Twitter has been through many hardships in its 15 years of existence, during which Jack Dorsey has donned the CEO hat on several occasions. A period passed after the resignation of the iconic leader, which occurred this week. The latter will be replaced by the former technical director of the social network, Parag Agrawal.
Twitter, founded in July 2006 from short-lived podcast aggregation company Odeo by Evan Williams and Biz Stone, has more than two billion monthly users. It has become the pulse of the Internet and social media, where the latest news and statements by popular characters are broadcast to its hundreds of millions of followers. Unlike its rival platform Facebook, the functionality of Twitter has remained more or less static, being mainly a platform to spread short messages and links.
Jack Dorsey had been criticized for some time for a lack of innovation on the platform. There has been no noticeable new product development, and many of the products and features released over the past five years have been canceled or phased out.
A scheduled departure
The company also posted poor financial performance. The CEO of Square (recently renamed Block) and Twitter at the same time, Jack Dorsey has been heavily involved in philanthropic activities and has been very active in the field of cryptocurrencies. A busy schedule that didn’t allow him to give Twitter shareholders and employees the time and attention they deserved.
Enough to push activist investor groups like Elliot Management to find him a successor for more than a year. This is done with the appointment of technical director Parag Agrawal as president of the social network. The latter is more of an insider, having been a CTO, and the big question then is: can he make the disruptive change that Twitter needs to grow as a business?
Twitter’s stock fell when the company announced the replacement of Jack Dorsey; Therefore, Wall Street has not been very satisfied so far. But don’t pay too much attention to this early indicator: Other tech companies have been successful in promoting insiders to CEOs, like Microsoft with Satya Nadella. And the latter was primarily a technologist. Arguably the most successful CEO in company history, he became a cloud giant and revitalized other aspects of his business.
Will Nadella from Twitter?
So can Parag Agrawal be Twitter’s Satya Nadella? It remains to be seen. But we certainly must give him that opportunity, and he has a lot of work ahead of him.
After experiencing many false starts in its ability to expand its capabilities, Twitter is gradually increasing its offerings beyond its simple free service and ad revenue. Twitter Blue, which costs $ 3 per user per month, was recently launched and appears to be a more common offering.
I recently signed up for Twitter Blue. The offering provides users with various enhancements such as custom icons, tweet bookmarks, top article lists, ad-free articles, and a “reader” to make tweet storms and long discussion threads easier to read. However, its most valuable function is “Undo”, and it is not really the “change” that everyone wants. Instead, it delays sending your tweet up to 60 seconds so you can make changes before it’s sent.
Twitter Blue is a good start. Ultimately, Twitter needs to improve when it comes to monetization, especially for creators. A year ago, the company acquired Revue, an email newsletter service similar to the features of Hubspot’s competition, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp. Review allows you to drag and drop your Twitter and other social media content as well as your web content into a mail UX and send it to a subscriber list, which you can then import with various third-party integrations. While Twitter has integrated Mailchimp, it has yet to list HubSpot and a few other big names. You can include Revue newsletters on your Twitter profile, but there is currently no way for them to easily appear on your Twitter account.
Twitter “Spaces” is also new: it is a live audio chat service integrated into the official mobile client. Similar to Clubhouse, it allows a maximum of 13 people to have a real-time conference call, with up to thousands of people as listeners at once.
So far, there is no way to monetize these conferences. There is also no main calendar for these chats to be discovered: you simply indicate in your Twitter thread that you will be organizing a conference at a certain time (which the creator can schedule in advance). When you start one, your followers will see on your news feed that they can join it. It’s very ad hoc at this point, and discovering these spaces from an informational or informational perspective, at least compared to how Clubhouse does it, is not well implemented at the moment.
Ultimately, for Twitter to thrive, you need to integrate all of these features and services into your APIs and then allow third-party services and platforms to fully access them. This is not the case today; not all API functions are fully implemented for public use. Furthermore, most companies and organizations that use Twitter do not necessarily use the official Twitter website or clients; They use social media management platforms like Hubspot and Hootsuite, which can consolidate multiple social media accounts and provide analytics and other functionality for integrated digital marketing campaigns.
All of these challenges – increasing monetization capabilities for creators, launching new value-added services, making their APIs more accessible, and removing platform toxicity – will be major hurdles for the new CEO of the company to overcome. Can Twitter break out of its shell with Parag Agrawal and become a trusted core technology provider for the next generation of the internet?
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