Wednesday, February 10, 2016

News You Can't Use: Twitter User Growth Comes to a Halt

I'm all about that tiny blue bird and, honestly, who could blame me? The opportunity to participate in an online bathroom wall is not something any sane person would pass on and let's be honest, any idea that can't be communicated in 140 characters isn't worth considering. And the entertainment! Hashtag games! Celebrities committing thought crime and getting slapped down after the pathetic apologizes. Jokes based on misinterpreting the lyrics of thirty-year-old Sir Mix-a-lot songs. You know what, maybe the imminent death of this thing isn't the worst news I've ever heard, although there's no way I'm giving up my "followers," many of whom might be actual human beings, at least in the loosest possible definition.

When Jack Dorsey returned last year as chief executive of Twitter, the social media company he co-founded, he had a mandate: Right a sinking ship.

Get in there and just fix everything! Never mind the details, I'm a vision person. I'm sure you'll think of something. Maybe gutting the "direct message" function? Changing "favorites" to something easier for the mush-minds to comprehend? Tiny lightning bolts that call to mind nazi atrocities? Yep, you've got many great ideas. Right that ship, son. Aw, yeah.

Since then, Mr. Dorsey, 39, has laid off employees and deep-sixed an expansion of its headquarters in San Francisco.

I love the changes you made, Mr. Dorsey! What, I'm fired? Well, this gravy train wasn't gonna last, I understand. Can you set me up with a position in some non-profit?

He has appointed new executives and shaken up the company’s board. And when it comes to making changes to Twitter’s core product, nothing is sacred.

Wow, this guy must be twenty feet tall and made of solid steel.

But change is not coming fast enough.

We've been hearing that a lot since 2008.

On Wednesday, after many quarters of slowing user growth, Twitter said its monthly visitors in the fourth quarter totaled 320 million — exactly the same as the company reported in the previous quarter.

Despite this stagnation I'm still offered lots of exciting chances to "buy followers" and participate in other allied scams, so half-full, am I right?

While the number was up 9 percent from a year ago, when monthly active users stood at 288 million, the figures showed that Mr. Dorsey’s moves had made little impact in attracting new users.

Maybe you didn't fire enough people? That must be it.

I made this cool Venn diagram. 100k a year plus portfolio sounds reasonable.

As user growth has decelerated, the pressure for Twitter to show that it can appeal to the public at large has been intensified by the specter of Facebook, which, at 1.59 billion users, is five times the size of Twitter. 

Yeah, but think of all the eggs, cam whores and con artists that aren't on there because the rules make it hard for them. Won't someone think of the shills and scum? 

“In the face of continuing pressure to add users and not a lot of movement, can they shift the attention somewhere else?”

Hey, look behind you! No, really! If you don't turn around right now something horrible will happen!

Shares of Twitter have been pummeled over the last year, dropping around 67 percent. The stock fell in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

Nice to see a good old fashioned tech bubble in today's day and age. I feel absolutely wistful.

But Twitter’s outlook was lower than projected by Wall Street. The company estimated revenue of $595 million to $610 million in the current quarter, compared with Wall Street expectations of $628 million.

When the nation debt is 20 trillion numbers like this are met with a bored stone-face.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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