Is Twitter starting to lose its glitter?

With Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger racing ahead of Twitter in terms of user numbers, are we losing our loyalty to the microblogging site?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Instagram reported on Wednesday that it has surpassed 300 million users on its platform, up from 200 million in March 2014. We share 70 million images and videos on the platform every day.

Is Twitter starting to lose its glitter ZDNet

Facebook has 1.35 billion users, its Messenger product has 500 million and its WhatsApp product has 600 million. Facebook now owns three of the most popular social networking tools in the world.

Business network LinkedIn reported that it now has 332 million users at the end of Q3 2014 and Twitter reported 284 million monthly active users in September 2014. It increased its timeline views by 14 percent year on year to 181 billion.

Twitter increased its expansion of ads to 12 additional markets and introduced tools for advertisers such as the promoted video, video playback beta and the Buy button. Its revenue increased by 114 percent to 175 million compared with the same period in 2013.

Yet its shares fell by over 10 percent after it reported its earnings. What is wrong? Twitter is hitting its targets but its investors are not happy. Is it growing too quickly to succeed?

Is Twitter starting to lose its glitter ZDNet
Image: Benzinga

Facebook's stock has risen over 40 percent this year whilst Twitter has dropped by almost 42 percent. Investors might be reluctant to invest whilst the company is expanding so quickly.

Is Twitter satisfying our social needs? 500 million tweets are sent every day delivering a great way to get a pulse on what is happening right now. We can dip in and find out what is trending, what is bubbling up, and what our friends are doing right now.

It is much harder to engage in a longer term conversation with our friends in Twitter. The flood of tweets makes it hard to catch up with everyone we follow and to see the bigger picture. If we follow hundreds, or thousands of people it is easy for tweets to get lost in the river of snippets.

Twitter has acknowledged that this is an issue and has now opened up its entire archive of Tweets sent since 2006.

This is great news for anyone who wants to track the entire conversation around specific events over a period of time.

Perhaps Twitter's users are turning elsewhere for social interaction.

New social platforms are popping up regularly. Ello promises an ad free experience. Bitlanders, MylifeB and Tsu, which gained one million users in its first five weeks, pay users for content.

Investors think that Twitter will reap long term rewards. In the short term, it needs to focus on catch up strategies that will keep it in the forefront of our social activities -- not as a diversion to dip in and out of on a whim.

Keeping us engaged and on the platform will keep the advertisers coming. Twitter plans to roll out premium video and audio, greater personalised timelines and highlights of which tweets you missed when not logged in.

Sustained innovation will bring the sparkle back for investors and keep its advertisers busy. The challenge for Twitter is to innovate more than the new kids on the block and keep its users from looking elsewhere for their social fix.

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