#TwitterIsOverParty

By: Olivia Determan @oliviadeterman

I don’t know if you noticed, but Twitter hasn’t been doing so hot this past couple of years. Your first clue was when Twitter decided to close Vine. Lots of users were confused and upset that their favorite 6-second pastime was shutting down, and a lot didn’t understand why. The reason? It wasn’t making any money. Other platforms, like Snapchat, were dominating the niche market and left Vine in the dust. Twitter nixed it in order to cut costs. With Twitter stock dropping to an all-time low of $14 back in 2016,  the company was at risk of bankruptcy. I know what you’re thinking, how could a popular social media site be on the verge of bankruptcy? The answer: 8th-year syndrome.

The 8th year syndrome is a fear that all successful startup companies face one way or another. Imagine being an innovative new site, the first in your market, with tons of online traffic and popularity. Now imagine that eight years have passed and your site is no longer as innovative and trendy as it was eight years ago, will you evolve or fall flat and succumb to the “8th-year death sentence”? It’s a choice and a fine line to walk, and not every company is up to the task.

Other companies that have faced 8th-year syndrome: Yahoo, Myspace, and AOL. All three are still in existence today, but all three have fallen from the spotlight and have become irrelevant, overtaken by Facebook and Google. It’s a very common tale.

For Twitter, it still struggles to be different and not become obsolete. With the ever strict limit of only 140 characters and the recent cut of Vine, the odds for survival do not seem in its favor. Even our guest speaker this week, Kent Lewis, said: “I don’t care about Twitter anymore.” Kent is the President of Anvil Media and Founder of PDX MindShare. If he is coming to our class and telling us that Twitter is over, he is probably right.

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But, we’ve made it to 2017 and Twitter is still standing and the stock has raised to almost $16. The company is slowly making its way back up. The reason? Well, in my opinion, it’s due to the presidential election and all of the controversy coming from Donald Trump, but that is a story for another time. Twitter still has yet to prove what else it is to get rid of and what features it plans to add, if any, to keep the company in business and relevant. If the executives at Twitter asked me, I would say they needed to work on trying to add smell-o-vision. It would be a nice addition to all of the Tasty videos we watch.

What’s your take on Twitter’s scare of bankruptcy and falling victim to the 8th year syndrome? Let me know in the comments below!

This Article Has 13 Comments
  1. Erin Petit says:

    Olivia,

    Thank you for writing this post. I feel like I’m just starting to get the hang of Twitter, and now it’s almost over! Still, when people think about social media, Twitter is one of the big four that comes up (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat). Do you think that will change in the next few years?

    I think one of the reasons for Twitter’s rocky reputation is its mysterious niche. Facebook and Instagram are for everyone, but why do people use Twitter? High school students use it to retweet memes and jokes, but professionals use Twitter to share information and network. Does that make Twitter versatile or flaky? I guess we’ll find out in the next few years.

  2. Jon Fisher says:

    Really interesting post Olivia! I personally think that Twitter is failing because it has lost the social component. A lot of my friends use Twitter to get their news and that’s it. I don’t get excited to read text updates from friends. I’d rather see pictures of cool stuff their doing (Instagram) or watch funny videos about things going on in their day (Snapchat). Without a visual component, I’m not interested. That’s where cutting Vine hurt Twitter the most.

    Social media is also transitioning to story based posts and live features. Following Snapchat’s lead, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories and Facebook has created Facebook Live. When a new trend catches on, you better adapt or risk getting left behind. And by failing to innovate and stay relevant with the other social media platforms, Twitter offers no competitive advantage and has lost its appeal in the eyes of many users.

  3. McKenzie Edgar says:

    I have never been a fan of Twitter. I am honestly hoping it goes away like Myspace did. Is that bad to say? Even in high school I had no interest and my friends made me create one. Content moves way too fast one Twitter and I find that to be frustrating. I wish businesses would stop going towards Twitter and just focus on the visual platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. I see Twitter as a platform for high school students and for parents. I do enjoy our class Twitter feed though, it is always interesting to read. I’ve never heard of the “8th-year death sentence” before but I can see how it would impact companies such as Twitter. All companies struggle with finding a way to stay relevant and on top of the trends. Great post Olivia.

  4. Katy Edgington says:

    When Facebook went public and saw huge success, I struggled to see how Twitter couldn’t manage to follow suit. I think it’s still such a popular and relevant channel. Twitter is where I catch most of my news headlines (eg. #TaylorSwiftExposedParty), and I know plenty of my friends would say the same. It will definitely be interesting to see if the 8th year death sentence will come for Twitter, or if they’ll be able to make some smarter business moves to turn their situation around. I’m not ready for the #TwitterIsOverParty yet.

  5. Mark Kellman says:

    Olivia:

    Twitter is the ultimate frienemy: I love it and hate at the same time. It’s a great platform for distributing content instantly, but its reach is limited and it can be overwhelming. The two most active groups of people on Twitter are journalists and celebrities/influencers. Almost everyone I follow is a journalist and it is a quick way for me to get caught up with what is happening in the world. I am finding it increasingly common that people are not using Twitter at all anymore because it got boring or became too much to handle. This platform built itself with little room to grow, the only attraction is a live timeline of everyone you follow.

    I think Twitter should go the way of the Washington Post. Get bought out by some billionaire who views it more as a public service than anything else. I don’t know how much Twitter can grow anymore, but it deserves a long shelf life because there are people who rely on it for instant information and updates.

