The Twitter Contradiction

So everyone around here knows I’m bullish on Twitter and we own a lot of stock. So take all of this in that context please.

I just don’t understand the narrative around Twitter. “It is in trouble. It isn’t growing. It’s time has come and gone. The kids all use Snapchat and Instagram.”

That last part is true, to a degree. But it isn’t as simple as that.

The presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States has largely conducted his campaign on Twitter and in massive public appearances that feel like rock concerts. He has avoided the traditional media channels and taken his message direct to the people on Twitter. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not on Snapchat. Not on Pinterest. Not on his website or mobile app. On Twitter.

My brother in law and I watched the best basketball game of the year so far on Saturday night. Steph Curry was unreal. And he won it with a few seconds left in overtime with a bomb from something like 40 feet that everyone knew was going in. And what happened next?


And this:

And this:

Steph’s opponents expressed their appreciation for what he is doing on Twitter in the moment. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not on Snapchat. Not anywhere else. And you don’t have to be on Twitter to see that. You can see that here and many other places.

Here’s the thing about Twitter. You don’t need to be logged into Twitter to see these tweets. You can see them on Twitter logged out. Or you can see them embedded in other places on web and mobile or on TV and elsewhere. You only need to be logged into Twitter to tweet.

So anyone who is focusing on the logged in monthly active user number is missing something bigger. Twitter is where people who have something to say go to say it. And right now we are witnessing Twitter being used for what is arguably the biggest thing out there. A run for President of the United States.

That is the contradiction of Twitter.

#Current Affairs#Politics#stocks

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jess Bachman

    Kind of like the magazines at the grocery store checkout. A quick glance of the covers and I get the jist of all the gossip and hullabaloo. I don’t need to pick them up and I certainly don’t need to buy them. That’s not earning the publishers any money. The true beneficiaries are the celebs themselves. Thats twitter.

    1. LE

      One of the reason that I still read print newspapers. I also scan the web pages of several major local and national papers to see what they are featuring.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        where space is limited, what space is devoted to is a meaningful signal, yes. once upon a time, before endless scrolling, the internet still spoke of “above the fold,”

  2. LIAD

    Nobody goes to Twitter anymore.It’s too crowded.

    1. fredwilson

      you are on a roll the past few weeks Liad

      1. LE

        Has already said that he is going to purposely stir the pot for stirring the pots sake. As such while his comment may possibly be correct, the veracity of it needs to be questioned.

        1. Taylor Crane

          I don’t think you got the joke…

          1. LE

            Why don’t you explain to me what the joke is that I missed.

          2. Taylor Crane

            Liad’s joke was a contradiction. Nobody goes to twitter; it’s too crowded.Unless I missed the purpose of your comment…

          3. LE

            My comment relates to what Liad has said in the past about his comments (which perhaps you aren’t aware of) not the contradiction that he made about twitter. As such he has let out a bit of the magicians secret which is typically not a good idea because it can color your opinion of the magic.

          4. Vasudev Ram

            LIAD’s comment was an almost verbatim copy of a Yogi Berra quote. That was the joke, not the contradiction itself, since it already existed (in Yogi’s quote).Google Yogi Berra on Wikipedia.

      2. LE

        And what’s scary is if you believe this you might want to take your haircut on that big position you have.

      3. LIAD

        Only weeks!

    2. Vasudev Ram

      Yogi Berra?Another quote of his is on the tip of my tongue, but stuck there.

    3. Emil Sotirov

      a classic “contradiction”… 🙂

    4. howardlindzon

      Crowded is great if there is a good way for the best to get discovered which I think they are doing a better job of.

    5. jason wright

      not crowded enough for some.”you can’t please all of the people all of the time”…and so don’t bother trying.

    6. Steve_Dodd

      First of all, I love twitter (as do tens of millions of others). Yes, it is “crowded” and therein lies its value. Twitter needs to better focus on helping users identify the subsets of the “crowd” they are interested and how to work with them, in instead of its shareholders. It needs to stop following FANG and be itself. It missed EVERY major social media advancement (ie: private messaging &voip) even though it could have owned each of them and still maintained it’s core “broadcast” value. Why, because “wall street” forced it to forgot about who and what it was (is).

  3. Salt Shaker

    TWTR to me is like the NHL. It has a large, loyal, passionate fan base; games are frequently a sellout; but as evidenced by perpetually low national TV ratings, the sport just doesn’t have the appeal to drive interest from a broader fan universe.

  4. LE

    As I have mentioned I watch the Nightly News (with Lester Holt) almost daily. Not a night goes by without several mentions of twitter. Ditto for other network shows. Also CNBC and MSNBC.As far as the presumptive Republican nominee, he is someone with a clear and commanding knowledge and understanding of how to use communications to his advantage. And in fact this was one of his blockbuster advantages early on in the city in which he was operating. And he did it without a communications department and hand-holding. Bending the press to write and be able to communicate directly to his audience.It’s crystal clear why he is such a big user of twitter. It simply reduces communication friction for him and let’s him deal directly with the decision makers. Which anyone in sales knows is key to getting your point across and closing the deal.

