AIB Featured Business Twitter
As creator of the 140 character ‘tweet’, we feel confident in saying that most of our audience are familiar with Twitter. Launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, Twitter is one of the few global social media platforms with hundreds of millions of users. Aside from tweets, Twitter is home to 1.6 billion search queries per day, making it one of the most-visited websites in the world. Many have dubbed it “the SMS of the internet” as it displays similarity to the standard 160 characters of an SMS, however it has additional features.
Headquartered in San Francisco by Chairman and CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter offers users access through the website interface, SMS or mobile application. The primary function of Twitter is to tweet, however it also serves as a great tool for current affairs and ‘trending’ topics around the world. Users who are registered can both read and post tweets, however those who are not registered can only read publicly listed content. Posts can also be grouped together by topic using ‘hashtags’ (#), allowing for global conversations and campaigns to be facilitated. When asked to comment on the naming of Twitter, Dorsey stated “the definition [of Twitter] was a ‘short burst of inconsequential information’, and ‘chirps from birds’, and that’s exactly what the product was”.
Originally created from a “daylong brainstorming session”, then undergraduate student Dorsey introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group. It’s safe to say he never knew that Twitter would experience such rapid growth. The tipping point for this growth was experienced at the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive conference, where Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. In 2007, the average number of tweets per quarter was 60,000, and this grew exponentially to an unbelievable 140 million tweets per day by 2011. Twitter has also experienced spikes in usage during prominent events. An example of which is during the 2010 FIFA World Cup where fans set a record by writing 2,940 tweets per second. To date, one of the highest usage rates was experienced when singer Michael Jackson passed away in 2009. Servers crashed during this event after users updated their status to include the words “Michael Jackson” at a rate of 100,000 tweets per hour.
As of December 2013, Twitter had a “market capitalisation of $32.76 billion”, however this was met with a net loss of $511 million in the fourth quarter of that year. While efforts such as the introduction of advertising and promoted tweets have been made to make the company more profitable, Twitter is falling behind when compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. It does however boast 302 million active users as of May 2015, so it will be interesting to see if it can take a turn for the better and reinvent itself in today’s competitive market.
What do you think?
Do you think Twitter will experience another burst of popularity, or do you believe it is on the decline in comparison to competitors? I am interested in how you see Twitter’s story from a business perspective, and any ideas you’d have for if it was your startup. Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article:
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