TWITTER TURNS 10

Twitter turns 10 today. And in 10 years Twitter has changed our world and how we connect, communicate and share with people around the world. And in 10 years Twitter’s journey has been a roller coaster ride where it went from a scrappy startup to a public company. Here is a quick history of Twitter in tweets from Wired. Who knew then that Twitter would become an obsession with millions of people around the world. And who knew that in one swift stroke you can deactivate your account like Stephen Fry did.

What is the future of Twitter is a central question that is on most people’s mind, including the folks at Bloomberg Businessweek, who did an in-depth interview with Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.

About 7 years ago I wrote an article on Twitter for Open, a popular magazine in India. I recollect how long it took me to persuade the editor to get this article published. I got asked – “Why Twitter?”or  “What is so special about Twitter?” You see 7 years ago Twitter was confined to the geeks and startup folks in India, and most had not heard about this San Francisco-based company. Fast forward to 2016 and Twitter is a big phenom in India to put it mildly and has an office in the country.

Here is the article that was published in Open called I Tweet, So I Am

IT’S OFFICIAL—RUNNING for Gov of CA.  Wanted you to be the first to know. Need your help. Check out video:http://tr.im/iOCN and ReTweet.” Yes, that is how San Francisco Governor Gavin Newsom, 41, announced that he is officially entering the California Governor’s race in 2010. Instead of holding a traditional press conference, the Democratic politician used a free social utility tool called Twitter—which limits your messages to 140 characters (20 characters less than an SMS)—to reach out simultaneously to thousands of his followers. Continue reading

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Chris Sacca On Twitter And What It Can Be…

Billionaire investor Chris Sacca’s long and thoughtful  post on “What Twitter Can Be,” created a small tsunami of sorts in the tech world like this exchange between Sacca and Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist. Both Sacca and Wilson own quite a lot of Twitter stoks. And Sacca spoke to CNBC about his post and the suggestions he made that included Google buying Twitter.

Sacca does not sit on the board of San Francisco-based Twitter. He clarifies right at the start of his 8,000 odd words long post that he he is not speaking for Twitter and neither does he have inside information on the company.

In the post he highlights the strengths and weaknesses of Twitter and stressed that the company needs to be bolder. And then he offers suggestions on how Twitter can grow and improve its offerings.

Sacca lists 6 points on what is going well in Twitter. Here are two points on what is going well that jumped out for me – “Revenue is growing at 74% year over year,” and the company is taking “risk in making changes to the core product.”

He makes 5 points on what is not going well in Twitter and one of them  was “Almost one billion users have tried Twitter and not stuck around.” Now, that kind of number will make anyone sit up and notice.  He adds Twitter is hard to use, scary and lonely for most users.

“Twitter does have boldness in its bones,” he writes and then goes on to offer in-depth suggestions on how Twitter can improve and make it less lonely and scary to use for millions of users that are not using it. He offered quite a few suggestions on how to improve the organization of information and curation.

As expected there has been a lot of analysis and reports on Sacca’s post. You can read about it here and here.

Emily Chang of Bloomberg West discussed Sacca’s post with Om Malik and Joshua Toplasky Malik made a couple of great points, which appeared to be in the same vein as Sacca’s.  The first was about the tight competition Twitter has from Facebook, Snapchat and Whatsapp. The second was that Twitter has to try new things and succeed and fail publicly. Basically, Twitter needs to take more risks.

Sacca need not have stuck out his neck and written this long, thoughtful post. It takes a lot of courage to do that. Now that he has shared his thoughts, the ball is in Twitter’s court. What will Twitter do?