Twitter is in the midst of a months-long struggle to figure out a way to grow its user base. The eight-year old company has 241 million users, but user growth is essentially stagnant.
CEO Dick Costolo is employing a range of brave experiments that could redesign the entire Twitter experience — from killing the “retweet” function (or at least renaming it) to making the signup process super simple and easy.
Twitter’s user-base problem is serious: Up to 1 billion people have tried Twitter and bailed on the service. Yet Costolo has told investors, “I am not going to be satisfied until we reach every connected user on the planet, period.”
Deutsche Bank surveyed 270 Twitter users to find out why they didn’t like the app. This chart is pretty clear that Costolo is on the right track:
Eighty per cent of people complained about the sorting and filtering of tweets.
Even for people who like Twitter a lot — like me — the service sometimes feel like you’re inside the tower of Babel. Your timeline can look like a stream of random nonsense, even if you’re trying to be careful about who you follow. You can make lists of favourites, etc. But it’s work.
Twitter is work. It’s useful, but it requires a lot of effort.
Note that another 62% complained that the setup and controls needed a better explanation. That is in many ways the same issue — figuring out how to make Twitter useful for yourself can be a chore.
The stakes are high, as this chart of Twitter’s recent stock moves shows: