Why tweaking Skype and Twitter is too little, too late and what that means for all of us

Interesting to note that:

  • Skype has been redesigned from the ground up and a new version will be rolled out over the months ahead, starting with Android users (after all, Skype is owned by Microsoft) and then heading towards IOS and Mac users later on – it’s turning into a messaging and e-commerce app;
  • Instagram has announced new features that will clearly identify those who are using the platform to sell – it’s turning into a messaging and e-commerce app;
  • Twitter is reinventing itself this week with a new look and added functionality – it’s turning into a messaging and e-commerce app;
  • Linkedin is trying very hard to encourage more day to day users by adding more functionality and a user-friendly mobile interface – it’s turning into a messaging and e-commerce app.

I have to admit that I don’t even know what’s going on in the WhatsApp and Snapchat worlds, as I don’t live there. Where is Google+ in all this – who knows?

This all sounds very good for the end user but a closer look reveals that all of these platforms are gradually morphing into copies of each other – with simple objectives in mind:

  • They all want to become the ONE place where we post photographs and videos that record our day to day experiences – a diary of our lives;
  • They all want us to add emoji and comments and then invite our “friends” to do the same (the world’s most popular emoji is? 😂);
  • They all want us to check in at locations and write reviews;
  • They all want us to use their platform for e-commerce transactions that, over time, will increase in complexity (“Book my dental appointments on Instagram? Don’t be stupid – that’ll never happen”)

It therefore appears that these businesses are taking the view that our collective future involves spending large chunks of the day glued to a smartphone or wearable device, communicating with virtual connections in hieroglyphics and using social platforms to carry out most of our commercial necessities of life – oh, and probably wearing AR devices to boot (OK – head).

In this dystopian future, one wonders whether there will be some sections of the population who choose rarely or never to get off their sofas. A debate for another day.

However, there is one behemoth of a company that we haven’t yet mentioned and who, IMHO, are promoting all of this somewhat panicked product development from platforms that have been resting on their laurels for rather too long.


I’ve commented before on the plans that our favourite dentist’s son has for us.

My sense is that Skype, Twitter, Linkedin and others are doing too little, too late – that the race has already been won.

Bearing in mind that Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook, we can see them as a testing ground for the mother ship.

When Facebook say that Messenger is going to become THE primary social and e-commerce platform over the next 5 years, they mean it and have $65 billion of resources so to do.

Add in Apple’s $250 billion of cash and their continuous improvements to IOS and that makes them two of the most powerful organisations in the world who will most likely define the functionality and technology of the world we are going to live in.

I pitch up to ICDE2017 in Leicester later today, to join the crowd in “ooh-ing and aah-ing” at the latest offerings in the digital dental world.

When I take to the stage on Saturday morning to share the latest trends in internal digital marketing, I’ll be mindful that equipment and software are very cool but the biggest revolution since the Industrial isn’t going to be machines making teeth, not even the Information Revolution of the last half-century.

We have begun our journey into the Data Revolution described by Professor Yuval Noah Harari in his book Homo Deus.

One of my favourite quotes this year from Wired magazine:

Every company is a tech company if they want to be around in 5 years time. The question is, “what do you do with the tech?”

Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “Why tweaking Skype and Twitter is too little, too late and what that means for all of us”

  1. Dental appointments on Instagram? If it doesn’t already happen, then it’s just a matter of time.

    There is no doubt. I sorted out most of my holidays online, booking multiple lodgings and car hire and fun from laptop and phone. (It might have been more cost effective use of time to outsource that to someone else, but I’d have to be so prescriptive to them it might not have saved that much time.)

    Except for one location, where the hotel didn’t do online bookings. That turned out to be the best stay of the trip.

    The other thing I find is that for smaller hotels, when I get a price online, I’d call the place and see what their own price is. Sometimes it’s better sometimes not. I don’t know if that’s typical behaviour, or do most people just plump with the price offered by Trivago or the like.

    But what I like about people making appointments on Instagram or the like is that- if they accept what they find on the internet – they’ll probably accept that we’re booked up at the time and date they want and they can find the next best one that suits them. This would mean my team don’t get hassled because I can’t offer one person an appointment that another person already has.

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