In the past three months, Twitter has grown by zero (0) users, according to the company’s latest earnings report. That’s 66 million fewer new users than Facebook added in the same time period, and 9 million fewer than Twitter itself added during the first quarter of the year. It seems US President Trump’s favourite social network is in decline.
If you’re worried about Twitter suddenly shutting down, however, don’t. The company pulled in a lot of money ($721 million) selling ads last quarter, and while it still hasn’t really figured out how to turn its endless torrent of user content into real profits, the service isn’t quite tearing at the seams. Things aren’t Blue Apron bad.
According to Twitter’s books, about 2 million people in the US had enough last quarter and outright stopped using it. About 70 million people in the US, around 22 per cent of the population, used Twitter during the first quarter of the year. During the second quarter, however, that number fell to 68 million. That’s a big deal — Twitter hasn’t seen a drop like that in years, if ever (the books only show such granular detail from 2015 onward).
Meanwhile, globally, Twitter grew by a modest 1 million users (to about 260 million), all of whom I can only assume are outright masochists taking supreme pleasure in America’s public meltdown. And why join otherwise? Twitter really can’t make a compelling case. It says it’s made headway in combatting widespread harassment problems, but it still hasn’t kicked the habit of shrugging off blatant violators of its own policies, including, you might argue, President Trump.
As the hellishness of (and noise on) Twitter has increased in recent years, it seems that just about everyone else on the planet with a smartphone has decided there’s no reason to join. Twitter says it’s focused on “making Twitter the best place to see and share what’s happening, where you can see every side and perspective.” But maybe the company has tapped out the population of humans who are willing to subject themselves to this experience in real time. Why bother? You can just get debriefed on the best and worst tweets elsewhere, like the news.