#Twitter Teeters

twitter-logo-birdHate to be a marketing magpie, but this shiny object caught my eye recently.

John McDuling’s online article “Inside Twitter’s Plan to Fix Itself” examines the social media giant’s plans to revive its flagging fortunes to keep investors who bought into the bird’s public offering at $70 a share, from looking like twits as the stock continues its four-month slide toward half its original offering price.

Falling behind Facebook in unique, active users and barely ahead of newcomer Instagram, Twitter is suffering a serious identity crisis. Created for the social chatter of friends, touching base in 140-character bursts, the medium found its niche as a news ticker, perhaps best known for its role as the first with the most on the Arab Spring and the Boston Marathon bombing, and as a celebrity gossip sheet, #mileycyrus, #justinbieber, #katyperry.

Ask a teen or twenty-something whether they use Twitter, and they’ll roll their eyes as grimace as if you’d asked them to try on a pair of mom jeans.

Twitter’s CEO has promiseda makeover to align the medium with its evolving user base. And plans are in the works to evangelize fallen robins, former tweeters who have forsaken the bird for newer, hipper e-virons. That’s Marketing 101—the idea that former fans are more easily re-won than customers that have never seen any reason to do business with you.

Some would suggest, however, and I’m inclined to agree, that in the fickle world of modern media, you’re almost better off starting with a tabla rasa, a clean slate, than trying to re-engage someone who has already judged and found you wanting—witness newspapers, AOL, and myspace.