Whither, Twitter?

The question always comes up in about the same way whenever I have a new client seeking social media advice.

Client: “I don’t get Twitter. Can you explain it to me?”
Me: “It’s like a personalized news ticker and public chatroom.”
Client: “That’s it? That’s all there is to it? Why is there all the hype?”

At this point, we have less dialogue and more handwaving. People who aren’t on twitter already don’t “get it” and will probably never become users. That’s reflected in their falling growth rate, down to 4% each quarter. And it’s starting to show up in their stock price now that the six month lockup period is over, allowing insiders a chance to sell. It’s below $33 a share, down 25% from the first day of the IPO last November. It’s worth about $19B total, about the same as Facebook’s tab to buy WhatsApp.

Is Twitter dead? No, MySpace and AOL are still around – but that’s where it’s headed at this rate.

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Urbi et Tweeti

Can twitter save the world?  Probably not.  But when the tweets are “Urbi et Orbi” it’s pretty likely they will be retweeted.

Over the last six weeks Pope Francis (@Pontifex) has delivered 140 characters of worldly homily nearly every day, but none of them have been as noticed as his message for 2 May – “My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost.”  A small firestorm was created on the ‘net … well, the usual internet people behaved in an internet way about it and got their 140 getback.  Whatever.  But what matters is that Pope Francis is emerging as a leader for the rights of the downtrodden at a time when such leaders are needed – and is emphasizing things that reach out to embrace a slightly bigger world of the meek.

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