Although the number of Twitter users continues to grow year after year, the site’s popularity may soon be in jeopardy. Forbes predicts that the social media platform’s US base will slow in growth in the years to come, and that it will also continue to have trouble monetizing itself. Twitter share prices have also been steadily declining since 2014.
Perhaps it’s too soon to speculate on a bleak future for Twitter, but even the thought of a shutdown raises serious concerns for many businesses. Twitter remains a powerful force for marketers to communicate with consumer bases, so any significant loss in popularity for the platform would be a big blow to the digital advertising world.
Below, a variety of social media experts share their thoughts on the fate of Twitter.
Q: It’s no secret that Twitter is facing monetization challenges. How sad would you be if Twitter suddenly shut down?
Andrea Hofer, Global Social Media Manager at Philips Healthcare: The problem is not so much monetization, but rather user growth. Twitter has a unique ability to facilitate conversation between everyone on a level playing field. That strong base provides a lot of opportunity to find solutions to get people to use Twitter.
Jennifer Forrest, Director of Social Media at DEG Digital: Personally, I wouldn’t necessarily be sad if Twitter suddenly shut down, but I know our media would. Our news cycle is still so reliant on Twitter. Losing Twitter would negatively affect how brands are able to interact with their customers. Social customer service is a huge topic right now because so many people are choosing the quickness and convenience of social media for their customer service experience, and Twitter is still the best platform for brands to communicate 1:1 with customers in real time. Although, I will say that if Twitter ever shut down, I could see Facebook Messenger picking up the slack in terms of social customer service.
Stephen Monaco, Founder of Future Marketing Institute: I’d be very sad if Twitter shut down suddenly. The platform fills an important niche and is awesome for the widespread dissemination of, and consumption of information in near real-time. I’m hopeful a media company will acquire Twitter and introduce innovation.
Joel Comm, Author, speaker, brand influencer: My prediction has remained the same for the past couple years. Twitter stock will continue to slide and the company will get gobbled up by one of the Big 6 major media conglomerates. It’s too enmeshed in our culture to just shut down without being snapped up. 330 million users may pale in comparison to Facebook’s almost 1.94 Billion, but it’s still massive reach that major media would like to have a piece of.
Jason Falls, Founder of Conservation Research Institute: It would be sad, but I don’t think it’s possible. Worst case scenario, some media or tech company buys them for the impressions and user base alone. I’ve said for years Google should buy them. I still think it would make sense. A search/Twitter mash-up with PPC ads and what-not could be interesting for both users and the bottom line.
Josh Steimle, Influence coach, author, CEO of MWI marketing agency: I’d be disappointed, not so much because the platform is all that useful to me (it has become much less useful over the past 12 months, as it mostly seems to be marketers sending automated tweets to each other), but because of the missed potential. It’s still a great platform which has bizarrely failed to go mainstream. Ask anyone who has never used Twitter, or who has used it for 5 minutes and quit, and they’ll say “I don’t get it. I don’t understand how it works.” People understand how Facebook works without any training. Ditto for Instagram. That’s Twitter’s problem, always has been, and it’s amazing to me that they haven’t figured this out after all these years.
Drew Neisser, CEO of NYC-based Renegade LLC: I would shed a tear if not 140 of them. I love Twitter for its raw, in-the-moment noticeability. I would miss the bursts of dopamine gained each time I checked my Notifications feed.
Q: What would you say at Twitter’s funeral?
Brian Moran, entrepreneurial consultant: Why didn’t you figure out a way to charge me $9.99/month like LinkedIn or Hootsuite? I will gladly pay Twitter to use their platform. They need to create features that I will actually use though.
Forrest: I’m not sure what I would say at Twitter’s funeral, exactly, but I would keep it to 140 characters out of respect.
Monaco: “Farewell, old friend. You were poorly managed and that wasn’t your fault. I could have saved you!”
Comm: IF Twitter suddenly shut down I would certainly be sad. I’d say “Jack giveth, Jack taketh away.”
Falls: “Thanks for falsely inflating the egos of average people who should never be able to say that many people follow them anywhere. Including me. Heh.”
Steimle: “Twitter, we can’t say we hardly knew ye, but apparently, ye hardly knew us.”
Neisser: “Farewell, my tweet. You were the tweetest escape from an otherwise incomprehensible #reality. None shall ever replicate your tweetness. #RIP”
Twitter has a lot of tidying up to do if it wants to stay on par with Facebook and other competing social media outlets. While we probably won’t be attending Twitter’s funeral any time soon, rest assured that there will be plenty of mourners if and when a shutdown does occur. Unfortunately, though, they will have to pay their respects from some other platform.