When trying to determine the viability of any product, the first two questions oen should ask are “who uses it?” and “what’s it for?” When it comes to Twitter (TWTR) the “what’s it for?” is pretty clear – and for a social media product, promising. Sure, Twitter helps people stay connected, like every other social media product, but it also has the added bonus of helping to spread news quicker than just about any other service. The utility of Twitter, as a tech product, is fantastic, and assures they will have at least a decent amount of longevity.
The “who uses it?” is a little more troubling. If Twitter’s user base was a single person, that person would be young (good), a citizen of a developed country (okay), and technically literate (bad.) That last point is troublesome because to truly grow, Twitter has to be adopted by a wide swath of the world’s population, and not just the most tech-savvy slice of it.
To a person who’s used Twitter for a long time, the idea that it can seem daunting or confusing seems preposterous. But make no mistake, the people running Twitter have recognized this to be exactly the case, admitting after their disappointing earnings report that they need to simplify the platform.
And that means cutting out the jargon. Again, to people already on Twitter, @ replies and hashtags are an essential part of the language. But to the uninitiated, they can be confusing and off-putting. So Twitter’s thinking about phasing them out. And if they want to grow it’s the best thing to do.
To be sure, the functionality of @ replies and hashtags will remain in place, but they will no longer be included in the tweets themselves. What will come out is a cleaner Twitter: one without the quirks its devotees love, but also without the quirks people who don’t use Twitter yet might not understand.
Because for a tech company, the answer of “who uses it?” shouldn’t be “those in the know” it should be “everybody.”
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