back to article ‘Dumb pipe’ Twitter should sell up and quit, says tech banking chap

Billions have been made in Silicon Valley by wrapping HTML angle brackets around 1980s protocols and calling it “innovation”. IRC became instant message, email became Facebook, and SMS became WhatsApp and Twitter. But the latter, having failed to add anything interesting for years, should cut its losses and find a buyer. So …

  1. Bob Vistakin

    I had bacon for breakfast

    Says it all really.

    1. Craigness

      Re: I had bacon for breakfast

      hundreds of militant vegans have just threatened to kill your family and contacted your employer demanding you be sacked.

      says even more really.

  2. Busby

    Major Typo

    Was going to send a correction but that is far too much effort. I think your misspelling Twatter.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Major Typo

      Don't leave us hanging man! What is a misspelling Twatter and what is he/she/it doing?!

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Major Typo

      "Was going to send a correction but that is far too much effort. I think your misspelling Twatter."

      You've also misspelled it. It's suppose to be spelled 'company with no new products and no future'.

  3. gerdesj Silver badge

    No it didn't

    "email became Facebook"

    Only 1 billion people used FB on one particular day and I question the validity of that statistic. Rather more used email, that day and all days.

    Comparing FB usage to email volume is akin to comparing Linux to other OSs (on the desktop) in terms of numbers. So sayeth a Gentoo powered penguin type with absolutely no basis in confirmed fact but lots of opinion.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: No it didn't

      I think Andrew's point is what Facebook effectively is. Not very much but seemingly enough to make the service popular and financially viable. Though I do wonder how viable any of these services would be without the constant free promotion on things like public television. I'm still waiting for some serious studies of the ROI on advertising on these services.

      All these login-based services promise to provide oodles of "valuable" demographic data for advertisers but I've yet to see numbers that such engagement is any higher than it is around the more splatter-gun approach of ads. In fact, I wonder whether it's not more difficult to get people's attention when they're busy reading a stream than when they're consuming other media more passively.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only to the idiot masses

    "IRC became instant message, email became Facebook, and SMS became WhatsApp and Twitter. "

    Correction: they all became commercialized. The original services still live on as separate protocols.

    I don't remember being able to install a local version of FACEBOOKd on my servers...

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: Only to the idiot masses

      It's Enclosure of the Commons. No more, no less.

      (But it's a shame El Reg missed the Long View in the article itself).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only to the idiot masses

      F/OSS CMS with internal coding for determining what posts to display on others home page(s). Such a beast may already exist considering that this is an enterprise knowledge management kind of "thang."

  5. streaky

    Twitter numbers.

    It's 2015 and we've got into this position where it's all about user-base growth and revenues. Nobody anywhere interested in the actual huge pile of cash they burn everywhere. Twitter's main problem is it has no plan in place where it figures out how it's going to make actual money to offset it's costs, just accepts that world+dog is going to jump on the hype train of old like tulip mania.

    This is the stuff market crashes and pension fund derp-ups are made of.

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    My cynic button has been pressed again.. So we have boutique tech banking advisor saying that Twitter is so inept it should be sold. Which raises the questions....

    1) If it's so bad, who's going to want to buy it based on his assessment?

    2) How much will he and his investment "friends" make on the deal?

    3) Maybe this is just a reverse psychology pitch because he and his friends went short on the stock and now need to cough up the shares?

    I do agree though, Twitter is pretty much useless. Let the thing die. The only ones who will miss it are the new organizations who build whole stories around a Tweet without having to do anything on their own.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "1) If it's so bad, who's going to want to buy it based on his assessment?"

      You look for a bigger idiot. I thought that was how failing companies are often sold.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Why people like and use Twitter

    For the same reason people talk endlessly about themselves and other people, with the added bonus that Twitter makes you feel like you talk to the world and the world reads your words and talks back.

    It's the ultimate self-aggrandizer. Even when you know yourself that what you're posting is abysmally useless, somebody, somewhere will react, thereby justifying your post.

