Twitter And The Language Of Wall Street

With Twitter earnings out and the company’s IPO lockup period set to expire early next week (May 6), there’s a lot of chatter about Twitter (especially on Twitter). I have been pretty vocal (on this blog) as an addicted user of the service and fan of Twitter that I think fundamentally Twitter can start to harvest incredible economic value from its current engaged user base versus going gangbusters for growth right now. Anyway, no one is going to listen to that argument, so instead, I thought I’d offer an example of a positive, powerful narrative that Twitter executives could leverage, not only during their quarterly calls with analysts, but day in and day out as a matter of business communications. Essentially, I’d like to see Twitter frame the conversation, and right now, they’re being framed. I didn’t think this over too much, so just writing the words as they drip off my fingertips:

“To set the table, Twitter is not like Facebook and therefore can’t be compared to it. Facebook is a tremendous company with a bright future. Twitter is, too, but not for the reasons you may currently think. Because Facebook is such a worldwide success, our success at Twitter has lumped us into a small category, but that categorization comes at a cost, a cost which can result in misaligned assumptions about what drives our core business versus other seemingly “similar” businesses. Here’s how we, at Twitter, view Twitter — we have built (and continue to build) the most pervasive network of real-time information and content generated entirely by users. This information often becomes media, and media captures our attention, especially if it’s real-time and current. For instance, think of each tweet as a piece of content — we enable anyone to take that content and embed it across the web in various forms, and we also have the technology to close the loop on that traffic and help publishers and advertisers better understand who is interacting with their content and their brands across a range of interests and geographies. And, this is just on the web. In mobile, one could argue Twitter is natively a mobile company. Our ad spots look and feel completely native, an in-stream experience that doesn’t corrupt user experience in any way, shape, or form. While many companies struggle with mobile distribution, we have a strong foundation built over the years. If a public investor is looking for exposure in the “mobile” sector, there aren’t many options in the public market despite the insane growth rate of devices and consumer attention on these devices. So, it is early. In a way, Twitter wasn’t supposed to happen. Almost accidentally, it turned from a project into a product and then into a company. We are aware of the things we need to fix and improve — ranging from our growth strategy to our revenue projections to our design. That said, Twitter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it likely has more staying power than most mobile-focused products in the market. This may be our strongest metric of all.”

Haywire is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2014 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus