Twitter recently published its income for 2013 to be $243 million, trumping analysts’ estimates by an average of over $20 million. However, a deeper analysis shows that despite Twitter’s growth in income, its investors are slowly moving away from the company. Also, Twitter’s share value has dropped by almost 20 percent in recent days. In light of the fact that Twitter users have continued to grow, at first glance it does not seem to make much sense.
However, the truth is that despite the increase in Twitter’s user base, user engagement on the platform has been witnessing a significant plummet. Individuals using Twitter are now spending less time on the website than before. So what is the cause for drop in user engagement on Twitter?
The drop in user engagement began when Twitter first instituted what has come to be known as the “blue lines” feature. In the past, when users viewed another Twitter profile, they could do so in a reverse-chronological order, i.e. from the latest post to the oldest post. If you were to follow someone on Twitter now, you are exposed to the entire conversation a person has with another, including every time a new tweet has been posted. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Twitter automatically allows users to view pictures without clicking on them.
The user experience has also become worse due to the integration of different symbols available on the site. While the purpose of these symbols is to increase user convenience, they have only made the entire experience far more confusing and convoluted, causing a drop in user engagement.
Despite CEO Dick Costolo’s claim of developing a new strategy to broaden Twitter’s fan base, it is now becoming clear that the problem does not really lie in the number of users, but the overall experience the website offers.