Commentary

Twitter Tempts Average Users By Opening 'Moments'

In its latest stab at mass-market relevance, Twitter plans to give regular users the power to make their own Moments.

Set for a gradual rollout on Twitter’s mobile apps, the change means that any Joe or Jane will soon be able to publish collections of tweets about certain subjects -- until now a privilege reserved for Twitter’s own editors.

The move’s obvious benefits include scaling Moments, and giving regular folks a greater sense of control over the social network.

Unfortunately, the change is also likely to muddy a feature that was originally meant to simplify Twitter, and present content in a more easily digestible and refined format.

The news comes as several potential suitors, including  Salesforce.com, Google, and Disney, are said to be eyeing Twitter.

Twitter has not commented on related reports, but admirers have been openly expressing their affections directly on its platform.

“I have tweeted my personal views regarding ‘Why Twitter?’ numerous times over the past couple of years,” Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist at Salesforce.com, tweeted last week. “I simply love Twitter.” 

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Despite its best efforts -- which included bringing back co-founder Jack Dorsey as CEO last year -- Twitter continues to struggle.

Recently, data emerged showing that ad agencies are increasingly bypassing the platform in favor other social networks -- Instagram especially.

That might explain why Twitter recently slashed its second-quarter revenue guidance to $590 million from $610 million -- nowhere near analyst expectations of $678 million.

eMarketer recently released a forecast suggesting that Snapchat will overtake Twitter in terms of domestic users, before the end of the year. More broadly, Twitter has seen few successes since its IPO in 2013. Rather than right its ship, Dorsey has seen Twitter’s stock sink since his return last October.  

As evidenced by the company's sorry stock price, investors don’t seem to be impressed by Dorsey’s direction, from Twitter’s first hardware investment to plans to give up its defining 140-character limit.

Among other persistent problems, Twitter remains unable to explain its core purpose to average users.

“Those who use Twitter do so because they know exactly what Twitter is for and why it’s important in their lives,” Leslie Berland, Twitter’s CMO, noted in a recent blog post.

Among the many people that don’t use the network, “most didn’t know or simply misunderstood what Twitter was for,” Berland admitted. “Many thought of Twitter primarily as a social network, a place to find and connect with friends and family members.

“Second, they thought if they wanted to use Twitter, they were ‘supposed to tweet every day’ and didn’t think they would have that much to say,” Berland added. Her team recently sought to clear up the confusion with another marketing push.

“We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do,” she admitted.

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