Dear Twitter, Let Me Fix This For You

on Thursday, Nov. 13th

Twitter is going through another existential crisis, apparently. This week it is having trouble defining its overall strategy, creating this word soup:

Reach the largest daily audience in the world by connecting everyone to their world via our information sharing and distribution platform products and be one of the top revenue generating Internet companies in the world.

Which Jon Gruber handily points out is 220 characters, longer than a tweet.

Really, guys?

So I decided to take a stab at it:

To provide an indispensable service the whole world uses to discuss what matters most.

Which I admit is a little more “mission statement” than it is strategy statement, but it sure as hell lays out what it is they are supposed to be doing.

I even fit the word “world” in there, which they really, really, really seem to like. Best of all: when I tweeted this I had enough room left over for an at-mention (@dickc) and a hashtag (#betterstrategystatement).

Which is just showing off, I know, but I get paid way less than their consultants and executives do so I feel like I’ve earned the right to be flashy.

What I’ve proposed is still properly vague and arrogant, but it’s the kind of vague, arrogant statement I can get behind. One that even justifies a little sloppiness on the whole “clamping down on harassment” front because “the whole world” also includes trolls and assholes. Much as we’d like to think otherwise they are people too. Except Weev, I think he’s a robot. Or one of those 5th dimensional imps that are always harassing Justice League members.

The question on the table is: how would this help them know how to make money?

That’s fair. After all, I don’t bring up revenue in the 86 characters (#humblebrag) that I’ve allotted myself here. I certainly haven’t paused to promise that Twitter will be “one of the top revenue generating Internet companies in the world”.

Or have I?

“Indispensable” is a strong word, one I needed to use spell check on, even.

What would you pay for something that you found indispensable? Like, say, water? Electricity? Food?

That’s what Twitter has to be, or it can be crumpled up and thrown away. Every attempt to make it more like Facebook or Tumblr just makes the case that we should be using Facebook or Tumblr.

Twitter needs to work on being a better communication tool for its users. Whether that is better filtering on harassment, or establishing a “what you’ve missed” view that doesn’t replace the timeline is up for debate. What isn’t is the vital role that Twitter has shown it can play in spreading news and galvanizing social change.

If they lose sight of that, they might as well cash out now.


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