Twitter Can Save Itself by Behaving More Like YouTube


Twitter has seen better days.  As the company emerges from a rough week in the stock market, some analysts are saying Twitter can save itself and gain a firmer foothold in the market by behaving more like YouTube.

Twitter stock fell a frightening 18 percent this week, after shares were unlocked and long-time stakeholders unloaded a significant proportion of them.   Groupon and Facebook are among other social media monarchs that were subject to the end of stock lock-ups, but neither faced the fall that Twitter did this week.  In fact, Facebook stocks continue to rise, seeing  a 12 percent gain in the last seven days.

It is not as though this real-time, news-generating social media platform is not popular, because it is.  The question is whether Twitter is popular enough to survive in the stock market among top ranking social media royalty that continue to grow and grow.  Twitter is a celebrity hub, constantly making headlines as the virtual soapbox of famous athletes, actors, comedians, and journalists.  When breaking news erupts, Twitter airwaves cast one of the first nets for better or worse.  Worldwide, Twitter has 255 million active users each month.

None of this is enough.  While it seems like Twitter reigns supreme, its most faithful users still represent more of a niche in the ever-expanding reach of the social media marketplace.  Although hundreds of millions of users may seem like a lot, compare the Twitter user base to Facebook and it appears small.  Facebook hosts and boasts 1.28 billion active monthly users and owns some of the internet’s most popular platforms, including Instagram.

The fact that Wall Street has not quite decided yet whether Twitter is big enough to thrive does not mean there are not strategies to harness for the better.  Twitter can save itself by behaving more like YouTube than Facebook, according to Business Insider.

For starters, Twitter has its foundation in user-generated content, just like YouTube. Both platforms thrive on the ability to broadcast information, and content shared across the internet from both platforms are embedded everywhere else on the web. The point of drawing these linkages is to identify a new strategic direction for Twitter to consider that it can save itself by trying to behave less like Facebook and more like YouTube.  Although there is no claim from CEO Dick Costolo or any other Twitter representatives that they are trying to redesign a service that mimics Facebook, some recent changes to the interface seem to suggest otherwise.  User profiles on Twitter now look more similar to Facebook.

Comparing Twitter and Facebook, or even comparing Twitter and YouTube is like comparing apples and oranges.  Nonetheless, investors do not consider that.  If Twitter can master an allure to appeal to new users with its home page and overall interface with a YouTube-like approach, it might intrigue more people to try out (or buy stock in) the service and see that it is not what they think.

The Business Insider report suggests that a revamp to the Twitter homepage could include top Tweets being sent out by the service’s most popular users much like YouTube features some of its top user videos.  This could pull people in based on a topic they find interesting and explore from there.  Tweets could go viral among people that do not use Twitter regularly, or at all.

Put simply, Twitter can consider options to save itself if it looks for ways to leverage what it already has, and what it already has is a platform that, like YouTube, makes broadcasting widely contagious.

By Erica Salcuni

ABC News
Business Insider
The Atlantic


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