Is Twitter failing by not using Trump to its advantage?
The demise of Twitter has long been talked about. Even before Jack Dorsey returned to take charge of the company he helped create, the writing seemed to be on the wall for a company once seen as a challenger to Facebook and Google.
Since Dorsey returned Twitter’s already sinking stock price has dropped another 54%. On the back of its latest set of results, announced last Thursday, Twitter’s stock price fell through the floor as the company once again missed on revenue.
Through all this misery however there has been one shining light, one source of optimism among all the hate speech, eggs and trolls.
And that was The Donald.
It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country. Obstruction by Democrats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
In fact in the time since Trump won the presidency, Twitter’s user numbers in the U.S. have been flat, and while that is certainly better than losing users — as it did this time last year — it’s hardly what you would call a rally.
Dorsey returned in June 2015 with grand plans to shake up the platform, launch more innovative products and bring life back to a failing product. While there has been some innovation — it recently signed a deal to live stream NFL games — and it has tried to limit the impact of the trolls, for the most part Twitter has stagnated for the last 18 months during Dorsey’s reign.
While Donald Trump is not going to single-handedly revive Twitter, we can tell a lot about the company from the fact that it has failed to take advantage of its most famous user.
Every morning without fail, Trump wakes and his first thought is to Twitter. The world — well, journalists at least — are constantly refreshing their feeds just to see what the leader of the free world has to say this morning. Will he undermine the validity of the judiciary again? Will he anger another foreign country? Will he try to use his 24 million+ followers to advertise his daughter’s fashion label?
Who knows, but what is for certain is that whatever Trump says, people will listen and react.
Twitter should be building entire ad campaigns around Trump. They should be leveraging his polarizing nature to attract users on both sides of the political divide. “Twitter: Where Trump tells you his inner most thoughts" or “Twitter: Where you can to tell Trump what you really think of him.”
The fact Twitter has failed to take advantage of having the world’s most famous person using its platform as a megaphone is symptomatic of a much bigger problem at the company.
Twitter is not user friendly. For the media who write about Twitter, it is difficult to understand, given that for many of them, every tweet is met with dozens of retweets, likes and responses. They are not simply shouting into the void.
For the vast majority of people however, this is exactly what they are doing. Tweet as a new user with no followers and no matter how witty or insightful your comment is, it will be seen by no one, and will be lost to the mists of time forever.
On Facebook, algorithms makes sure your voice is heard — for better or worse — while Snapchat offers instant engagement and reaction.
Twitter for new users can be a daunting place and for many it is simply a tool to check in on what celebrities are saying. There is no engagement with the product and it is telling that Twitter will not reveal its daily active users figure.
The future of Twitter is uncertain. As its stock price dwindles it becomes a bigger target for acquisition, but as the trolls continue to proliferate and Donald Trump — arguably the biggest troll of all — fails to attract new users, who would really want to buy it?