Remember MySpace? Five years ago, it topped the hierarchy of social media. Today, it’s like a shipwreck on the beach — Doesn’t really go away, just gets more and more shipwrecked. And that’s keeping the analogy pretty tame, at a point when far worse has been said of MySpace.
Worse has been said of Twitter too, for that matter. And not without reason. After six years of stagnation, everything Twitter brings to the table, other platforms are doing bigger and better.
- Long post? – Not with Twitter’s 140-character limit. Facebook and Google+ now let users post literally thousands of words.
- Short post? — Google+ can put your update up in the first few Google Search results. Twitter, on the other hand, doesn’t own a search engine.
- Sharing a link? — Twitter puts out a shortened URL — the ideal vehicle for spam, by the way. Meanwhile, Facebook and Google+ present user context, a hyperlinked headline, brief text preview of the linked page’s content, and often an image as well.
- Sharing a photo? — On Twitter? #headsmack! Photo-sharing platforms like Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. — they all do it better. Even Facebook and Google+ will show the shared photo right there in the post.
So that’s Twitter’s brand story in today’s social media landscape: Everything Twitter does, other platforms do better.
Plain and simple, social media have advanced while Twitter continues to fail-whale through such underachieving functionality that its own industry has passed it by. And what happens when all your major competitors out-perform and out-innovate your business model? Hollywood Video. That’s what happens.
Today, Facebook’s user base is nearly three times the size of Twitter’s — makes a pretty clear statement.
And with Facebook and Google combined valuations up around $200 billion, Twitter has neither the functionality, the culture of innovation, or the financial heft to compete. Overpowered at the bank and in the platform functionality arms race doesn’t add up to good market position for Twitter. It doesn’t even add up to remotely decent market position for Twitter.
So, back to that MySpace example — Five years from now, Twitter stands to be about as relevant as MySpace is today. Now, I’m not criticizing anybody for using Twitter — I just don’t see that it brings much to the social media landscape at this point. And I don’t see that cheery, old fail whale treading water much longer.