Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Twitter Photo Upgrade – Another Sign That TWTR Is Behind the 8-Ball

TWTR celebrates the addition of basic photo-editing tools while still facing CEO, user growth woes

Earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Twitter (TWTR) is now beta testing some enhancements to its photo and video capabilities. While the exact scope of the upgrades hasn’t been revealed, judging from recent images posted by a few high-profile celebrities, it looks like TWTR’s enhancements will be a range of photo and video editing options such as digital stickers and GIF creation.

Currently, editing Twitter photos within the Twitter app is essentially useless, with only the most basic capabilities present.

If you’re looking to do more than just add a filter or crop a picture, TWTR has never been your friend.

Why Are People So Excited?

I can’t help but wonder why this update for Twitter photos is being hailed as a victory by so many media outlets and other people. The new features have been called everything from “cool” to “funky,” and more than a few publications have applauded TWTR for “taking on” Facebook (FB) and Snapchat.

Judging by Taylor Swift’s nearly uncontrollable excitement, apparently thanks to her early access to the Twitter video and photo upgrades, you’d think that TWTR was rolling out something … well, exciting!

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get super excited about being able to plaster cheesy “stickers” all over your photos, or creating animated GIFs (moving pictures). Those are things that iPhone and Android users have been able to do for years already, with freely available apps that are extremely comprehensive and adept.

Sure, it might be more convenient to edit photos and videos from within the Twitter app, but sharing your creations with TWTR from any of the existing apps is a simple two-tap procedure. Plus, it’s doubtful that the Twitter video and photo editing features will even come close to matching those of more popular dedicated apps.

So, maybe Taylor Swift wasn’t excited about the Twitter photo upgrades, but instead was celebrating the fact that TWTR is finally including editing capabilities that most smartphone photographers have come to consider the basic essentials.

TWTR Is Slipping

For a while now, the buzz has focused on the uncertain future of TWTR stock. The social media giant is seemingly in such a precarious position that one of the company’s early investors, Chris Sacca, penned a lengthy post in June describing what he believes is going well, and also what’s not going so well, with TWTR.

Simply put, Twitter isn’t growing anymore, and investors and analysts alike have lost faith in the management’s ability to turn things around. Chris Ciaccia at The Street said:
“For Twitter to live up to its potential, as so many have discussed, it needs to spend inordinate amounts of money, a luxury the company doesn’t have right now.”
For the first several months of this year, TWTR stock climbed steadily to highs above $50 per share. But shares tanked more than 20% the day following the company’s abysmal first-quarter report, and they’re off roughly 50% since that time.

Investors have yet to see signs of a recovery.

The number of monthly active users on Twitter has stagnated at about 300 million, and Business Insider speculated that the quality of TWTR users is deteriorating. Research reports have illustrated that not only is the number of Twitter users significantly fewer than the number of Facebook users, but that the proportion of people using those services is basically unchanged since September 2014. In short: Twitter has a growth issue.

Bottom Line on TWTR Stock and Twitter Photo Upgrades

Much of Twitter’s current malaise is probably attributable to the company’s CEO woes. Unfortunately for TWTR, finding someone with the proper insight, innovation and charisma to fill the role will be an exhausting challenge. Meanwhile, without proper leadership and direction, the company will continue to lose money and TWTR stock will continue to tumble.

Currently, TWTR trades slightly above its $26 IPO price, but unless something extremely impressive or awe-inspiring happens in the near future, that $26 floor won’t be the floor for much longer. Here’s Executive Editor Jeff Reeves on the subject:
"To sum this all up in less than 140 characters: ‘Twitter unprofitable w flat users, valued at per-user premium over Insta & WhatsApp.’ Put another way, why pay $18 billion for a company that could be worth $12 billion next year?"
One thing is certain — adding a plethora of corny stickers and a handful of fancy effects to Twitter photos isn’t going to bring droves of users back to the platform.

Article originally appeared on InvestorPlace (09/02/2015)

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