The good ol’ days at Twitter may be gone. The social media site with 316 million users lags pretty far behind other social sites, like Facebook (1.5 billion users) and Facebook-owned Instagram (400 million users).
Twitter’s bigger problem may just be that it lacks a clear-cut place in the social media universe. It’s not a search site like Google, or an all-day hangout like Facebook, or a place to post photos like Instagram, or even a disappearing chat like Snapchat.
Twitter’s unclear place in social media has hurt it, seriously in fact. This year, it’s stock market value is down 20%, and it went through a long stretch with no CEO earlier this year.
Which is why Twitter is ramping up its competitive side, including hiring away Omid Kordestani from Google this week. Kordestani was Google’s highest-paid employee, with salary, stocks and other incentives valued at some $130 million. A year.
More than that, Kordestani is described by many people as the “soul of Google.” He was an original employee at the No. 1 search engine, and his return last year to that company after he had left the company five years earlier, which was widely seen in Silicon Valley as a critical move by Google to strengthen its executive team.
As it turns out, while Kordestani is leaving Google for Twitter, he may not be completely breaking ties with Google. Google and Twitter have had an alliance over the years, and that may be ramping up now that Kordestani is there.
Google and Twitter together have something to gain from an alliance: specifically, competing with Facebook. In addition to being a social media giant, Facebook is increasingly an outlet for people to read news, shop (as they do on Amazon), and to watch videos, like you now do on Google’s YouTube.
Twitter is in the early stages of an overhaul. Over the summer, the company’s co-founder Jack Dorsey was hired as its permanent CEO. In short order, he laid off about 8% of Twitter’s workforce and he gave Twitter’s revenue chief Adam Bain a promotion to COO.
He also introduced Moments, which takes Twitter’s sometimes dizzying number of 140-character user posts and curates them into a neat package of pictures and posts, that gives an overview of the day’s news. (Note: Twitter’s 140-character limit could soon be a thing of the past.)
Only time will tell if Kordestani’s move from Google to Twitter proves beneficial to the company. In the meantime, we’ll be on the lookout for his salary, which Twitter has so far not revealed.