How Snapchat and Stephen Fry can save Twitter

Unfortunately for Twitter, investors are a restless bunch and likely to demand instant results. So what can Twitter do? Every few months there are stories about Twitter turmoil… so is there anything more drastic that could be done to break this cycle?

One possible quick fix would be an acquisition. One of the ways Facebook has managed to continue growing is by buying up any trendy companies that could threaten it. Over the last few years it has gobbled up Instagram, WhatsApp, and even Oculus VR.


Twitter, meanwhile, has seemingly been less ambitious. Periscope and Vine are the most notable acquisitions, but where else could the company look? A messenger app would have obvious synergies. Twitter is the public channel, the messenger is the private channel and that's all of your communication needs taken care of.

One obvious company to snap up would be Snapchat. The self-destructing messaging app is the only major messaging app that hasn't already been consumed by a larger company. However, Twitter might struggle to raise the cash to buy it, given that it's estimated to be worth around $10bn – not much less than Twitter's overall valuation of around $12bn.

Perhaps Twitter should try to persuade the Japanese owners of messaging app Line to sell? While this app isn't very well known in the west, it is one of the biggest apps in Asia – particularly Japan, where it has over 200m users.

The Japanese appeal would be particularly relevant, as it's third-biggest country in terms of Twitter users (after the USA and Brazil).

The other alternative would be for Twitter to go the other way entirely, and put itself up for sale and hope that Google, Facebook, or whatever suitor ends up buying it is able to make better use of it. Simply typing this, I can already feel Twitter's existing power users twitching nervously.


There is one crazy option, which I posit with tongue planted firmly in cheek: nationalise Twitter.

Think about it: it's a major tool, that has already proved its global importance. The world would be a worse place if we didn't have it – yet it appears to be financially unsustainable. So why can't a government buy it up and run it as a public good?

That way, there would be no need to worry about making a profit, and given that government bureaucracies tend to work slower than private companies, there wouldn't be many new features appearing… which would suit Twitter's existing user base just fine.

The only problem would be that Twitter is an international tool, so which government should own it? Perhaps it's time to send in the blue helmets of the United Nations, and have an international institution take control of this difficult and frustrating mess.