We could spend all day analyzing Twitter’s problems. It is a group of progressive programmers in California seeking to control and regulate human behavior on a platform that inherently brings out the worst in people. It’s a place where free speech purists are confronting the ugliness of humanity and having to make tough decisions. But none of those are really why Twitter is a garbage platform.
The reason Twitter is actually a garbage platform is because you are the product being sold and there are no buyers for you.
Twitter makes money off advertising. It actually managed to squeeze out a bit of a profit in early 2018. But it really is not competitive in the ad space. “Twitter carries about 1.2 percent of the market,” according to the Washington Post. It’s profit rose midyear, but its user count is declining.
As a result, Twitter is cutting back on third party APIs and degrading the abilities of third party apps. I suspect they are doing so because of ad penetration. They need ways for advertisements to penetrate more thoroughly. So they’re going to take a platform full of trolls from which people are already starting to walk away and they’re going to insert more advertising from which you cannot escape if you stay.
That’s going to have to be their solution.
It will make an already bad user experience even worse. All this talk about injecting ideologically different people into your twitter feeds will also be used to inject ads into your feed.
But advertisers are finding out that Twitter generates no return on investment. I have experienced that myself over several Twitter ad buys. The same ads on Facebook and Instagram generate clicks and buys, but not on Twitter. Social media ad buyers across the globe are talking more and more openly about this. Twitter does not generate a good return on advertising.
Twitter wanted to be a free speech platform where people could interact and the good high-minded progressives thought the best of humanity when they built it only to realize people are sinners. They’ve had to go back through and tinker over time to try to filter things. But they are now forced to think about monetization.
That’s going to make an already garbage place even more hot garbage.