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Happy Birthday Twitter – but what about the next 10 years?

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Today marks 10 years since Twitter first launched with this now famous tweet from co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

From these humble beginnings, the platform now has grown to over 320 million active users per month, with 2.8 million of these being active Australian user accounts.

Over the course of the day we have seen many retrospective pieces that have highlighted the famous moments in Twitter’s history, from 140-character marriage proposals to the groundbreaking real time coverage of events in revolutions such as the Arab Spring. These articles confirm what we already knew – Twitter has had an immeasurably significant impact on the social landscape.

So with that out of the way, we thought that we’d take a different approach and use this milestone to talk about Twitter’s future.

Under two months ago, Twitter was awash with the hashtag #RIPTwitter as droves of users complained about the news that the social network was going to adopt an algorithmic timeline rather than its trademark real time chronological order. For many, this spelled the end of Twitter, with users also continuing to object to other innovations such as the “Moments” feature.

Here at DIGIVIZER, rather than this news evoking outrage, we experienced merely a feeling of vague déjà vu. We have been here numerous times before in the history of social networks and we will undoubtedly be here again. Appropriately, it has also been almost ten years since Facebook controversially introduced its News Feed back in 2006, and only this week we have seen outcry over Instagram introducing an algorithm for its feeds. Despite the opposition, Facebook and Instagram are still here – and thriving.

Ultimately, just like any social platform, the future of Twitter will rely on it continuing to provide value to its users. This has always been the case for individual accounts: to achieve success and engagement, they must provide value to their followers. Innovations such as “Moments” or an algorithmic timeline might annoy users initially, but the end result will be based on Twitter’s ability to continue to evolve and deliver value, adapting as the digital landscape continues to change. Brands and individuals who rely on social need to continuously find ways to ensure their followers see value from them – in new and different ways. The more they provide consistent and evolving value to their followers, and the more they adapt strategies for engagement based on each platform and user audience, the more likely their followers will see or seek their posts.

At the end of the day, users will invariably vote with their feet (or in the case of social and mobile, with their thumbs). Only time will tell us what works and what doesn’t, which platform will or won’t stand the value test. As always, it all starts and ends with data to answer the ROI question: is the effort worth the return?

So on this day, DIGIVIZER wishes Twitter a happy birthday. We look forward to the next 10 years, where we hope to see and embrace continued innovation and growth. We see enormous value for our clients and ourselves. We #LoveTwitter.   

Jack Lo Russo: Jack is Community Engagement Manager at DIGIVIZER.