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Sean Parker: The Media Built Twitter, and Now It's Bringing It Down

Will Twitter survive?

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The media giveth, and the media taketh away.

That was the gist of longtime entrepreneur Sean Parker’s analysis for why Twitter is struggling so mightily right now. The company is still dealing with the aftermath of a year-long stock slide and the prospect that its user base has peaked.

When Bloomberg’s Emily Chang asked Parker, former president of Facebook and Napster co-founder, whether or not he thought Twitter would survive, he sidestepped the question by offering up a pretty insightful explanation for its struggles.

The key challenge, according to Parker, is that Twitter grew quickly thanks to the media and celebrity users. And having a user base built by the media and celebrity users doesn’t help much when it comes to connecting people, as Facebook does. (I agree, and actually made a similar argument last month.)

Here’s how Parker described Twitter’s current dilemma to Bloomberg.

Twitter is a victim of their own success in so many ways. They are a company that — had it not been for the media’s infatuation with Twitter — Twitter never would have built an enormous user base. But that came at a cost. And the cost was the lack of deep, close-knit community between its users.

Twitter was never an accurate reflection of your real social network. It didn’t have the same level of intimate interaction. I don’t think Twitter would’ve existed had it not been for its relationship with celebrity and media. But at the same time, I think its relationship with celebrity and media is its biggest weakness.

Makes sense. The biggest criticism of Twitter for some time now is that its product doesn’t relate well to regular people. And, for the most part, media and celebrities are not regular people. It’s the problem Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey are now trying to address.

We’re looking for the video of Parker’s interview and will drop it here when we find it.

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