  5. William Mougayar

    Absolutely right. No one “owns real-time” like Twitter.The paradox of Twitter is that it is so powerful, yet Twitter’s ability to further monetize what they have is what is in question.I am bullish on it too, and own some forward positions in it.

    1. Bruce Warila

      “No one “owns real-time” like Twitter” Therein lies the problem. As a job to be done, real-time isn’t important to most people.. “Important news will find me”; I don’t need it sprayed at me via Twitter.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Real time video will be big for them some day.

        1. Bruce Warila

          Seems like people prefer to time-shift their entertainment, and broadcast news (real-time or not) doesn’t seem all that popular these days.. what am I missing?

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            For most news “rational summary with fidelity” seems more valuable than realtime but that “news” function is in very short supply in a ratings/profit driven news market. Maybe Twitter could find some better ways of working that quality news summarizing angle into a coherent cause/effect social narrative/debate timeline .For decade traditional news media have failed miserable to both utilize and educate the public about rational epistemological language and framing tools required to empower a coherently overarching cause/effect social narrative/debate. Instead they have wasted decades simply jumping from spectacle to spectacle providing mostly entertainment with little-to-no collective historical big picture social debate framing/narrative.It is these lost decades of “bankrupt journalism” that now leave the citizenry powerlessly impoverished with no wide spread collective mindset tools for meaningful/rational cause/effect social narrative/debate.As evidence of said “bankrupt journalism” I present to you their focus on electioneering spectacle. They bring no public support for cutting through this childish spectacle with epistemological tools and language that are commensurate with their supposed education or social function/responsibilities !In an age of network-effect accelerated media-ecology some form of disruptive App-driven journalistic framing tools are becoming desperately urgent .Media-ecology :all the ways we use communications technology to influence each other’s ways of thinking, feeling, believing, doingall the way up from natural language through smoke-signals into network-effect Apps.

      2. Drew Meyers

        “real-time isn’t important to most people”Finally, someone who agrees with me :)”the fact of the matter is that most people don’t care what’s happening all over the world, all the time — nor should they.”…

    2. mahemoff

      The funny thing is they have already monetized effectively (funny because normally this would be the concern of an established social product). As long as they improve growth, which they have a clear path for wrt logged-out users and onboarding, they will already be multiplying earnings. Then there’s further engagement via video and long-form.

    3. Twain Twain

      Share price isn’t at $25 by end-Feb as I was calling but it is rising.I spent the w/e at Launch hackathon and learnt something interesting. I’ve done about 8 hackathons in the last year; prior to this, I’d been to none as a hacker and 2 as a judge including Droidcon, the largest Android devcon.My teams have placed Top 3 in 6 hackathons where the product idea and execution originated from and were steered by me. These are with 6 different teams where I was sole common factor.Teams where the product idea wasn’t mine and I have 0 control over UX have won nothing.@fredwilson:disqus — What can this tell us about Twitter as a product? Jack has to be HANDS-ON at every juncture of UX. Once a founder hands over product to someone who doesn’t have their perspective or knowhow about a product’s purpose, audience and how it’s perceived by others … It doesn’t matter how great the engineering and weaving of different technical components is … It won’t fly.

      1. William Mougayar

        wow – you are busy 🙂

        1. Twain Twain

          Being hands-on at hackathons is a great way of learning and benchmarking developer & pitching skills (others & your own) in ways that tech meet ups and conferences can’t.This w/e I met the entire Honda Studios team and Chris Messina, the guy widely credited for inventing Twitter’s hashtag and who did Product Mgmt at Google for 6 years.Ok, team didn’t win any prizes but they’re all great guys and if I hadn’t gone to a hackathon I probably wouldn’t have got to know them, Honda or Chris Messina.

      2. Lawrence Brass

        “Once a founder hands over product to someone who doesn’t have their perspective or knowhow about a product’s purpose, audience and how it’s perceived by others … It doesn’t matter how great the engineering and weaving of different technical components is … It won’t fly.”Just read this Twain, I have been fighting the backlog. I completely agree with you on this. The dream of the founder is usually hard to transfer or duplicate, it is his journey, a construct in his mind that has taken years to materialize.Conventional people don’t understand this.

