In 140 characters or less, the term "colossal failure" seems an appropriate description of Twitter Inc.'s (TWTR) 2016 campaign. That, however, would imply that the embattled social network company, which lost almost 40% of its value in 2015, entered 2016 with high expectations. That wasn't the case. All Twitter had to do in 2016 was not screw things up more than it already had. 

Was this accomplished? Twitter stock lost almost 30% in 2016, driven by the ongoing chaos at the company. CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, who returned to the company in October of last year, had his hands full. And depending on who you ask, Dorsey's dual role as CEO of Square Inc. (SQ) is part of the problem. Things are certain to change in 2017. But before those predictions can be made, let's reflect on Twitter's wild 2016 timeline that brought us to this point.

January 2016 - The first sign of the degree of turmoil that would be thematic of Twitter's 2016, Dorsey tweeted that Katie Jacobs Stanton, Twitter's media chief; Kevin Weil, product head; Alex Roetter, the head of Twitter's engineering division; and Brian Schipper, its top HR executive, will all leave the company. In doing so, Dorsey proclaimed, “All four will be taking some well-deserved time off.” We soon learned that Dorsey, who saw some 60% of Twitter's executives bail on the company, would keep blank pink slips in his back pocket. Twitter stock ended January at $16.80, already losing 27% on the year. (For more, see also: Twitter CEO Confirms Departure of Four Top Executives.)

February 2016 - Twitter's deficits, including its inability to grow its user base and develop its platform, was a focus on the company's fourth quarter earnings report. Though Q4 2015 EPS of 16 cents per share beat forecasts by 4 cents, Twitter continued to hemorrhage user growth. Monthly active users fell to 305 million, down from 307 million in Q3, sparking fears of MySpace 2.0. Twitter stock ended February at $18.12, down 22% on the year.

March 2016 - Twitter turned 10 years old. With rumors about its acquisition beginning to swirl, Dorsey aimed to change the narrative about how Twitter should be perceived, saying people should think of Twitter as a way to see what's happening not only in the world, but get real-time experiences about live events. But with user-engagement still on the decline, analysts question whether Twitter will live to be 15 or 20 years of age. Twitter stock ended March at $16.55, down 28.5% on the year.

April 2016 - Twitter catches a pass from NFL, disclosing it had won the online streaming rights for the National Football League's "Thursday Night Football" programing for the 2016 season. Twitter's deal with the NFL was a big step in trying to secure not only NFL fans, but also help Twitter gain insight into the league's success with advertisers. But Twitter's first quarter earnings was the main story. Although Q1 MAU reached a net of 5 million, up 3% year over year, revenue came at the low end, disappointing the Street. Twitter stock ended April at $16.55, down 37% on the year. (For related reading, see: Twitter Stock Punished Despite User Growth, EPS Beat.)

May 2016 - Two more executives left the company, sending the stock to an all-time low of $13.73. Twitter held its annual shareholder meeting at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, announcing some major changes. Shareholders voted on several items, including approving Twitter's equity plan, which gave Dorsey more flexibility to make leadership changes without restrictions to compensation—a power Dorsey would use many more times during the year. Twitter stock ended May at $15.22, down 34% on the year.

June 2016 - Snapchat officially passed Twitter in daily active users, sparking more fears of Twitter's struggles. Reports surfaced that Twitter once held talks with Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) about a merger. But Twitter itself was on the M&A hunt, announcing it had acquired Magic Pony, a machine learning company and it confirmed it had invested in Berlin-based music sharing company SoundCloud. Twitter stock ended June at $16.91, down 27% on the year.

July 2016 - Twitter doubles down on sports. After saying it experienced higher-than-expected demand for advertising for the NFL games it plans to air this season, Twitter entered talks with the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and cable network Turner Broadcasting to determine how it can acquire digital streaming rights for live sports. But weak Q2 earnings and monthly active user growth of just 3% sent the shares down 9%. Twitter stock ended July at $16.64, down 28% on the year.

August 2016 - After only six months on the job, Natalie Kerris, Twitter's head of communications, announced her resignation, continuing the ongoing exodus of high-level executives. But the stock rose more than 7% amid heightened M&A speculation. Twitter co-founder Ev Williams fanned the flames by telling Bloomberg that the company must consider all options for a takeover. Names such as Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and Inc. (CRM) emerged as potential suitors. Twitter stock ended August at $19.21, down 17% on the year.

September 2016 - Twitter shares rose as much as 3% to $20.14 on reports that the company's board of directors is scheduled to meet to discuss a possible sale. But analysts remained skeptical. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey's Robert Peck proclaimed a Twitter deal won't happen this year. His comments come as Twitter shares have shot up 30% in three months purely on M&A rumors. Peck would be proven correct. Twitter stock ended September at $23.05, recovering all of its losses on the year. (For related reading, see: Twitter's Board to Meet to Discuss Possible Sale.)

October 2016 - Twitters shares got punished, falling as much as 6.4% after the company's board of directors meeting concluded with the emergence of no credible M&A contenders., which kicked Twitter's tires, ultimately decided Twitter didn't fit its image. The Walt Disney Company (DIS) reportedly decided against a deal because of the pervasive bullying that occurs on the platform. And despite modest improvement in its third quarter results, combined with an announced 9% reduction in its workforce, Twitter shares lost some 20% in October, ending at $17.95.

November 2016 - Adam Bain, chief operating officer, resigns from the company. Bain, who had been with the company for six years, was replaced by chief financial officer, Anthony Noto. But as the presidential election ramps up, Twitter shares perked up too, rising some 7% from the end of October, thanks to Donald Trump's tweets. Investors also felt more confident after hedge fund Jana Partners revealed it acquired 2.9 million shares, or about 0.5% of the company. (For more, see also: Twitter Stock Up as Jana Partners Takes Stake.)

On the heels of Trump's surprise victory, the issue of fake news also emerged and the role Twitter—along with Facebook Inc. (FB)—played in getting him elected. Likewise, fresh of criticism of hate-speech bullying on its platform, Twitter unveiled a muted words feature and purged or suspended several user accounts it believes violated its acceptable use policy. Twitter stock ended November at $18.49, down 20% on the year.

December 2016 - Twitter hires Keith Coleman, a longtime product manager at Google, as new VP of Product, finally filling the role vacated by Kevin Weil, who—as we mentioned on January's timeline—resigned. Coleman's appointment is the result of Twitter acquiring his startup, Yes, Inc. Coleman becomes Twitter's fifth product chief since 2014. Two weeks later, however, Twitter lost one more high-level executive after CTO Adam Messinger, a five-year veteran, announced he was leaving the company.

The Bottom Line

Twitter shares closed Friday at $16.50. The stock has lost some 29% of its value in 2016, compared to respective increases of 14% and 11% in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX). It remains to be seen how it will fair in 2017. But one thing is certain, Twitter will provide something interesting to discuss each month. 

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