I’m writing to you as one of your biggest fans, who truly cares about you, your platform and your future. You see, we are deeply connected and my integrated digital marketing success depends on your success, so I wanted to tell you some things that frankly, you need to hear.
I realize that you are a business now, not just some fun idea that raised a ton of money and made you famous. I think it’s awesome that you are growing up, albeit by force, and I believe it is time. So here are some things I want to talk to you about.
Ask And Listen:
One of the incredible things about growing up is that most of us begin to listen to people who might actually know something about life, rather than forging ahead on crazy things we think we already know everything about. Maturity is displayed in wisdom and often it’s not our own wisdom, but wisdom that comes from those that care about us the most, people who are intimately familiar with our strengths and weaknesses. We should seek people who understand us better than we know ourselves and will selflessly tell us things we really need to hear. I am going to do that for you today and it is my sincere hope that you have matured enough to not only hear, but listen…
I would really like to see you reaching out to some of your heavy users and advocates that are NOT celebrities or huge corporations, in order to get some boots on the ground insight into your own platform. There are a lot of people like myself who are heavily invested in your platform on a daily basis and have a lot to say about how to make the platform more effective for you as a business and for those that use it. If you stop listening to social media celebrities, big brands and some of your board members and get input from those of us that have a realistic perspective, the insights you will gain will help transform you into a more effective social platform and more importantly a profitable business.
Develop Things We Need/Want:
If I have not offended you so far my dearest Twitter and you are still reading, it may continue to get more difficult for you from here. However, if you are opening up to the idea I outlined in my previous section above, this next section is something you can consider tough love.
We have watched you and your legions of coders continue to develop new features and capabilities, all the while we scratch our heads and wonder if you really understand the vast majority of your users and how we use your platform. The latest leak that seems to point to your potential removing of the 140 character Tweet limit has galvanized my belief that you really don’t. You have always been unique, short and provided brevity where other platforms drone on, yet you think it would be great to change this?
There are so many other things your platform badly needs developed or improved, yet you seem to be grasping at straws in hopes that some quick-fix magic change will solve your problems. I can assure you, it will not.
We all know you have millions of users and receive high praise and mentions on the news and with every Hollywood celebrity, but without critical mass, you will not be able to compete with Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn for revenue. Without critical mass, brands and marketers will not be able to easily get results, did you know this?
If you understood social networking, you would realize that simplicity is what the masses need. If new users are going to add Twitter to their daily online activity, at rates you need them to, you’re going to have to make it easier for them to on-board and use your platform, seamlessly becoming part of their routine.
I could go on about the numerous changes and developments that should have your attention, but without a commitment on your part to actually listen to the things you must do to compete and build upon revenue, I guess we are at a stand-still in our relationship.
Make Tough Decisions
I saw that you have taken the bold step to fire hundreds of your staff members, in what can only be described as a cost cutting attempt to improve your financials. Business requires tough decisions sometimes and I get that, however I believe you may have fired the wrong team members. Getting rid of staff that are executing failed strategies, rather than the leadership that gave them the failed strategies to execute is a part of your misguided problem.
Now I realize that cost cutting in difficult times is important and should be conducted as a part of prudent business management, but there are several other tough decisions that you probably need to make. Here are just three of many I could discuss with you…
To Algorithm Or Not To Algorithm – It may be time to consider some kind of newsfeed algorithm, similar to all other successful social networks. As a heavy user, this is NOT something I want to see, but I promised I would be selfless, so maybe it is time. This is a tough decision that needs serious consideration based on data. We all know you are not short on that. I think you need to use your data to figure out a clever way to make your newsfeed more strategic, rather than simply linear.
Acquisitions – Stop all acquisitions of new companies. It is very clear that most of the technology and/or companies you have purchased did not add value to your platform, its users, or your bottom line revenue. Furthermore, it seems every decision you make on the acquisition front is followed by a competitor in the direct competing space out executing you. Stop throwing money away and start innovating yourself.
Segmentation – Every other successful social network has two specific things that you are lacking. 1) segmentation of individual and business. 2) very specific location functions. These are two badly needed components that you need to flesh out and implement within your system that will begin to make you ad platform more appealing. Beyond the user and business advantages, this is where your revenue will be coming from in the future. The longer you wait to improve these segmentation components, the longer you will continue to struggle.
In closing, I want to reiterate my love and affection for you Twitter. I am not looking to break up with you, I am simply attempting to conduct an intervention with a platform I care about. Your addiction to cowboy leadership, mistakes and clear lack of understanding of key users needed some tough love and I hope you take a moment to stop, listen and consider changing the direction of your company before it is too late.
P.S. If we are still friends at this point, I would love to take this discussion offline and talk further. Myself and many others I know and respect in this industry could be incredible allies who can help you make your future much brighter. I think you probably know how to reach me.