  6. Karalyn Arnett says:

    Very thought provoking post! I feel like when I was in high school I didn’t really care about Twitter, but now after having to live tweet multiple classes in college my interest in Twitter has increased. I am told in my journalism classes over and over that Twitter is important to keep professional and for keeping in contact with other professionals.

    I think users have transitioned from using Twitter as a social platform to a platform they use to stay updated with political updates, breaking news, and national events happening. The use of hashtags makes it easier for users to track this and that is Twitters most popular feature. I look forward to seeing if Twitter sinks or swims.

  7. Jennifer Kinsman says:

    Hey Olivia!

    I think that Twitter has the opportunity to be the most powerful social media platform for businesses and public figures. I agree with you that Twitter does its job and hasn’t presented anything new recently, but I think that it will not go obsolete. Take the Oscars last night for example. After the mess-up with the best picture award, I went straight to Twitter to see how people were reacting. I noticed that brands, like Miss Universe and Refinery 29, jumped on Twitter right away to comment. But why? Twitter is a useful tool for brands to stay relevant and get their name out there. I think that Twitter has great updates that have made the platform the most powerful out of the popular platforms. But with recent events happening in the world, who knows what the future will hold.

  8. Evan Tanaka @evan_saysit says:

    Great insight! The 8th year syndrome is something to obviously well aware of but I think the biggest issue for Twitter is that it still doesn’t realize what it is! I wen to visit Twitter HQ in SF and even asking the employees there, they will tell you everyone will have a different answer and they pride themselves on that. But it may be hurting them when it comes to generating revenue. Facebook and SnapChat are flourishing because they have learned to monetize the platform, Twitter on the other hand has a ways to go to figure out a way to bring a steady stream of not only hashtags, but cash!

  9. Jennifer Kim says:

    Olivia,

    I definitely agree that Twitter is becoming less popular compared to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Out of the four, I would say I’m the least active on Twitter. Most of my friends have either deactivated their Twitter or just don’t use it at all. The only reason I still keep Twitter around is for class and to get news. With Trump in office, I definitely feel like his tweets are bringing attention back to Twitter. A few of my friends have activated their Twitter accounts again to keep up with the presidential election and other political matters, which I think was a good idea because they would be notified once Trump or Clinton tweets something.

    Would I care if Twitter went down the same road as Vine? Probably yes. I use Instagram to post pictures, Facebook for conversations with friends and family, and Snapchat to post selfies with cute filters. But where could I complain about the never-ending list of things I have to do?! I could only resort to Twitter for that. Plus, I could spend days going through the gifs on Twitter.

  10. Kelly O'Shaughnessy says:

    There are already quite a few comments on this post but I think this is a really interesting topic! During a recent trip to one of twitter’s office, my cohort had the opportunity to speak with some of the people living through this company’s unease on a day to day basis. One thing that really struck me was that as of Spring 2016, they had only created a marketing department a few months earlier. With this knowledge it no longer surprises me that teitter has a bit of an identity crisis. Because there was no external, or internal, voice attempting to shape the conversation around twitters use/purpose, the platform/company/brand? never fully established their place in the market.

    They have also struggled with monetization. With relatively few revenue streams, it is hardly a surprise that Twitter is struggling to maintain its large staff and expensive office space, much less find room for growth.

  11. Justin Goettsch says:

    What an interesting idea. Is “8-year syndrome” a thing or is this an Olivia original? I imagine eight is a subjective number although I am new to this tech-savvy environment, eight years seems like a long time for innovative ideas. Don’t a lot of them peter out faster than that? It does seem like Twitter is refusing to adapt which will not serve it well in this environment. Lastly, smell-o-vision is a horrible idea. I am glad you aren’t on the Twitter imaginative team 🙂

  12. Desiree Dahlson says:

    Nice post! I totally agree that Twitter could be on its last leg, but the thought of that makes me sad. Yes, content moves fast, meaning it’s easy to miss a tweet because it will be lost in your feed in just a few minutes (or seconds depending on who you follow!) That’s why I love the “In Case Yoy Missed It” feature that recaps tweets Twitter thinks you will find interesting.

    Furthermore, Twitter allows for humor that other social media platforms do not, and that’s what keeps me coming back. On the other hand, it is so handy to tweet links to different things like articles on Twitter, so I get a lot of my news through Twitter as well as keep up to date on the PR industry through PR accounts I follow.

    Because of all of this, I really hope Twitter doesn’t join the likes of Vine! I think your point about the presidential election saving Twitter is well made. President Trump’s use of Twitter may also save he platform as it seems Twitter is one of the only ways to learn what the prez actually thinks. His PR team has a lot on their hands…

  13. Jeff Lockie says:

    Enjoyed the post and have to admit, unfortunately, that I agree that Twitter’s future does not look bright. Against all the ways that users are falling off and Twitter struggles to gain content, I do not see a path in which Twitter ever becomes profitable. Much like the controversy regarding Snapchat’s recent IPO, how do these sites make money??? By incorporating ads every couple Tweets is not going to cut it, and Twitter must discover where a true source of revenue comes from.

    Today we consistently value these new social media companies as the next multi billion dollar Facebook, yet none of these new companies have any plan or direction on how they will make a return. Facebook has been a front runner in uncovering ways to create revenue through investment, acquisitions, and ad platforms, while companies such as Twitter are still stuck on ground zero. While Twitter attempts to grasp at straws by doing such thing as streaming NFL Thursday games, I do not see any sustainable path towards Twitters revival. The platform has no clear monetary stream, and I do not see a clear direction to make a return for stockholders.

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