Oct 20 - 3min readTwitter Fires 8% of staff and releases MomentsBy Launchbase

Last week was a busy week for the Social Media giant, not only is there a new (old) guy in town in the form of Jack Dorsey returning to the fold as CEO. But with Jack on board and growth at the forefront of Twitter’s renewed focus there were a couple of immediate changes on board.


The first of these was the announcement that just over 8% of Twitter’s worldwide workforce were being let go. This figure, 8.2% to be exact represents 336 individuals and will comprise of mostly engineers as part of a streamlining exercise.


The second of these announcements was the introduction of Moments – a Twitter feed inspired contextual and visual newsfeed that is aimed at giving Twitter diversity from its current offerings.


Focus on Growth


It has been heavily commented on that, despite Twitter’s many successes growth is not one of them. In fact, while 300m users is a very welcome number it is one which just isn’t getting any higher. We reported recently that Instagram recently hit 400m active users and this probably had an effect on Jack Dorsey’s return to Twitter and the subsequent shake up of the internal staffing structure.


Mr. Dorsey commented (in a tweet, obviously!) that he had “made some tough but necessary decisions that enable Twitter to move with greater focus and reinvest in our growth.” The buzz word there is ‘growth’ and while profitability should not be forgotten you can imagine that investors get twitchy when they feel they have a static platform when all others around them are growing and the inevitable whispers of MySpace are made. Twitter needs to make money, that goes without saying, but Twitter also needs to increase and diversify its user base and that is what appears to be the current focus of the more streamlined workforce which, as Dorsey says in an e-mail of the need to “change how we work, and what we need to do that work.”


The shakeup may seem small but it looks like Twitter is narrowing its focuses.


For the record the people who are losing their jobs look like they will be well compensated for their work so it is not a ‘goodbye and thanks for all the fish’ scenario.


Thanks for the Moments


Which brings us to Moments. Moments is a new visual news platform that puts news into context. So it is kind of like Flipboard and kind of like Instagram and kind of like Twitter. In fact, it is to Twitter now what Twitter was to Facebook when Twitter was launched? Confused? So are many new Twitter users and that’s why Moments makes sense.


When Twitter was launched it was a breath of fresh air to the way Facebook operated with its concise character count and its novel ways of following people. But what invariably happens is that networks get convoluted and you can be in genuine risk of missing actual trends or news bites.


Many people now use apps in a quick flurry of thumbs and content needs to be engaging in the now or thumbs will swipe and news, even important news, will be lost. Moments follows, well, moments rather than people. So you will receive notifications of an event and then follow the news and opinions which follow that. It makes the event the aggregator not people.


Moments explains this in the context of a football (American) match. So the football match will be the event, the moment and related news will feed off that, much like a sports feed does now but there will be many of these moments that you can flick through and see the news items and related content without being bogged down. It is sort of a pared back element of Twitter itself. Which is exactly the point, Twitter will grow through user experience, whether this is via Twitter itself or other platforms that are created by the streamlined team.


This often happens in empire building, rapid expansion followed by periods of consolidation before growth happens again. Grow too fast and the empire crumbles, manage it correctly and it becomes sustainable.


It all points to a smart move by Twitter and one which may well pay off. Moments will doubtfully be the answer but the thinking is certainly there and, perhaps more importantly, the passion too. It is a new era for the team and we wish them well and look forward to seeing what new mobile apps and platforms they release.


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