        1. Twain Twain

          And now Bret Taylor, FB’s former CTO, posted his views about Twitter on Quora today.@fredwilson:disqus @wmoug:disqus @aexm:disqus @le_on_avc:disqus @samedaydr:disqus @philipsugar:disqus @JLM:disqusI’m copying it over because Quora does this weird thing of not linking to specific answers but re-directs to Taylor: Will Jack Dorsey succeed at Twitter?Bret Taylor, CTO of Facebook, 2009-20121.2k ViewsJack has a big challenge ahead of him. He needs to change the product and network to revitalize growth, but doing so requires not only great product ideas, but overcoming some deep structural challenges.First, some of Twitter’s growth issues are due to the shape and quality of the Twitter social graph. Lots of people follow no people, the wrong people, or too many people, and their experience when they visit the service is really bad. Changing a network is much, much harder than changing the product — you can’t do it overnight, and some users might be in a state that is very hard to recover from.Second, people have a different relationship to social networks than they do other technology products, and that makes dramatic changes much more difficult. We probably redesigned Google Local and Google Maps five times. While we got feedback, it was generally short-lived and people appreciated the fact that Google needed to change the product periodically in the process of improving it. In contrast, when we redesigned the Facebook profile page, there would be protest groups with millions of members and outright indignation about the design changes.I think the psychology behind these different reactions is this: People perceive of Google Maps as “Google’s” product — it’s a tool they use, but it’s Google’s to change. But their profile page is different — it’s not Facebook’s, but their own. In changing the design of the profile page, we were, as one focus group participant put it, “rearranging the furniture in their living room.”This deep sense of ownership and entitlement makes a lot of sense, but it creates a significant disincentive to change. Look at the massive backlash about “algorithmic feed” a month ago to see what I mean. If Twitter can’t even do that, how can they make even more dramatic changes?Despite these challenges, I think Twitter is lucky to have their founder back in a leadership role. Jack deeply understands the Twitter mission, and he has more credibility with the Twitter community to make the significant changes Twitter needs than anyone else.It will just be really, really hard.

          1. Twain Twain

            Meanwhile, Jason Calacanis’ view is Jack Dorsey should recruit a CEO for SQ and focus on Twitter.Meanwhile, Twitter’s anti-trolling efforts to encourage women back to don’t seem to be working:*…From the article: “Technology has essentially ziplined past all the difficult social contract and legal infrastructure and face-to-face accountability that led us to negotiate limits on day-to-day expression. And instead of building any of that stuff, instead of addressing basic concerns of safety and gestalt and culture, our most popular platforms seem more concerned with “Haha”-face buttons and silly new engagement models.”—————As time passes, an indifference to Twitter and its problems may set in. People love to root for the underdog, the potential David to the Goliath that is FB …But heroic execution needs to happen.

  6. obarthelemy

    I’m not sure your examples are well-chosen, if they purport to show the usefulness of Twitter. I think The Donald is best watched from a distance and if at all possible through somewhat analytical thinkpieces; as for brainfarts linked to spectator sports… gotta be into spectator sports to start with, and then want them brainfarted.So I’ll pass on both counts, thanks !

    1. mdedrick

      Although I would argue that Trump has gained popularity through controversial sound bites, which is facilitated quite well by the Twitter format, as opposed to people taking the time to go through analytical think pieces on his political stances and comparing them to those of the other candidates.

  7. Richard

    Periscope may eventually be bigger than Twitter itself.

  8. Dan Epstein

    I think it’s bullish for Twitter that Porzingis and DeRozan comment without adding context. “Of course we’re having this conversation on Twitter.”

  9. Richard

    The problem with Twitter is exemplified by Marc Andressons recent absence from the platform. Good case study if anyone has the time to examine it.Note: it is possible that the political class are speaking to themselves and the press and not the voting masses directly.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Is there a tldr for Andressons absence? I hadn’t noticed.

      1. kidmercury

        i saw in the news he made some comment about india being better under colonial rule, and then lots of people hated on him and called him an elitist racist. i’m assuming it’s related to that

      2. varund7

        Marc commented on India’s rejection of Free Basics. A lot of Indian net neutrality folks were comparing zero-rated services from multinationals to ‘digital colonialism’. Marc made an ill-advised comment about India’s post-colonial misadventures in economic regulation (“Anti-colonialism held back India for so many years, why stop now?”). Inevitable backlash ensued. He’s now taking a break.Interesting to see his comments mischaracterized below this, though.

  10. David C. Baker

    I have some crazy low number of Twitter followers, compared to actual famous people: 13,500 or so. But social media traffic to my website never accounts for more than 3-4%, and the conversion isn’t great. I see it as something that I have to do for credibility, but it’s sort of like a blog: the world doesn’t need 99.8704% of the blogs out there.It strikes me as a platform for a few highly-followed people, and the rest are just talking to themselves. If I had a magic wand, I’d rename Twitter as SnapChat, and SnapChat would disappear. 🙂

    1. laurie kalmanson

      highly followed, yes, and niche. you can find what you’re looking for — it’s like the old, tiny, specialized nyc stores that remain; the typewriter repair shop, etc. of great value to those looking for it.

