Twitter? Here Today, Gone In 2016?

Who could have put bets on how Twitter has neatly entwined itself into the consciousness of us all over the past two years.

Twitter has become every body’s digital pigeon hole. A platform that continues to perpetuate itself with conversation and opinion whether you like it or not. It’s become the epicentre of the big event. Every news reporter on the planet has an @ address for people to contact them direct. But as we begin a new year, Twitter shares are down 9%, so it’s worth asking where will the future of this micro-blogging site take us?

Ah, the Tweet. This self-generating social phenomenon has become a habit for some, titillation for others and a phobia for many. As a business, however, Twitter has a big question mark hanging over its head. After all, a net worth of over $32 billion, is a huge price tag for a company that has yet to turn a profit.

Social analysts are currently waiting with baited breathe to get a glimpse of Twitter’s fourth quarter financial results on February 5. This will be the first time that investors will get true insight into the health of the firm as a public company.

So why is Twitter’s life span hanging in the balance this year? In the main, there is speculation about the potential (or lack thereof) for big advertising revenues down the road.

The platform has toyed with ‘promoted tweets’ allowing advertisers to place tweets into users’ Twitter feeds, even if those individuals aren’t following that advertiser’s Twitter account.  And has also acquired MoPub, a start-up that acts as a middleman in placing ads from marketers inside mobile applications. If advertisers know their messages will be delivered to their ideal target audience, they’ll be willing to pay more.

But Twitter has yet to get a handle on these opportunities. And the powerful hashtag, although highly engaging, is still mismanaged and misused by many.

On the plus side, Twitter is now capitalising on the power of the event as organisations big or small now manage their own Twitter feeds on their own, without the need for experts to steer them in one direction or another.

For quite a while, Twitter has known how powerful events are the key to its future. But, for many reasons — organisational and leadership problems, disagreements on implementation, not to mention the technology needed to sort through the deluge of garbage tweets to surface the most-relevant content — Twitter hasn’t made it happen until now.

Business strategy aside, it would be hard to be without Twitter. Those tweeters among us just love the buzz of it all as we jump from reality into this fast moving information highway of randomness and importance all rolled in to one. Ultimately we’re all in control and yet no one is in control.

We’re certainly on a journey. Who knows where it will end.

Whether Twitter’s financial results impress or disappoint, analysts are right to be concerned about the social network’s future. Meanwhile, we can all enjoy the super micro-blogging highway as much as our lives allow.

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