September 5, 2014 Last Updated 8:15 am

Hints of Twitter timeline changes has media users up in arms

Media reporters, heavy users, seem to feel the social network is their own personal domain, while the company’s executives try to avoid being yet another Internet flash-in-the-pan

It is easy to think of Twitter as a personal space. One picks and choses who to follow, and personal and group conversations can take place. Among some media reporters, Twitter has become as much a club as those old men’s clubs where reporters gathered to smoke cigars and spread gossip (The Family in S.F. comes to mind).

Many observers seem to have forgotten that Twitter is not their personal domain, but a very much public company that is competing with other social networks such as Facebook, and many casual users simply don’t get the attraction.

Lexus-tweetThe problem is that until one has fine tunes the users that they wish to follow, Twitter is mostly noise. Random tweets appear that seem to have no relation to their interests. What Twitter is hinting at is that they see this and want to make tweets more relevant for this type of user.

The danger, of course, is that for the heavy user, the one who probably drives most of the traffic, messing with their timelines means making Twitter less useful. Already my own timeline has been useless tweets from firms wanting to market to me. Worse, the tweets are relentless – I will pay attention to this tweet, I will.

Twitter is not the only social network to risk killing the goose that laid the golden egg but making fundamental changes. Of course, from Twitter’s perspective, they have yet to actually lay that golden egg.

In the company’s most recent earnings report, Twitter reported robust revenue growth: Q2 revenue was $312 million, up 124 percent over the prior year. But the company also reported a much larger net loss, as well – a loss of $145 million versus $42 million in the same quarter of 2013.

The question for Twitter is whether they will become more like Facebook or more like Groupon. Earnings and revenue wise there are currently more similarities with Groupon than Facebook, and that has to worry its executives. No wonder they are looking to models developed by Facebook. But Twitter, like LinkedIn, is not Facebook and will need to find their own formula for success. But I seriously doubt they are going to listen to the whining of journalists and media reporters who fear letting in the undesirables into their little club.

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