I remember back in the early days of social media when the
word “Twitter” made everyone raise a skeptical eyebrow. All too often I was asked:
“What is a tweet? And what is the point of using Twitter?”
Millions of users and several years later, Twitter has
become a ubiquitous force in driving information and conversation. Hashtags are
everywhere: on the television screen during football games, touted during
Hollywood awards shows, attached to print ads, products and the subject of hilarious
Saturday Night Live skits.
Twitter has not only changed the way we talk to each other
online, it has changed the way we talk. Period.
After submitting its IPO
to the SEC, Twitter has taken the first step towards becoming a publicly
traded company on the stock market. Twitter’s IPO is important for a number of
reasons. First, it elevates the company to the status of other tech giants who
have taken the same leap such as Google, Facebook and Apple. Second, it will
allow Twitter to prove itself in the marketplace and thus, continue to change
the information economy more than ever before. The IPO will help Twitter
innovate and we, the users, will benefit.
As Twitter replaces the idea of a traditional newspaper,
it will maintain its relevancy in the market place. Twitter could
capitalize on this by creating partnerships with publishers to provide a
personalized homepage of news to users who want it.
Given the ability to target elites and influencers on
Twitter through ads, the use of Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts will
likely increase and continue to make the company profitable. While Twitter’s ad
product is often seen as a less efficient platform compared with Facebook or
Google, the ability to reach the people you want in Hollywood, DC or New York where
they live online – and with a controlled message – is incredibly exciting to
brands. Twitter’s ad product lets you get in front of elite individuals with
more certainty than almost any other online platform given that we know reporters, politicians and celebrities use Twitter themselves and we can target
the followers of accounts that they are likely to read.
Additionally, we’ve already heard how Twitter
surveys can help gauge public opinion. Brands are only beginning to scratch
the surface of Twitter’s ability to act as a tool to capture the national
zeitgeist around elections, public policy, and consumer habits. Clearly, there
are a lot of different ways that Twitter can monetize itself in the future
while expanding its platform and user base.
While some people like Farhad
Manjoo at The Wall Street Journal are afraid that the IPO will dilute
Twitter’s spontaneous, weird and wonderful personality, I’m more hopeful. I’m
eager to see the evolution of the company post-IPO and how the IPO will make
Twitter more accessible to consumers who may have shied away from it before,
therefore offering more opportunities for expanded storytelling and sharing.