Everyone shaded Twitter when it first appeared. It was perceived as a fringe microblogging platform. “Techies posting about their breakfast,” they hissed. Now, it’s a mega-force in the mainstream. Haters stay pressed.
Any technological success we see these days, however, face the same problem once it’s successful. It’s free. That’s why Twitter’s API change was so controversial. As if the losing drag queen in a ballroom competition, developers raged.
The tears tasted delicious because Twitter’s profitability problem needed to be addressed. Their motive was more about empowering ad revenue than quality control. Eyebrows were also raised when the “Discover” tool and the paid service for promoted tweets, hashtags and topics were introduced.
This week, Myspace’s Peter Chernin was placed onto the board of directors. One banjee boy in Silicon Valley literally reads him to filth. Dalton Caldwell spills the industry tea and, honey, it is marvelous. He subtly disses Chernin’s previous work as a big part of why Myspace failed. Caldwell also alleges that recent changes at Twitter mirrors what happened to Myspace, dissecting Chernin’s (FIRST EVER) tweet as evidence of the direction Twitter is headed.
“How is Twitter going to pull off their mid-flight pivot, which entails largely redefining what Twitter actually is, not to mention how most people are supposed to use it? Peter Chernin’s announcement shows us the future of Twitter: a media company optimized for mostly passive users interested in a media and entertainment filter.”
Twitter doesn’t know if its business model should be a media channel for brands and agencies to advertise on (See: Myspace Failure) versus keeping it as a two-way communication tool with an algorithmically unfiltered newsfeed quite unfriendly to paid reach.
Please note: Twitter’s success was built on the countless user mentions, retweets, and hashtags which drove traffic and created headlines. Think of #Occupy and #ArabSpring.
Beholden to corporate interests, Twitter believes this will drive revenue and keep it alive. The real dilemma? The revenue model “rescuing” your company is diametrically opposed to the user experience that made it so successful in the first place. Financial success or Myspace-like failure? It’s going down like Donkey Kong. Stayed tuned as the drama unfolds.