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2010, so far, has been a very challenging year for Twitter. In the start of the year, many of the important investors like Borthwick reduced down their investment ratios by 52%. The investors backed out because they feel Twitterno longer provides a good platform for mass marketing (MacMillan).
Apart from this, Twitteris also loosing the race of winning more active users. Both, the general users and the marketers prefer Facebook and other mediums over Twitter. This has landed Twitterinto great stress, making them question if the strength of their strategies(Porterfield). Twitteralso faces challenges in technology.
The features of other social networks appear to me more appealing to the users. Many have complained that Twitteris not userfriendly, it takes a lot of time for them to understand how to properly utilise all of its features (MacMillan). Till last year, Twitterused to get its applications developed by third parties, while other social networks have in house developers.
However, Twitterthis year announced having their own team of developers. Currently, Twitteris in a fix because of its negligence other social networks seem to have taken over the cyberworld. However, Twitterhas realized that in order to keep its web presence alive they need to boost the element of continous innovations, or they will loose the battle (Mil).
Established in 2006, over the four years Twitter has experienced tremendous growth. 2007 was the year when Twitter’s popularity was at the highest, they did a festival by the name of South by Southwest. When the festival ended, Twitter was receiving up to 60,000 tweets daily (Douglas). As of June 2010, Twitter receives around 65 million tweets each day, including 750 tweets every second (Garrett).
Despite the great performance shown by Twitter, competition threatens the smooth operations of the organization. The walls of Twitter Inc. have become quite weak since the performance scale of Facebook has started going high. Recently, in a survey done by the team of Social Media Examiner, it was found out that marketer preference over Facebook is more compared to Twitter.
Although, the number of marketers present on Twitter is way more than Facebook, still only 20% of them actually updated their statuses daily on Twitter, while the 35% of the marketers are updating daily on Facebook. (Porterfield). The population on Facebook is nine times more than Twitter (Baker).
Moreover, it is analysed that average minute per visitor on Facebook in 2009 is 182 while Twitter visitors only stay for 26 minutes on the website. Another reason of preference of Facebook over Twitter is the design and structure of the website.
Facebook is designed in a manner that it can share content with in the network, while Twitter promotes content sharing outside the network. Marketers also reported that many of their corporate clients are on Facebook which makes it easier for them to approach the right target market (Porterfield).
Apart from Facebook, Twitteris also in competition with Friendsfeed. Freindsfeed offers many features that Twittercurrently does not have for instance, while you can deliever content through Twitteronly in 140 words, freindsfeed allows you to insert textual and flash based content, import blogs, youtube videos, flickr photos and Twitterstreams.
A marketer who wants to market his product through many different types across the web, will definitely choose Freindsfeed over Twitter. Recently, Google has also become a competition for Twitterby introducing their latest feature by the name of Google Buzz.
It allows updates and information to be shared between friends through email accounts. The theme of Google Buzz somewhat resemebles Twitterbut if they play their carrds well they can leave Twitterway behind in this technology (Bosmal).
To win back the competition, Twitterintroduced relevant technoligical changes, starting with launch of a newly designed homepage of Twitter. Before, the users could only post and view text.however, now they can post and display videos, photos, maps and several other similar sream of texts (MacMillan). The new layout specifically targets on making Twitteruser-friendly.
They also introduced points of interest, which will allow people to tell their general location. Using this feature, twitters can actually help to locate any address and go through the posts that have been posted from that particular location. Although, this feature resember the check in feature on Gowalla, Mr. William stated that Twitter intentions are not to duplicate rather to provide the users with more rich content.
Twitter has another useful and interactive feature called annotations that provides a way for people to post other material along with their posts on Twitter. This feature allows the user to post content more than 140 words. @anywhere is allows members to log on to Twitter from any other website that display Twitter icon and this feature is similar to Facebook Connect (Mil).
Twitter has also hired several outside software developers to develop around 250,000 applications using Twitter’s technology. However, Twitter has stepped into competition with many of the developers when it announced that it will be making its own iPhone and BlackBerry applications (MacMillan).
The overall picture for Twitter looks promising. The CEO Evan Williams believes that the design and the third party applications will give an overall boost to Twitter.
Twitter and its social responsibility
In order, to make sure social responsibility standards are achieved Twitter has become an active member of UN Global Compact and fully abide by its rules. However, Twitter cannot completely stop unhealthy activities from happening (Holton). The best example would be of twitters inability to stop spamming and abuse.
It has been observed that 73% of the negativity raised about a brand is from the platform of Twitter (Porterfield). Also, Twitter has proved to be addictive, this has become another reason why it becomes hard to control ugly activities from occurring (Holton).
Lessons from Case
Through this case study, it has become quite obvious that the competition existing in the social media is quiet rigid. Twitter in order, to survive needs to combine their technological innovations with proper marketing tools so as to invite more investors to invest. Currently, Twitter has lost the trust of the marketers. They do not wish to promote their brands through Twitter because of less amount of activity on the social network.
It is hoped, that after the introduction of new features the usage ratio will increase acting as an appealing factor for the marketers and the investors. However, Twitter needs to be a bit careful because for the last four years they have expanded their operations with the help of third party developers, now all of a sudden they are deciding to develop their own cell phone software.
This decision is opening more doors of competition for Twitters as now they don’t only compete with Facebook, Google and other social networking sites but also with iPhone and Blackberry application developers.
Baker, Stephen. Is TwitterWorth a Billion Bucks? 24 September 2009. Web.
Bosmal. Google Buzz is Social Media…Competition for Twitter? 2010. Web.
Douglas, Nick. Twitterblows up at SXSW Conference. 2007. Web.
Garrett, Sean. Big Goals, Big Game, Big Records. 2010. Web.
Holton, Jeffrey. Managing Twitter, social networking with social responsibility. 2008. Web.
MacMillan, Douglas. Twitter’s Redesign Ruffles Some Developers’ Feathers. 2010. Web.
Mil, Claire Cain. TwitterLoses Its Scrappy Start-Up Status. 2010. Web.
Porterfield, Amy. New Study Reveals Facebook Better Than Twitterfor Marketers. 2010. Web.