MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Twitter is #Indispensable

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Twitter.  Everyone knows what it is. Everyone has an opinion as their future viability.  The company went public with much fanfare. The stock opened at $26, climbed to the $70 range and sunk back to $30.  It's now stabilizing, but the question remains - can Twitter hang in there for the long haul?  I'm not a power user of Twitter, nor do I have any financial stake in Twitter. Yet, I find Twitter to be more and more compelling.  

Here's what i like about Twitter. It has taught all of us how to communicate concisely. It's that simple. We've all had to learn how to communicate in 140 characters or less. And that includes any url links or hashtags! I just listened to a report on how to make sure your email is read. In short (pun intended), be direct, be clear, be succinct. It sounds liked Twitter is influencing email.

Twitter is enabling and influencing more than individuals.  It provides personal context to the topics of our day. Twitter has changed the shape of news, politics, sports, TV viewing and business communication.

News:  Twitter has become the source for breaking news. It is so much an accepted force that broadcasters and journalists not only own their own twitter accounts. Twitter is not only incorporated into their reporting, it is now used to get the news out and track audience opinion and interest. It is used to determine the level of reporting associated with breaking or ongoing news topics.

Politics: Then candidate Barack Obama may arguably have been the first politician to capitalize on the power of social media, but the role of Twitter in politics is now, not only acknowledged, it is embraced - until it becomes embarrassing (remember Anthony Weiner?). Twitter helped power the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. It is such a recognized communication tool that some countries have banned Twitter.  These countries include Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, China, and North Korea.

Sports:  Most professional leagues/teams and college sports programs (e.g., MLB, NFL, NBA, ChampionsLeague, FIFAWorldCup, USOlympics, GoDiplomats, etc.) have active accounts, as do over half of professional athletes. However, the real power of Twitter for sports is in the hands of the fans. The largest spikes in Twitter use surround big sporting events like the SuperBowl, Olympics and the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

TV: This may be where Twitter's influence leading to revenue generation. As Twitter prepared for its IPO, it announced deals with the NFL, Comcast and Nielsen. Twitter, through its acquisition of Amplify, can distribute videos.  However, Twitter users can also click on the "See It" button for certain programs and obtain more information, or watch content on their device.

Business: Twitter has forever changed the nature of business communication. Is there a company, large or small, that does not have a Twitter account? It used to be that a website was the requirement for proving you had a business. Now, it's about both the website (many times as a repository for longer form content) and Twitter. Both B2C and B2B companies tweet to share information, invite engagement, encourage participation and measure customer experience. 

Twitter has become the norm. It is as institutionalized as email when it comes to a form of communication. The difference is that the data in Twitter is extractable and has value. Thus Twitter's acquisitions of Blue Fin Labs and Gnip among many others. Twitter's revenue potential is dependent on monetizing data for advertising, for customer intelligence, for market trends, for consumer insight.

While Twitter subscriber growth is slowing and usage is down (likely due to user inability easily sift through the "noise" to find the "right" content), what other platform has insinuated its way into our daily lives in so many ways? 

What's your perspective?