Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

What the Twitter Sale Reveals About Twitter

Nick Bilton, writing for Vanity Fair:

This isn’t to say that Twitter isn’t worth billions. As this election cycle makes evident, it is unquestionably the place to talk politics and the media’s coverage of it, among other things. Twitter may have struggled to keep up with the growth of other social-media companies, but when was the last time that you heard someone say, “Did you see what Trump said on SnapChat?” Or, “I can’t believe Clinton posted that on Instagram!” Instead, the conversation is all taking place on Twitter. (One of my morning stops for Trump news isn’t FiveThirtyEight or The New York Times; it’s Sopan Deb’s Twitter feed.) But for investors, the question is whether people will still be ready to slurp up the service after November 8th. (My take: if Trump wins, yes; if it’s Clinton, probably not. And, please God, let’s not let Trump win.)

Twitter is still the place that’s synonymous with real-time public commentary. It’s where TV anchors tell you to follow them for updates, and where news gets made and discussed. There’s nothing else quite like it for information junkies, regardless of whether it’s an election year.

But Twitter — the company — has failed to make Twitter — the product — a compelling story, while allowing abusive users and communities of hatred to fester. There’s the core of a good idea and a good product in there, but it’s squandered by a lack of leadership.