This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

Last Thursday Twitter shocked us by announcing that CEO Dick Costolo was to step down and be replaced by cofounder Jack Dorsey. Dick Costolo is widely liked inside Twitter however he has been blamed for the company’s lackluster growth and execution. Wall Street has been ramping up the pressure over the past number of months and despite Dick Costolo saying he would be going nowhere, something eventually had to give. 

Wall Street was certainly happy at the news last week, following the news Twitter stock began to soar in after trading hours just moments after the announcement was made.

Jack Dorsey has come in as the Interim CEO and the search for a long term CEO is now underway. While Wall Street may have got Dick Costolo out, Jack Dorsey has stated that the strategy and the direction Twitter is taking will not change when he takes up the new role.

This is good news for people fearful of seeing their social media website ruined, however it is no so great news for the Wall Street critics but lets be honest, how much of a change does Twitter actually need? The main concern is that Twitter will never have the traction and pulling power of Facebook, but in my opinion Twitter needs to be Twitter!

Dick Costolo and the past.

Dick Costolo has taken a lot of criticism over the past number of months and most people seem to be overlooking the fantastic job he did at Twitter. He joined as chief operating officer in 2009 when the startup was transitioning from being a project with poor infrastructure and no monetisation plans into a real business. He built it into a $25 billion public company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and a global reach.

However his downfall would ultimately be the decision to take the company public. Twitter went public far too soon, before they had worked out their advertising model and before they had decided how much to change the core product to reach large numbers. As a result, Dick Costolo struggled to communicate Twitter’s plans to investors and there was constant re-shuffling of executives, enough to make anyone on Wall Street nervous.

The other side of his downfall was the lack of control he had. Costolo is not a founder, he is not a large stakeholder and as a result he does not have as much control over the board as Mark Zuckerberg may have at Facebook. Jack Dorsey is a founder, he is a stakeholder and he will have more control over the board than Dick Costolo would ever have had.

Jack Dorsey and the present.

Dorsey may say that the direction is the same and indeed it would seem that the current strategy is one that he has backed behind the scenes regardless. He has served as Twitter’s chairman of the board and a close advisor to Costolo over the past number of years.

However, he is the cofounder credited with the original idea for Twitter in 2006 and while he may be interim or possibly permanent, he is the best man available to restore faith in the current Twitter products and services.

Let Twitter be Twitter.

Some of the criticism that is thrown Twitters way is actually a load of old nonsense at times. Twitter has the building blocks of a great service in place already, people are hooked on it. TV shows now display hashtags and Twitter handles on screen during the show. Yes the user growth has slowed in the fourth quarter last year but despite this, some 4 million new users arrived to 288 million monthly users as of Dec. 31. A little less than the population of Ireland in the space of three months.

There are 302 million monthly active users which is roughly the population of the United States, so how can this be such a confusing service then? More users would be nice of course however it comes at the risk of ruining Twitter for the devoted hardcore users, we are here, we love the service and we want to see it improve but not as the risk of ruining it as it currently stands.

Twitter needs to realise that without the hardcore users then they are in real trouble. Would I like to see a big shake up in Twitter and how we use it? Hell no! For me the options are simple, try to reverse the biggest and the worst decision that ever happened to the company. Taking it public.

Twitter’s stock market exit.

When a company goes public then the biggest problem is creating more and more shareholder value. You need to keep shareholders on side and keep them sweet. Shareholders who saw 4 million new users in the fourth quarter last year as a failure.

For me the best option is to get it off the stock market, there has been talk of Google buying Twitter which could be one option to go for. Realistically the options when it comes to selling the company is to sell to either Google or Apple. Two tech giants who wouldn’t run away at the asking price. However look at their previous ventures into social media, Google+ and Ping…are they really the right companies to take Twitter forward?

Alternatively, buy back the stock and take the company private again. Who knows if either of these options would ever be pursued, this is what I personally would love to see happen but it of course does not mean it will happen. Something significant needs to take place though, the money men, advertisers and rival companies are all overhead circling to see what happens next and a big spotlight is shining on Twitter.

The platform balanced on a knife edge.

Twitter has become a vital platform for freedom of expression and debate. News breaks on Twitter faster than it does on mainstream media. Irish SME’s have grown and flourished with Twitter as one of their tools for business. Allow it to grow organically with only the necessary tweaks to see it through and protect it from the vultures from Wall Street.

This seems to be the only real chance that the company has at surviving because at the moment it is balanced on a knife edge and whatever decision the next CEO takes will be crucial in its future.


 

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. He has an Advanced Diploma in Psychology and a Diploma in Digital Marketing And Social Media. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]

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