Anil Dash’s Advice for Twitter

Anil Dash makes many good points about Twitter, but this one is the best:

Your relationship with Wall Street investors (and, to some degree, with advertisers) is fundamentally broken because you’ve gotten trapped into using the wrong metrics to measure the success or progress of Twitter. New signups are flat, and they’re going to stay flat, and every desperate flailing attempt to change that just reminds engaged users that they’re not seeing any progress and they don’t believe you can ship features they care about. Meanwhile, do you know how many new video creators joined YouTube this quarter? Me neither! You know why? Because all the good videos are on YouTube! What percentage of people who visit YouTube each month are logged in? What percentage ever uploaded a video? Answer: Nobody gives a shit. Because YouTube inarguably drives culture, and people (and advertisers!) want to be part of that.

Similarly, when Trump destroys the planet with more rambling, incoherent abusive gibberish, nobody is going to ask, “Did he say it on Tumblr?” Because Twitter is the place that popular culture gets created and discussed! I’m not happy about the fact that Twitter helped Trump get elected, but it makes it damned obvious that investors watching your signup numbers have thoroughly missed the point. Change the metrics, change the story, take the reins and lead them into a better understanding of the world than whatever meager measurements they got obsessed with in 2009.

By measuring the wrong things, not only is Twitter not being rewarded for what it is doing well, but it’s also providing motivation to Twitter to allow bad behavior. I see porno spam all the time now on Twitter, and I’m certain it would be trivial — trivial — for Twitter to block it. But they don’t, and I can only surmise the reason why is that because they’re measuring “activity”, they see all activity as good activity.

Friday, 30 December 2016