Jack Dorsey is resigning from Twitter to spend more time with his other company, Square. In some ways, the choice between Twitter and Square is a straight choice between political clout and profit. Square, a payments platform co-founded by Dorsey in 2009, is worth almost three times Twitter’s current value at about $97bn (£73bn). But Square will never be credited with the equivalent of the “Twitter revolution”, or make headlines by banning a former president.
Venture capital is pouring money into cryptocurrencies and payment platforms. Twitter, by contrast, having only started to become profitable since 2018, has always been more notable for its political impact than its commercial pull. However, Twitter, like the wider social industry of which it is a part, may be experiencing the limits of its growth. In terms of commercial reach, Twitter is no competition for industry giants such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and TikTok, which each have well over a billion users. But even Facebook and Instagram are slowing down.
Generation Z is turning off the major platforms. Downloads of Facebook and Instagram have been declining, according to a Bank of America report published in 2019. Both Twitter and Facebook have been losing ground with businesses due to this demographic shift in demand. By capitalising on the rise of video-sharing, TikTok has captured a much younger audience than Facebook or Twitter. Some businesses are also abandoning social media entirely, from fashion house Bottega Veneta, to Tesla, Lush and JD Wetherspoon.
It makes sense that investors are looking for the next big thing from tech, and that social media bosses would be searching for ways to profit from the cryptocurrency bubble. Before he left, Dorsey had been trying to expand Twitter into offering crypto-based payments and non-fungible token services. His replacement as CEO, Parag Agrawal, was tasked with developing Twitter’s crypto strategy, and it seems likely tha...