A suggestion for Twitter: stop looking for new users

The acceleration of Twitter’s growth and identity crisis has motivated many tech pundits, journalists and bloggers to present their take on what Twitter should do in order to find a way out of its dilemma. I have a little contribution myself. I promise it’s short and (hopefully) different to what you might have read elsewhere.

So what should Twitter do? It should stop to desperately look for ways to get new users onto the service. Instead it should turn Twitter into the best experience imaginable for its officially 320 million monthly active users!

Twitter attracts 320 million people who sign-in to the service at least once a month. Many of them are obsessed with the service, relying on it as their premier source for information, news and content recommendations and as channel to follow opinion leaders, celebrities, experts and curators.

318.9 million people live in the United States of America. Twitter has 320 million monthly active users. The total, global number of active users is as big as the number of people living in the U.S. It is bizarre that an Internet company with such a reach, with such a passionate, engaged and obsessed core user population, is even considered being in some sort of crisis.

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Twitter should decide to serve these 320 million active users. Most of them have ideas about how to improve Twitter. There is a lot that could be done to make the Twitter experience better. There are also people who are tired of all the ads. Who would love to pay a monthly/yearly fee for ad-free “premium” access. There are many companies, developers and organizations that would be eager to leverage Twitter’s infrastructure in more sophisticated ways than currently possible – and who would happily pay for that.

320 million active users who feel that they are being put into the focus would lead to even more loyal and even more engaged users who would quickly help Twitter achieving a state of economical sustainability and profitability.

Twitter has some serious conceptual flaws (like that it makes humans look like machines). However, the high engagement of the core user population proves that despite these flaws, the service possesses some serious strengths, too. The flaws can be fixed. The company would just have to stop envying Facebook or any other fast-growing social media service.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this will happen. Twitter is part of the broken, toxic system which forces consumer companies to play the game of everyone else. The game of being the biggest of all, of owning the world, of reaching every person on this planet. The game of having to get everyone and their grand-grandfather onto the platform. The game of promising the most eyeballs to advertisers. The game of quickly pleasing the shareholders who were attracted on the premise of fast and eternal growth.

There is a lot a company with 320 million active users could accomplish, and – in the mid-term – there is a lot of money to be made, too.

If tomorrow Jack Dorsey would announce that for the next 12 months, Twitter won’t accept any new users anymore (maybe adding an invite list to manage specific cases), dedicating all the resources on improving the experience for its loyal community of 320 million active user (and in turn increasing the average revenue per user), it would be a radical move. But it might be what Twitter needs.

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