But the Internet is fickle. Will the microblogging service still be around another seven years from now? To make it to 2020, Twitter is going to have to surmount some mighty big challenges.
Ready, Set... Go
Here they are in a nutshell. Sound off on what you consider Twitter's biggest challenges in our poll to the right or in comments:
- Facebook: Competition from the Zuckerberg brand is huge. Instagram, now part of Facebook, is another giant rival. Both services have copied — and are continuing to copy — Twitter features like the news feed and hashtags. Twitter only stays one step ahead if it keeps rolling out new innovations that its competitors can't own. It's done well so far, but one big slip-up to cause irreparable damage.
- Stagnation and spam: Detractors say Twitter has already peaked. These same folks are also quick to point out that many of its "registered users" — and, as a result, many followers of real users — are actually bots. It's hard to determine just how many users are actually active, but bots are already a problem for Twitter's business model, since no advertiser wants to pay to reach fake accounts. More insidious forms of advertiser spam surely lie in Twitter's future.
- Weak Ad Platform. When it comes to making money online, many businesses prefer to funnel dollars to Facebook's fan pages over Twitter's promoted and sponsored tweets. It can be hard to significantly monetize on Twitter, and advertisers can have a hard time tracking their return on investment there. Twitter is great for engaging, solving customer service issues and even funneling traffic to a website. But direct selling often turns users off. And the advertising model has yet to be cracked here.
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