November 7, 2013Published by: Drew Benvie

Some thoughts on our future with Twitter on IPO day

Courtesy of The Guardian

Right now Twitter is experiencing its first day as a public company, its shares trading on Wall Street and the world turning its gaze on the hottest tech ticket in town. I thought I would share some of my thoughts on Twitter's existence to date and the possibilities it could bring in the future.

My personal experience of Twitter goes way back to when it was first invented. I began using it in 2006, although I found it rather a blunt instrument back then... this tweet of mine from January 2007, the earliest one I can find online, shows the difficulty I had. But soon after that, it all began to catch on. For me at least.

You can see from as early as May 2007, I was a cheerleader for the new social network. I even said back then that I thought it had the potential to bring change to the social media landscape. Something that most around me that would tolerate my ramblings did not agree with for a good two years after...

Now there is no ignoring Twitter's impact on the way people, businesses and governments communicate, engage and transact. At present, Twitter's IPO has pegged the value of the company at around $31 billion, with shares 30 times oversubscribed opening at $45.10 and reaching highs of $50.  I won't go in-depth on the financials, there are plenty of markets experts who can do that (The Guardian is covering the IPO in a good live blog here). But I thought I would say a few things about Twitter's achievements to date and its potential in the future as a communications platform, as communications advisory is what I get paid to do for a job.

  • Twitter has fundamentally shifted how businesses communicate with the markets, with their customers and with the media. You can see in Battenhall's FTSE 100 Twitter report from September this year just how much. the disruption we are seeing around us due to Twitter and other social media is bringing huge amounts of change in good and bad ways for brands (for bad - think the social media crisis).
  • The way that Twitter opens up conversations to make messaging social has transformed how we want to keep in touch with one another, and you can see this across the board, from how celebrities engage with fans to how teens keep in touch with one another.
  • Brands want in on the action, and Twitter's advertising options are still in their infancy. Currently you can only advertise in the stream, in trending topics, in search results and under 'who to follow', none of which are obtrusive or obvious to many. We will see huge changes here in the future as Twitter flips the revenue switches.
  • To the beginner, Twitter is still not very easy to use. We should expect to see big changes here, as Twitter goes even more mainstream. Expect to see the way functions such as Lists, DMs, @replies and hashtags work change a great deal in the future.
  • Twitter should be seen as a new infrastructure, and not just a social network. Look at this way and you will see there is a lot more disruption to come. Already the service has changed communications amongst consumers and for brands and the media. What comes next will bring changes to all aspects of technology and digital in our day to day lives and in business. Just look at what some of Twitter's founders are up to now and you will get an idea of what's coming next.

Personally I am really excited about how Twitter, something that I once saw as a shiny new thing, is being seen on a huge platform as a force for good, for change and as a substantial business in its own right. I can see the future innovation that it will bring and I cant wait to see how the world will change with it.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

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