National Edition

Is it time to say goodbye to Twitter?

Published: Thursday, May 1 2014 4:35 p.m. MDT

The Twitter bird logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday Nov. 6, 2013. Twitter is expected to price its initial public offering some time Wednesday night. The company recently raised its price range to $23-$25 per share, following strong investor demand. The company is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. People aren't interacting as much over Twitter. Does that mean the social media platform is on its way out?

Richard Drew, Associated Press

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Has Twitter taken its last 140 character-long breath?

On Wednesday, April 30, The Atlantic’s Adrienne Lafrance and Robinson Meyer wrote a eulogy for the social media network, as it has begun to lose user interactions. To put it as they did, “Twitter is entering its twilight.”

Lafrance and Meyer wrote that it’s less about numbers and more about how culture overall is shifting. Like previous social apps before it, Twitter has begun to enter its final days because people just don’t seem into it anymore, according to Meyer and Lafrance.

“The publishing platform that carried us into the mobile Internet age is receding. Its influence on publishing will remain, but the platform's place in Internet culture is changing in a way that feels irreversible and echoes the tradition of AIM and pre-2005 blogging,” The Atlantic writers wrote. “A lot of this argument comes down to what we feel. Communities can't be fully measured by how many people are in them. So as we suss out cultural changes, relying on first-hand experience is a first step.”

And Wall Street recently downgraded Twitter’s stock, mostly because users aren’t finding it to be an easy app or social media platform to engage with, San Jose Mercury News reported.

"In short, we believe millions of consumers have sampled Twitter only to find a complex product with marginal relevance and value — a view we realize stands in sharp contrast to the fanatical loyalty the company enjoys among its core users," Wells Fargo analyst Peter Stabler said to the Mercury News.

But Slate’s Will Oremus thinks a lot of the downgrading and worry about Twitter is about how people perceive it — mainly in how analysts compare it to Facebook. Twitter, though, is nothing like the social network Facebook, Oremus wrote.

“Twitter is not a social network,” he wrote. “It’s better described as a social media platform, with the emphasis on ‘media platform.’ And media platforms should not be judged by the same metrics as social networks."

While Facebook is about building a network of friends and family, Twitter brings strangers together almost instantly, showing there’s a major difference between the two social media sites.

“Sure, some people tweet privately and follow only their friends, just as some segment of people post publicly on Facebook and allow strangers to follow them,” Oremus wrote. "But while those private tweeters may be large in number, they are not the ones who give Twitter its identity.”

Oremus also wrote that Twitter is becoming something new and different. It isn’t dying, but evolving. News and information are becoming a key part of the platform, and that’s only going to continue in the immediate future, Oremus wrote.

“Don’t be surprised to see Twitter become more YouTube-like, turning its home page into a real-time news platform accessible to anyone, whether they’re logged in or not,” Oremus wrote. “If and when that happens, I doubt we’ll be hearing much about Twitter’s growth problem — let alone its demise.”

And if that wasn’t convincing enough to show Twitter’s death knell is probably a false alarm, The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey wrote Thursday that Twitter has been dead since 2009 — which means there probably won’t be any problems in the future.

“Twitter apparently has more lives than the cats of proverb. According to one media account or another, it died in 2010. And again in 2012,” Dewey wrote. “… And yet, here we are two years later, conversing on/about Twitter at a monumental scale! Make of that what you will, I guess.”

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner

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