behavior. For example, I wonder how did you reach to the conclusion that we are imminently going to drown in an influx of babies, kittens and the like? I see nothing like it in my timeline. Yet. Also, plain talk and outright gibberish has always been the majority of tweets since day one (up to 60% of all tweets by some researches, which I saw back in 2013).

    1. Borislav Kiprin February 17, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      You are right. My assumptions are purely speculative, based on my own experience (1), conversations with fellow tweeps (2) and a tad of clairvoyance (3). Now joking aside, we bought know that gibberish can be highly subjektive. What ones find nonsensical, another might find to be awesome. And by “babies and kittens” I meant an illustration of the Facebook-ization of Twitter. It doesn’t necessarily relate to pictures of these two cute categories, rather describing a pattern in the Facebook social conduct, which finds more and more its way on Twitter’s platform.
      By the way, you are lucky for not seeing it on your timeline. I can’t say the same for myself, unfortunately.