Twitter finally makes a profit, but still has problemsby Hicks Crawford Internet Marketing Manager
Twitter has finally made a profit after nearly 12 years in business. Investors are happy about this short-term gain, but Twitter still has many problems that make its long-term future much more questionable.
The main issue Twitter faces it that they cannot get enough new users to sign up for the service despite Donald Trump’s profile drawing worldwide attention. Part of this is likely because an account is not required to see tweets. This means that any person can view tweets without an account, which removes any reason for a casual observer of Trump’s Twitter feed to sign up.
Fewer accounts mean fewer opportunities the social media company has to advertise. Sure, they collect user data and insert a cookie on any browser that visits the site. However, they can only sell this data not use it to serve advertisements themselves.
Another issue that Twitter has faced is the large amount of offensive content and abuse present on the platform. Furthermore, they have a massive fake account problem and foreign governments are using the platform to interfere with the US elections.
This is not to say that Twitter has been failing to respond to the problems. Twitter’s problem is that they have either not responded with enough urgency or another problem arises that causes even more issues.
Michael Conner, the founder of Open Mic, has said that Twitter is playing “whack-a-mole” with the problems that they face. Meaning that once one problem is solved another one appears.
The cause behind a lot of these problems is likely the number of executives that have left the company. Most importantly, Twitter’s influential Chief Operating Officer (COO) Anthony Noto resigned after the profitable earnings report. Noto has been known as the person that effectively runs Twitter. This is because founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is busy with his other job as CEO of the payment processor Square.
Unfortunately for investors, Dorsey has not found a replacement for Noto. Instead, Dorsey has taken control of the company for the near future. This is despite calls by investors for Dorsey to either hire a new executive or resign from Square.
Dorsey is intent on running Twitter and rebuked investors by claiming that the amount of time he spends at Twitter is not important, but the use of his time at Twitter is essential. Investors were displeased by this statement.
The primary concern Twitter has is the looming threat of government regulation. The Trump administration and Congress have repeatedly attacked social media for election interference, silencing conservatives on the platform, and allowing terrorists to use the platform.
Twitter, in particular, has drawn a lot of criticism from Congress about the way the company handles terrorists using the platform. Terrorism experts brought before Congress have testified that Google and Facebook have both worked with federal agencies to prosecute terrorists that use the platform.
Twitter has not worked with the government to stop terrorism on the platform. In fact, Twitter has done almost nothing. Congress was not too happy at this revelation, which could lead to more issues for Twitter down the road.
However, terrorism on social media is not what Congress is most concerned about. Congress is most concerned with foreign governments using Twitter to spread fake news and manipulate the US election. Evidence suggests that foreign governments, Russia in particular, interfered in the election and possibly led to the election of Donald Trump.
Congress acted immediately on this news and had all the major social media companies testify. Facebook and Google have both worked to solve the fake news problem and their testimony proved that. Twitter, again, has taken some measures to prevent the spread of fake news, but they have not done enough according to most experts.
Twitter is actually in a tight spot because of this. They will likely be the first social media company targeted by regulators due to their inability to solve problems that affect the US on their own.
Can Twitter Recover?
The future might look bleak, but they can still make a recovery. One of the main problems that Twitter faces is that they do not have great leadership.
Jack Dorsey has a reputation as a strict leader that is resistant to change. Just look at the Twitter layout and design.
Not much has changed in the 12 years that Twitter has been online. Not to mention that it took Twitter 12 years to increase the character limit of tweets and no significant features have been added. Plus, the growing trend of people buying retweets is only getting more and more popular.
Compare this to Facebook, which looks nothing like it did when it first launched. This is because Mark Zuckerberg has a reputation for allowing his executives to change the platform as long as he gets final approval. Dorsey does not have this reputation.
What this means is that Twitter’s problems are most likely caused by leadership issues. A good leader can solve many of Twitter’s problems and lead them through the current issues that the company faces.
Dorsey just does not appear to be that leader. His insistence on running Twitter and Square at the same time combined with his unwillingness to hire a COO make him look bad. Further, his handling of the potential for regulation appears terrible.
Overall, Twitter has a lot of problems that they seem ill-prepared to handle. None of these problems are issues that cannot be overcome, but the wrong approach to these problems can mean disaster for the company.
This is why a leader that can guide Twitter through these problems is essential. Dorsey might be that leader, but operating Square and Twitter at the same time just do not allow him enough time to solve Twitter’s problem.
His best course of action is likely to hire a new CEO that can fully dedicate their time to overcome the issues that Twitter faces. If he does not do this, then the problems will only compound until they are unrecoverable.
Created on Oct 8th 2018 08:05. Viewed 544 times.