March 7, 2017
Could Twitter's positive attributes be what stunts its growth? Yes, according to one marketing professor
What makes Twitter a massive social media platform may also be what limits it as a business, according to a marketing professor.
Eileen Fischer, a professor of marketing at York University, presented a paper at the AMA's 2017 Winter Conference that says Twitter's “intense co-creation” between companies, active users, partners and app developers may be both what makes it successful and volatile.
It's a novel construction of people and companies creating content at will, but Fischer says Twitter has “not been careful” about over-empowering users.
Twitter's engaged user base, although it has positives, can also lead to the stasis of “permanently failing,” Fischer says, meaning it can't grow, and it can't die. This could serve to be a massive problem for Twitter as a platform, as evidenced by the company's inability to find a buyer in 2016.
Twitter users can post what they want, when they want, under whatever name they want, which in many instances has let users run amok in nameless, faceless trolling and streams of vitriolic rhetoric. This is less the case on platforms like Facebook and Instagram where real names are required and certain content, such as pornography, is not allowed.
“We think the extremities of Twitter's case has everything to with [the company] being this open from the start,” Fischer says.
While this leads to entanglement, where users find it impossible to get off for sociocultural and material reasons, it also leads to an adversarial relationship with app developers and many users choosing to completely stop use of Twitter.
Fischer says its tempting to say this is simply a Twitter problem, but it has potential go beyond the social media platform and into other companies with similar models.
“It's success is what makes it toxic,” she says. “This intense co-creation has had lots of consequences.”
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