    I think Twitter is actually a psychology test, for the members AND its management.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why people like and use Twitter

      It's precisely because it isn't "grabbing a big percentage of new mobile ad spend" and "makes no attempt to segment or personalise". And as a lot of companies are about to find out in the coming Adblockalypse (TM), ad revenue isn't a panacea.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter’s management themselves don’t seem to realise why people like and use Twitter

    ...and I'm with them on that.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Twitter’s management themselves don’t seem to realise why people like and use Twitter

      Twitter is the Pet Rock of the current decade. If you got in on the ground floor you stand to make a bundle as long as you get out soon enough. Don't ask why you made a bundle, just take the money and run. Don't try to repeat it, you'll lose the money you had when you ran.

  9. Andy Non Silver badge

    Twitter is becoming totally irrelevant.

    I've got a twitter account but only used it for keeping up to date with science and technology news etc, never for tweeting/posting anything. However, facebook now does that better; haven't logged into Twitter in months. There are lots of specialist news / technical groups on Facebook and you can easily hop between them to read what's going on and share comments, pretty much like this El Reg news/forum. Note: It isn't compulsory to post any personal information on Facebook or have an avatar featuring your mugshot or even specify a legit date of birth etc. Just treat Facebook like a collection of internet news sites + forums.

  10. Buster

    Believing in your product is for losers

    It is no surprise that Twitter has not been able to harvest the sort of user information that would allow it to target advertising more directly to users. Twitter having a limited character count lends it self to condensed messages that have little or no extraneous information from which to harvest user information. The way that Twitter is used to fanboy, propagate jokes and hash tag punnery is less about things as it is about people makes it more difficult again to harvest the advertising life blood of internet entrepreneurship.

    But of course the only thing that matters is puffing up you concept enough to generate the most sellable value and palming it off to some deep pockets -- believing in your product is for losers.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Believing in your product is for losers

      Have you heard of the term 'metadata'?

  11. boatsman

    should cut its losses and find a buyer

    buyer as in ignorant investor / n**b ??

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    What Twitter is for

    People stick stuff on Twitter because they'd like other people to see it.

    People read Twitter because they like to see what (some) other people are saying.

    It's all very simple and basic and doesn't deserve criticism or antagonism unless you think it's meant to do something different, like making IT middlemen, the digital carpet baggers, lots of cash.

    The web and the entertainment industry alike are full of these accountants who expect creatives to perform magic so that they can move in and suck cash off the bottom.

    F**k them.

    Criticising Twitter for this is like complaining that your petrol station doesn't sell Michelin star food.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Yea, with apology to Borges, Twitter is like a room containing an infinite1 number of water coolers, each labelled by topic. Or, like a lossy forum where no-one expects you to have read every post.

      1. Okay, for English speakers it probably tops out at around 1.2E198, at which point conversations would become a graph between water coolers.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: What Twitter is for

      Yes except for one rather important detail....

      At the end of the day, you have to make enough money to support your infrastructure and yourself. Twatter can't do that yet, have no plan for getting there, and seem to have no clue that they NEED to get there.

  13. zaax

    Is that a banker talking? Don't worry they keep all their losing money and know nothing about the rest of the world.

  14. pewpie

    Updated version of finger.

    I like to think of twitter more like a dynamic version of the old finger protocol.. It is what it is.. a microblog.. get over it. Seems ot be a lot of commentards here who reserve a quite frankly insane amount of hatred for the platform.

  15. CaptainBanjax


    If you think about it, Twitter is basically a limited incarnation of IRC.

    Its entirely possible to wrap Twitter into a front end and use each hashtag as a chatroom.

    The only major differences are the 140 character limit and the fact you cant see who is in the room unless they send a message.

  16. I_am_Chris

    Twitter's ineptitude is users benefit

    Why does everything have to be driven by ad revenue?

    As an avid user in the scientific community, the (relative) lack of ads is a huge bonus! If they ever get their act in gear it'll be the death of it.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Twitter's ineptitude is users benefit

      It doesn't.

      BUT it does have to be driven by SOME revenue stream.

      So far, advertising seems to be the primary driver of most web based sites and is certainly the only driver for free ones. (In the case of Google you usually happen to be the product not the paying consumer.)

  17. Stevie Silver badge


    Hell, I have a twitter account and I don't understand why people like and use the service.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Bah!

      Phone or desktop?

      Like you I have one that I have never really used. I tried to use it primarily from a PC. I understand from a friend who is/was into it big that you need a phone/tablet to really benefit from it. Although even for him the shiny, shiny bit is wearing off.

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