  11. laurie kalmanson

    i love twitter. there’s a lot of noise in the ecosystem; early on, i got followed by people i was interested in and i followed them back, but lately i get followed by “growth hacking” bots.i still read the #ux threads and lists; they have a lot of valuei loved tweetdeck; the channels were extremely useful.slack kind of does what a channel solution could look like for twitter

    1. David C. Baker

      “slack kind of does what a channel solution could look like for twitter”Yes, absolutely. I spoke at a conference recently (UXA) and the conversation on Slack was the best I had ever had with fellow speakers and attendees.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        the ability to follow without making a request is what makes twitter awesome for public things; my tween and her friends keep their instagrams locked down and private, on parental instruction; they love snapchat because of it’s there and gone in-the-moment, you had to be there qualities, and they have no interest in facebook. twitter is like the news to them — they get that it’s public.twitter most reminds me of the early days of the internet, when its huge immediate value was creating larger communities of interest than exist locally; the metaphors i always apply are two:1. “prairie geniuses are raced in cheap company,” aj liebling2. a rural friend and chess champion getting defeated quickly on visits to nyc chess cellars

  12. Michael B. Aronson

    EXACTLY my thoughts this weekend as I was following the childish Republican conversations about “the Wharton School of Business” and who could get in and spellingMaybe Comcast should buy instead of Yahoo?

  13. LE

    The presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States has largely conducted his campaign on TwitterThe other thing that is good for said “presumptive” is that he is good with sound bites w/o providing detail or valid backup. As such twitter works very well for people like that. [1][1] And some of them, I assume, are good people.

  14. Michael Lucca

    When I saw the title of today’s post, I thought it might be about the recent discussion around banning some opinion writers

  15. William Mougayar

    Re: Trump’s usage of Twitter, I think Twitter should send him a big invoice, really.

    1. laurie kalmanson


    2. LE

      No the opposite. I am serious. Twitter without some of the famous people using it wouldn’t be anything like it is (or isn’t?) today.Any startup would love to have the publicity of some major celebrities or politicians. It’s a clear win.

      1. William Mougayar

        OK, but is Twitter a non-profit organization?

        1. LE

          Business concept: “Loss leader”.

      2. kidmercury

        siding with LE in this beef no question. the content providers are far more scarce than any lightweight platform can hope to be, even if it has millions of users.

        1. LE

          I’ll take this one step further. Trump’s attack on Megyn Kelly was the best thing that ever happened to her career. Absolutely, positively.Ditto for anyone else that isn’t A list that he takes on. And maybe even A listers for that matter.To me this is so obvious it’s hard for me to even understand how others don’t see it as obvious.

          1. kidmercury

            yeah agreed. in the rap world one marketing strategy is to diss a more famous rapper so as to hope they diss you back or engage in some way so that their audience can be informed of you.

          2. Vasudev Ram

            That last sentence came close to a Yogi-Berra-ism.Update: Since there is no proper Disqus nesting of comments (at this level), I’ll clarify that (by the “Yogi-Berra-ism” comment above), I’m replying to this statement by @LE:>To me this is so obvious it’s hard for me to even understand how others don’t see it as obvious.

          3. LE

            Disagree. If you are going to piss in the weeds with the big dogs you have nothing to complain about if you get wet.If you are a public figure the definition of cyber bullying is not the same as with an elementary school or high school child.

          4. jortpossel

            The point was that these people all benefit from it, which the article shows is clearly not the case.

          5. LE

            Are you referring to these two statements in the article?“I have been trashed and ruined on Twitter,” Ms. Jacobus said.the Ricketts family, a wealthy clan of Republican political donors, after it was reported that Marlene Ricketts donated $3 million to a group opposed to Mr. Trump’s candidacy“They better be careful,” Mr. Trump wrote of the family, “they have a lot to hide!”“It’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom,” Marlene Ricketts’s son, Tom, later told reporters.

          6. sigmaalgebra

            So far I have yet to see anyone mention: One of Trump’s major themes, he repeats daily, definitely at each rally, is that the media is dishonest, the worst, maybe 25% are okay, etc.So, one result is, when the media start to make or report attacks on Trump, his supporters can remember that Trump did explain that the media lies.So, net, Trump is preemptively cutting off at the knees the main avenue of possible criticism. Preemptively. Smart.There is so much wrong with the quality of the media that nearly everyone hearing the preemptive attack can agree with it. Then preemptive is much more effective than defensive after the fact since then criticizing the media just looks self-serving. It’s looks like Trump did some thinking ahead.Then, as a special case, IMHO, he really liked that Kelly first question, was waiting for that ball, picked it up and ran with it, got a lot of headlines, got an improved negotiating position against Kelly, Fox, Ailes, and Murdoch, and put out an example for all the rest of the media of “don’t mess with me”. Soon after he had O’Reilly and Fox walking on eggs.I am starting to suspect that Trump was correct, that much of the media is so corrupt that they are willing to be attack dogs for people, likely with big bucks, who hate Trump.I had no idea the media, and politics, were so corrupt.

          7. LE

            I don’t think it’s so much they are corrupt but that there is not an effective channel of feedback or punishment to call them out on things that people will listen to. For one thing there is simply to much content. For another the power of ink (virtual or otherwise) is to overwhelming.Look at it this way. If you have a bad meal at a restaurant and the other customers do, what happens? Even before you could complain online you just stopped dealing with that restaurant or told your friends and restaurant either got their shit together or went out of business. There was “kickback” to a bad service or a bad product. With the news “product” that is not the case. First of all it’s not typically always clear when there is bad information. And actually since many people don’t depend on the info anyway (except for the weather report) it doesn’t even matter if it’s correct or not. It’s just entertainment, infotainment. So this is the thing that they are exploiting.That said the media does have a clear agenda. Both the WSJ and the NYT are having fits over Trump simply because it’s not their view of the way people should act or what they should do or be in our society. Same way we meddle in countries that have different customers than we do.

