Twitter is dead, long live Twitter + Scaling to the Gulf + Primer

Welcome to The Watercooler, issue 60.

LMTD has picked out some of the most interesting digital and social media stories making waves around the web this week, to keep you up-to-date with developments in the world’s most exciting and fastest-growing industry. Something else you’d like to see?

Let us know at news@teamlmtd.com.

Twitter is dead, long live Twitter

The-Unspoken-Law-of-the-Twitterverse1

What does a cornered tech company (or pop star) do when no one likes them anymore? Become something else.

Twitter has been in a semi-controlled tailspin all year. In February, CEO Dick Costolo admitted that the company was losing its core users, largely due to trolls; in June, Costolo resigned. With co-founder Jack Dorsey back at the helm (his official appointment was announced yesterday), in August, employees began speaking to the media about ‘beyond low’ morale and a coming exodus, following a 25% plunge in share prices to a record low. Even celebrities are publicly abandoning ship.

Twitter has tried to stop the hemorrhage. First, the company attempted to control some of the content its viewers find offensive, by scrubbing graphic news images or allowing for people to more easily flag abusive tweets. Next, in June, it announced Twitter Lightning, which will prioritize tweets about real-time events that its algorithms determine to contain useful information (rather than your dumb jokes).

This week, rumors swirled that the company would be doing away with the feature that, at the end of the day, makes Twitter Twitter: the 140-character limit.

It’s a Hail Mary pass, for sure. Lots of loyal tweeps took to the platform to express feelings of outrage and betrayal. But by going on Twitter to complain about Twitter, they’re proving they’re already hooked; the people the company needs now are those who are offended by or – worse – bored by what they read on Twitter.

To get them back, Twitter is totally reinventing itself. Let’s see if it can iterate as well as Madonna.

Everyone wants to scale to the Gulf—but how?

GCC-Monetary-Council

New data from Wamda Research Lab shows that regional startups are all hungrily eyeing the Gulf. Thirty-two percent of regional startups listed Saudi as the most attractive market for scaling in the near future; 28% listed the UAE, and 16% listed Qatar.

But scaling to our oil-rich sheikhdoms on the Gulf isn’t a walk in the park. For companies looking to expand to the Emirates, 36% reported that their main challenge was navigating the legal process associated with starting a business, and 35% had trouble finding local (and presumably affordable) talent.

Check out more insights in the full report [PDF].

Apps we love

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This week’s app comes from a client! Media Coordinator Tamana Nainani walks us through what it is and why she loves it:

“Google’s Primer is a clever app made for the marketing professional. Its dynamic and educational lessons on strategy, advertising, content and measurement are easy to fit into 5 minutes of spare time – when on the go to meetings, or between watching cat videos… you choose.

Commendable, fun and productive – Primer teaches the fundamentals of marketing today using simple language and visuals. Like reading a picture book (fun!), it seems to reinforce Einstein’s belief that ‘If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.’”

“On the heels of the Think with Google platform launch in MENA, Primer has quickly become one of my favourite apps. Whether standing in line at the supermarket or waiting for the dentist to call you in, it’s a bite-sized way to learn something valuable in a few minutes. I’m an infophile and Primer feeds my need for more and better knowledge!” adds Commercial Director Serene Touma.

#ICYMI

Amazon launched a crowdsourced delivery program

Medium closed a $57 million round, is now worth $400 million

Netflix invented a ‘Netflix and chill’ button that dims the lights, silences your phone, and orders takeout

What’s wrong with Silicon Valley’s tech scene? Unicorn culture. (Or not enough 60s San Francisco hippie vibes.)

Tesla’s new X Model SUV has a biological weapons defense mode

One more reason to fear a Jeb Bush presidency: he’s anti-internet

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