Wither Twit­ter?

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - BUSINESS -

Lay­offs. Slow­ing rev­enue growth. No profit.

These are just some of Twit­ter’s trou­bles, as the com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vice strug­gles to find its place among more pop­u­lar ri­vals such as Face­book, In­sta­gram and Snapchat. Ru­mors that it might be for sale – even though no se­ri­ous buy­ers have come for­ward pub­licly – haven’t helped.

Last week, Twit­ter re­ported yet an­other quar­terly loss and its slow­est rev­enue growth since its ini­tial public of­fer­ing in 2013. Sure, its stock went up, but that was likely be­cause Twit­ter de­cided to cut 350 jobs, or 9 per­cent of its work­force, and be­cause things were not as ter­ri­ble as some in­vestors feared. As Susque­hanna an­a­lyst Shyam Patil put it, Twit­ter cleared an “ex­tremely low bar.” An­other low bar? The com­pany set out a sim­ple goal for 2017: prof­itabil­ity. It would be Twit­ter’s first in its 10-year his­tory. To this end, Twit­ter said it will fo­cus on its core busi­ness and will shut down Vine, its quirky, beloved, but money-los­ing video app. Twit­ter will need more than belt-tight­en­ing. It wants to be the to-go place for live events and hap­pen­ings, but its lack­lus­ter user base shows that it’s got a ways to go. The ser­vice, says Wed­bush an­a­lyst Michael Pachter, “is still too com­pli­cated for the av­er­age In­ter­net user, de­spite mul­ti­ple changes.” Make Twit­ter easy to use? An­other low bar to clear, per­haps.

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