          8. sigmaalgebra

            Maybe it’s simpler — tar and feathers?For NYT and WSJ, another explanation is that each of them has carefully cultivated a collection of readers where (A) they give their readers what they want, say, to reinforce the world view they already have/like and (B) the readers like what they are getting. Same for Salon, Fox News, CNN, CBS, National Review, Socialist Workers’ Party, etc.I don’t think it’s so much they are corrupt but that there is not an effective channel of feedback or punishment to call them out on things that people will listen to.Well, yes. There is some question if the corruption could result in a criminal conviction or even losing a civil suit. Still, in the effect on our country, I’m shocked: Looking at the candidates, especially Bush, Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich and seeing some of what they are just not willing to say, places they they just will not go near, and some of what they have said and done, to avoid being totally naive and gullible and a sucker, I have to set aside my cherished standard of proof in math, apply common sense, say if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then be willing, at least first cut call it a duck. And for those people at Disney who got replaced by H1-B immigrants, IIRC, in total contradiction to the rules of H1-B, the issue is worse than duck soup or feathers. Same for employees of Carrier, Ford, Nabisco. Much the same for Detroit and much of the US Rust Belt. Same for the textile workers of the Carolinas when that industry left.To be clear, Rubio is carrying water for some people who want a new version of slave labor. I grew up in the South and hated the idea of slave labor then and still hate it now. Heck, when Dad wanted to put a nice master bath and bedroom on the back of the house, he was a fully qualified general contractor, carpenter, electrician, plumber, etc. (Bachelor’s in Industrial Arts — welding, tool and die making, welding, metal working, wood working, strength of materials, calculus, furniture making, brick laying, painting, etc.). Well, he did the finish carpentry. But for the rest, he hired a guy with some assistants. One of the more capable assistants was a Black guy who’s main other interest in life was a pint of bourbon each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. His life was miserable — in a way, can’t blame him.It would have been better all around if Dad had just used my brother and I for the labor.At this point, I don’t have to worry about the invasion of the H1-B slave labor because nearly none of those would understand the crucial, core technical internals of my project even if I tried hard to explain to them — same for essentially all the IT entrepreneurs in the country. Right: That’s partly what the slave drivers are saying: The US should do the high value work and import the goods from low value work. But I doubt that any of the ex-textile workers in the Carolinas ever got $200 K/year jobs at Microsoft.I just got a nice, second, chunk of initial data into my database! Off to play with my site, see if see any new bugs!I may have a bug: Microsoft made a total mess out of how SqlGUIDs sort, and it’s different from how their GUIDs sort. That difference may have have caused a bug in some of my code. Solution: Regard the actual data of GUID and SqlGUID as the same. Sort it all only as GUID. What SQL Server does internally with just SqlGUIDs can be made essentially irrelevant. So, go around my code where I care about the order of GUID data and sort it my self with some solid, fast code I already have.

      3. fredwilson

        correct. it is a mutual thing

    3. PhilipSugar

      That’s the contradiction of Twitter. Without high profile people they are nothing. If they charge those people those people won’t use it.

      1. LE

        Primary reason to sell lottery tickets is to get people into your bodega. Not to make money off of lottery tickets.See also: “Why does Wawa continue to sell cigarettes”.

        1. PhilipSugar

          No doubt on lottery. No doubt on sports books at casinos. Neither make really any money and you have to factor in staff time which is large.Cigarettes not sure. Of course you wouldn’t pull them on moral grounds because you would lose lots of other sales. But I think they must make money. They are small, don’t spoil, don’t need refrigeration, are expensive. They must make money.The worst problem you have is theft, but that is why they are behind the counter, and I am very sure there are cameras on everybody and every angle at the checkout for many reasons, not just cigarettes.

          1. LE

            We could both be right. My theory has always said that Wawa’s entire price structure would change if they didn’t offer cigarettes.Even if just break even, they sell more hoagies as a result. So if they didn’t have that they’d have to raise the price of the hoagie and that would impact the entire demand curve. Sell less hoagies if the price is $5.25 instead of $4.80. (numbers made up).This is in essence what people don’t understand about raising minimum wage. People buy at certain price points and magic numbers. Change those points and demand changes. Restaurants do this with entree prices as well as most businesses out there.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Wawa is a great example of why the minimum wage argument is a tough one. They pay more than the minimum wage, they provide benefits.If everyone had to pay people a certain wage then you just couldn’t get things at a certain price point. People say they will pay more for service, but then go to the Walmart or Home Depot over the local place.However, what does Wawa do aggressively? They use technology to replace labor. Order your sandwich? You have had to use the kiosk for more than 10 years. I bet that technology doubles productivity. They probably have half the staff because of it.

