Twitter founder Evan Williams might have remained quiet in the past, as social network leaders rarely cause a stir against each other, but that all changed after a recent interview went public – when the founder sounded off over the popularity and praise Facebook and Instagram have been receiving lately. Earlier this week Instagram – which was purchased for $1 billion in 2012 by Facebook – passed Twitter for total users. The user count of the photo-centric social networking site was up to 300 million users – while Twitter reached 284 million at last count.
Evan Williams though sounded off in an interview with Fortune, and even if many of his gripes were legitimate – his tone took some by surprise. “If you think about the impact Twitter has on the world versus Instagram, it’s pretty significant. It’s at least apples to oranges. Twitter is what we wanted it to be. It’s this real-time information network where everything in the world that happens on Twitter – important stuff breaks on Twitter and world leaders have conversation on Twitter. If that’s happening, I frankly don’t give a sh*t if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures,” the founder and board member said.
Twitter has long-been at the center of a debate regarding the ability for the company to continue pulling in investor dollars when the company has a difficult time monetizing itself with the limited amount of content that the social network can put on one page. Another strike against Twitter is that they have not been able to collect the amount of information that Facebook has – and that’s a clear tool for Facebook. However, Facebook has been at the center of a lot of criticism for their collection techniques, so neither company can really say that they’re doing things perfectly.
Twitter underperforms with investors but largely exceeds expectations with their content and the quality. Users are – as the company has said – sharing information in real-time, and it really is a completely different service than what Facebook, or Instagram delivers.
Facebook performs really well in the dollars-and-cents category, especially with investors, and advertising – but many consider the company a threat when it comes to their security and privacy.
Instagram may be owned by Facebook, but the company operates largely like its own company. They have their own staff, board, and representation – but the social network is really focused on tapping into users who aren’t ready for Facebook, or simply aren’t interested in a conventional social network like Facebook.
Twitter has the opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong with their approach and prove that they can turn their company into the massive business that they promise it can be.