Twitter and Facebook face trouble as they focus on money instead of users

Lord Sugar Tweets about FacebookFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing calls for his resignation. The company’s share price has fallen to less than half of what it was originally, just in a month. And businessman Lord Sugar has been busy Tweeting his views on the Facebook IPO. And lawyers are already reportedly lining up to sue the company and its bankers for allegedly misleading the market when the company was launched.

Meanwhile, as all this brouhaha is going on the folks at Twitter are busy annoying people too. They have just changed the rules on who can access their service to provide add-ons and Twitter services. Basically, if you are company such as HootSuite you are OK for a while, but then your business will be capped. If you are not already in the business of using Twitter in an app or on a website, well tough; the new rules mean you cannot.

But the Facebook mess and the Twitter arguments are both borne out of the same foundations. Behind the flotation of Facebook and the new restrictions of Twitter is one thing – the desire to make money. And therein lies the problem for both companies.

Twitter has seriously annoyed the developer community – people who actually help bring traffic to Twitter and who help promote it. You can be sure that several of those developers will get together and produce a Twitter competitor.

Facebook could also be taking its eye off the ball; early data suggests that it is losing its monopoly in the “friending” and “liking” social space with people shifting to new services.

It is all a familiar tale which we have seen with many businesses. As soon as you stop focusing on serving your customers and focus instead on making money, that’s when the trouble begins.

For all its faults, Google learned this lesson some time ago. Even though its users do not pay it a penny for its search service the company is well aware that if it does not continue to improve and work on that service, its users will desert it. Focusing on the bit of the business that does not make money is the reason why Google actually makes money.

The Twitter and Facebook problems should be a lesson to us all; focus on customers and their needs and the money will follow – focus on the money and trouble arrives.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
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Graham Jones

2 thoughts on “Twitter and Facebook face trouble as they focus on money instead of users

  1. I fear that Facebook has rather painted itself into a corner by allowing the hype over their flotation reach fever pitch. the only way they can justify themselves to investors now is by letting advertisers intrude further into the user experience…something which will undoubtedly annoy users more and feed back into the problem.

    • You make a good point Joey. As Facebook attempts to make more money to satisfy the investors it will undoubtedly annoy users – there is already some evidence of the beginnings of a backlash.

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