          3. LE

            People say they will pay more for service, but then go to the Walmart or Home Depot over the local place.People like to talk about how high and civic minded they are and like to try to convince others that they do the right thing always. And ok so maybe some people do. But the truth is a lower price is a very powerful motivator in the case of undifferentiated goods and services.Wawa is lucky that they have the market corned on “working class people cut from a certain bolt of cloth” in the markets they are in. There aren’t enough of those types to go around unfortunately.I went to buy a TV from Best Buy the other night. The first one I have bought since 2001 (I am replacing a big tube set). I was amazed that the guy who waited on me actually talked a good game and wasn’t a total idiot.You know why I bought there? It wasn’t because I was expecting good service. It was because I found out they will haul away the old set. The good service was a surprise. After I got home I found out that the price was what I would have paid online pretty much. But I told my wife that in the case of a big TV I wanted it delivered by a company locally and not from Amazon or B&H. So in my case I would have paid more (I didn’t have to). But my guess is that most people would cut their balls off over $50 on that TV set. (It was roughly 2k).

          4. PhilipSugar

            If you have a Sony Vega or whatever they called those, it is worth every penny. My BIL and I started to move his and we called 800 Got Junk.The only thing I was surprised at was they had no equipment.

          5. LE

            It’s a 32″ Sony that cost a bundle in 2001 when I bought it and weighs several hundred pounds. It still worked great. My wife wanted a new tv which is why I am replacing it. BB will take tv’s smaller than 30″ for $25 but they want $100 for anything over 30″.I had called the local recycling hauler to get a price on disposing the 32″ and also a projection TV in the basement. He wanted $300 for that job. But to haul away an office sized batch of flourescent light fixtures and bulbs he only charged $80. Anyway that was my plan a before I knew bb did this type of haul away. This is the type of crusty salty guy that prices honestly. Not a franchise guy (who might not). So if he wanted $300 for two sets there must have been a reason. (And in fact I think I just read that townships can’t easily dispose of this type of waste which they used to get rid of for free).

          6. JLM

            .Best Buy has a “price match guarantee” and will, in fact, match any legitimate Internet price. Three times, I have bought fairly inexpensive consumer electronics — tablets and wireless phone systems (not cell phones) and printers and cameras — and they matched the price to the penny.I find it on the web and then print it out with the web address and they match it.The only problem I’ve ever had is when I used a Sam’s Club or a Costco price which are usually “one time” prices with different configurations.This is a fairly recent development. It provides for instant gratification.I still like using Amazon but you are right, the crew at BB is getting better. There was a Samsung guy and a sales space dedicated to Samsung and he absolutely talked me into buying a tablet.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. LE

            The guy who waited on me was very “real”. I told him that I didn’t really care about tv’s I was doing this for my wife. And then for some reason I said “I care more about cars”. Which is not really the case I am not “into” cars but I like the cars that I buy and buy nice ones. Anyway he says to me “what kind of car do you have?” and I told him. He said “oh I don’t like those” which really surprised me that he was that honest. Can you imagine a traditional salesman cold calling you or selling for Boeing saying that? Of course not. No way! He then said “I build cars this is my partime job here” as if he was very proud of what he did. By the way he was talking, I thought I had someone that would be on one of those reality shows or something. You know building really special vehicles. He was well spoken also not a “greaser”.Anyway later I asked him where he worked. He told me it was the local Chevy dealer’s auto body shop and how he had just worked on a Corvette and he was just so proud of himself (btw I am not making fun of him). Just kind of funny how proud he was about that job. He is exactly the type that we need more of instead of people just all trying to be college educated. He then told me “we fix all cars even expensive imports”. Then when he walked out with the TV to my wife’s car (a BMW X5 brand new) he says “oh they are deer magnets I just fixed one where a deer killed the front bumper”. He then proceeded to quickly tell me the plastic parts in the front (another surprise). Really to bad for him that he is working at Best Buy with that mouth he could be doing a lot better.

          8. JLM

            .Maybe put a couple of deer whistles on the front bumper?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          9. LE

            Hah! I already spend to much time worrying about outlier events. (By the way I just did a search and can’t find anything to back up his statement about the deer).Deer? In my office I installed soundproof and shatterproof extra security windows (very expensive) on the side where my office is. In the back I put in 3m security film (google the videos it can block a crowbar). Well not 2 or 3 weeks later a deer crashes through the office on the opposite sides window into the doctors office there. Boy was I happy! I thought maybe I was being to cautious and worrying to much and then was vindicated. Deer totally trashed the office. Was bad for the Doctor of course but would be way worse if it happened to me. I actually did it to block the road noise otherwise the film (which I used on the other windows) would have been way cheaper.

