Was the outage Twitter suffered last week on web and mobile a sign of things to come? Less than a week ago (Tuesday January 19th) the service was unavailable for user worldwide, apparently caused by serious access problems with error messages warning the network was both over capacity and suffering an ‘internal error’. It has added to the recent fortunes for Twitter, and to speculation as to where Jack Dorsey, who recently returned to the company as CEO will be taking the company he founded 10 years ago. The aim of his recent return is to make sweeping changes, with the potential of removing the 140-character limit that has came to define the service now a real reality.
What will this mean for Twitter? With changes in mind, it has been changes that we have seen, but unfortunately not to the service. The changes have been to staff. It has been reported that since Jack Dorsey returned he has spent much of his time sitting down with unhappy colleagues, trying to persuade them to stay at the company. Today, it was revealed that yet more members of the team will depart. Head of product, Kevin Weil and head of media, Katie Jacobs Stanton are to leave the social network in the coming weeks, as is Twitter’s head of engineering, Alex Roetter. The last of this most recent exodus will see Skip Schipper who was responsible for HR also leave.
In a Tweet, CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed the departures following rumours in the press. He said “All four will be taking some well-deserved time off. I’m personally grateful to each of them for everything they’re contributed to Twitter and our purpose in the world. They are phenomenal people!”. There was no further explanation for the parting of these executives but it has fuelled more speculation regarding the health of the social giant. Shares in Twitter have fallen almost 60% over the past 12 months so an even greater change might well be needed. Jason Toff, head of Vine will also be leaving the company for Google.
Head of media, Katie Jacobs Stanton has said that the decision to resign had come down to time and wanting to put more energy into her family. She said “The world needs Twitter and while I will turn in my badge in a few weeks, I will keep rooting (and tweeting!) for Twitter's continued success." It might not just be Katie that needs to keep rooting for (and tweeting!) for Twitter. The company has continued to struggle with growth and to satisfy investors. With more change on the way it will be the popularity of new platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram that also shape what Twitter will become.