Twitter has undoubtedly changed how we all interact with news and content. It has given an unprecedented “voice to the people” by making it easier for anyone to share a quick glimpse of news to the world.
But, I believe there is a deep problem at Twitter – that Twitter is hiding a truth, a massive lack of user engagement. I believe the “firehose” of tweets are mostly going to waste to a user base that is totally uninterested or totally disconnected from Twitter. There is quite a bit of evidence that twitter’s active monthly user base is a paltry 25% of their total number of users – I have a little more evidence to add to the argument
I have started several companies in the last few years, each time I begin a business, I buy the domain and then go to twitter to grab my handle. Each time, I have been met with handles that are already taken, and the handle has always taken by a user that has not tweeted in years.
Further, when I go thorough the process of trademarking the company name with the USPTO, Twitter refuses to turn over the handle of those inactive accounts.
The most recent example of this is with a company I started called “mc squares” – We’ve been in business for about a year now, our trademark issued over 6 months ago. The twitter account “@mcsquares” has been inactive for over 5 years…
I decided to go through the process to grab the twitter handle that is our name – I first, of course tried to contact the owner of the handle, but there is no way to ensure a message actually gets to the owner. I received no response when tweeting the user or when I try to DM the owner. The process to grab the handle that is a registered trademark is fairly simple, you fill in a form at https://support.twitter.com/forms/trademark. I filled this form in, with all the proof I own the trademark – and I received a form letter back
I’m not complaining about Twitter’s policies to protect user accounts, not at all. Individual’s should be protected from the hijacking of their accounts from business or from anyone. However, I believe Twitter makes it super easy to set up an account, set up hundreds of accounts, and squat. And they provide no means to clean up the hundreds of millions of unused twitter accounts. My only conclusion is that twitter policies are unilaterally skewed towards growing a false number of twitter users.
Truthfully, the issue for mc squares is very minor, we secured the handle “@mc_squares”. But, I believe Twitter’s policies on user accounts are too self-serving to make Twitter a sustainable credible media source. Twitter is self-governed and, ironically, secretive about the reasons why they govern the way they do. My only conclusion is that they need to keep the user accounts growing to sustain their business even if those accounts are meaningless to the true value of Twitter.