          10. sigmaalgebra

            Yes, I’ve toyed with the idea of building a car. I got far enough, with a friend, to have a tour, many years later, of the plant that did the fiberglass for the original Corvette. We had a fiber glass expert taking us on the tour.At one point, I wrote and ran some general purpose software to evaluate the stiffness of essentially any 3D space frame. At one point, the crucial step was the inverse function theorem, also important in Lagrange multipliers and differential geometry. Fun software!The weight of a Corvette is curious: A Shelby Cobra with a steel tube frame and the cast iron small block Ford engine could weight, IIRC, 2200 – 2400 pounds.Corvette: Frame, aluminum and no doubt carefully designed. Engine block and heads, aluminum. Transmission housing, aluminum. Body panels, significant use of carbon fiber. Weight, IIRC, ballpark 3500 pounds.

          11. Vasudev Ram

            >People buy at certain price points and magic numbers.Yes.That’s why I’ve never fully bought into the theory of price elasticity / inelasticity of demand – of economics (the “dismal science”). Studied it for only a year, in high school, but that was enough to convince me that it is only partly scientific. It cannot be treated the same as the physical sciences like physics and chemistry (by which I don’t mean that it is lower in some way, just different). But people do that anyway – treating its conclusions as gospel truth, wrongly, IMO.You simply cannot reduce people – with all their differing emotions, cultural backgrounds, prejudices, conditioning, etc. – to just a bunch of numbers and formulae that can be tweaked this way and that, to generate various what-if scenarios that can be acted on and monetized. No sir! (sir meaning economists, not you).

          12. LE

            You simply cannot reduce people – with all their differing emotions, cultural backgrounds, prejudices, conditioning, etcKey point, what you said above.Perhaps part of the problem is that many economists have never actually offered a product for sale to customers to see how they react to pricing. If they did they might question some of what they say. But even if you’ve never sold anything yourself, there is much to be learned just be observing and reverse engineering what others have done.One of my first observations as a kid was what I will call “Doctors waiting room theory”. It was the observation that a wait seemed less if you moved from the waiting room to an examining room and waited longer there instead of in only the examining room. And if the nurse came in to do some nominal task you felt as if you were making progress. [1][1] I am not saying that Doctors do this for the reason I am stating just that the observation can be used in other situations where it might benefit “making progress”.

          13. PhilipSugar

            I am sure you have seen this:…It is one small example of how the curve is anything but a curve.

          14. Vasudev Ram

            Yes, seen it before, good one, thanks.

  16. Kurt Stangl

    This is about the contradiction of all social media because _it’s about the conversations, not the tools that enable the conversation_. That number will rise and fall as we live through exciting and boring moments…

  17. TeddyBeingTeddy

    “I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it’s going.”-the great one

    1. PhilipSugar

      “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face” Mike Tyson”Just when you think you know the answer I change the question” Rowdy Roddy Piper

      1. TeddyBeingTeddy

        Heeeyy-ooohh!!!!! -“Hacksaw” Jim Dugan

  18. jason wright

    “He has avoided the traditional media channels and taken his message direct to the people on Twitter.”is not Twitter being used by Trump’s campaign team to feed the multitude of traditional media channels? that’s how he distributes his message.what percentage of the US electorate use Twitter directly? i’m sure most see Trump’s tweets (i.e. message) via those traditional channels as newspaper headlines, television news stories, et.c.

    1. Girish Mehta

      A broader way to characterize what he does is as earned media.

      1. jason wright

        “earned media” – can you expand on that idea?

        1. Girish Mehta

          Three kinds of media – Paid, Owned and Earned.Earned is everything that you didn’t pay for (e.g advertising) or isn’t your own (e.g. Website, Blog – is “Owned media” by Fred).My point, broadening your earlier point, was that his twitter account (while not earned media) is a component of his broader earned media strategy.”Paid” and “Owned” can intersect with “Earned” and in a good media strategy you want them to (Example: Occassionally Fred gets some ‘Earned media’ out of what he says here on this blog in his ‘Owned media’). In Trump’s case, earned media is core to his strategy.Note: I am not commenting on current American politics, only a comment on media.

      2. SubstrateUndertow

        “earned media”The real problem is the journalistically-bankrupt spectacle-base currency that entertainment/profit-driven news media are now accepting as earned-payment !Expanding on that point see my comment above.

    2. fredwilson

      that was exactly my point

      1. jason wright

        confirmation. the signal wasn’t coming through as clearly as usual.if Twitter works out how to capture that value upstream of the traditional media then the traditional media might respond and build its own collective system and unplug from Twitter. newspapers shared printing analogy might be what R3 is doing with Ethereum for the banking industry.

      2. Tony Perkins

        Only losers use twitter, as you exemplified with lebron, porzingis .,

  19. Craig Cramer

    The contraction of Twitter is simple – it’s part of the zeitgeist as this post describes. But, it’s been valued on Wall Street to reach a size it probably won’t. #votingmachine->weighingmachine

  20. faresg

    Its a great company, great use case, but should be valued like its being valued now, a company that has no growth in user base. They also need to invest in product dev

  21. Dave Pinsen

    Not only does Trump use Twitter, but the media uses Twitter to quote Trump. I included an example at the link below.For an example of a politician who used Twitter in a stilted, inauthentic way, see House Speaker Paul Ryan’s timeline.

  22. Josh Burwick

    Amen. Well said Fred.

  23. LeadBase

    I like Twitter. In fact I own some stock as well. What worries me is not the celebs who picked up Twitter to communicate and engage with their fans. How many new people are signing up is probably be the right question to ponder about. But we did have some good results on twitter ads though.

  24. Steve Orell

    Very concerned about the twitter shadowbanning story. Is it still a platform that freely aggregates the content you’ve opted in for, or is someone back there pulling strings to influence the population subversively? Define some rules. If people break the rules then kick them off. Be transparent. If you want to be a news feed with a political slant then make that clear. I don’t trust twitter right now.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Yes, this should have bee a much bigger story.

    2. Vasudev Ram

      >the twitter shadowbanning storyWhat’s that story?

  25. varund7

    Fred, what you’ve described is an oft-repeated problem for Twitter – ‘logged-out users’ need to be monetized more effectively. There are some very strong core communities on Twitter (sports Twitter, politics Twitter, tech Twitter spring to mind, as you’ve detailed), which create immensely valuable real-time content. The company needs to find a way to be more effective about (1) making on-boarding or following conversations for the top of the funnel/casual user far, far easier, and (2) reliably creating capability for attributions off the platform.For (1), I’m going to echo your post from last year and state that Twitter needs to make their mobile website (top of funnel) far, far more useful, and/or break out Moments into a separate app so sports fans etc can follow along without needing an account.For (2), in addition to breaking out Moments, they desperately need to start getting better about mining the vast swathes of data they’ve already got. I imagine you’ve seen Foursquare’s rejig and move into online-offline attribution firsthand. I’m 100% certain that if Twitter wants to continue existing, it needs to partially retrench along the same lines, or at the very least invest heavily in taking advantage of the data opportunities they’ve inexplicably squandered thus far.

  26. Eric Snyder

    Re: Fred’s point about seeing participating in Twitter without being logged in:I recently cleared my browser history and as a result am re-logging-in to alot of websites (Gmail, Facebook, etc). While I’m an active Twitter user, it actually took me a while to realize that I wasn’t logged it! On desktop, my usage pattern is loading the Twitter pages of 5-10 interesting people (vs. scrolling the main feed on mobile), and I could do this without my credentials.This is great in that it invites discovery for potential new users, but I wonder what would push someone content to ‘ghost’ into registering, given the low-ish # of private accounts.

  27. Joseph Burros

    Excellent post with points well made. My sister, who has a cabinet level arts position in a major east coast city, uses Twitter as her main media tool in order to communicate to the local arts community. Twitter is efficient to use and creates immediate buzz, with important tweets/news getting disseminated with lightning speed throughout the entire community. It’s a fantastic platform for her.

    1. rick gregory

      This is actually a better example than Fred’s above. High profile people will always get their message out and much of what’s put out (the reactions to Curry’s shooting) is the ephemeral and unimportant (who really cares about an off the cuff comment from Porzingis?).The ability for people like your sister to communicate quickly and efficiently with her community is actually more important and would be harder to replace. Lebron will always be able to get on ESPN. What’s the alternative for people like your sister if Twitter goes away (no, not FB which filters feeds)?

      1. Ana Milicevic

        Slack, if/when they add public channels.

  28. Spinnette

    Twitter has become a lot of noise, lot of brouhaha and it has become impossible to find what one is looking for.,, except on rare occasions as big events….too bad

  29. Sam Toole

    This past Superbowl reaffirmed that brands/marketers still believe in the value of Twitter. During the advertisements, the majority of large brands (that encouraged any social engagement) pointed the viewers to Twitter. Primarily, asking people to use hashtags and tweet at the brands. This year a Superbowl advertisement cost $4.5 million for 30 seconds, so the choice to use Twitter certainly is significant.

  30. schultzmj

    Twitter as a product is not the question it’s Twitter the business model and what that business model is worth. Two big recent events…Super Bowl and Oscars I was on twitter practically the entire time I watched but twitter did not make any money from that (or very, very little).Comcast made more money from me during those times as I paid them for my cable service to watch the event on TV and my internet service for access to twitter.

    1. fredwilson

      wall street is pretty happy with twitter’s numbers (rev, earnings, growth), its is product that has them concerned

      1. schultzmj

        Isn’t the issue of monetizing logged out users and getting away from the MAU focus as a measure of health a business model issue?You are obviously much closer to the company/wall street so I guess my view comes from being an active and engaged user for many years yet twitter has not figured out a way to get me to spend money on twitter. Is that a product issue or a business model issue?

      2. Twain Twain

        Wall St’s not happy with user growth but happy with ratio of revenue growth per user. Since few Wall St analysts have ever been Product Managers, they’re not making informed decisions about what Twitter’s doing with its product evolutions so an amount of discounting can be done to Wall St’s analysis on Twitter’s product.Interestingly, Business Insider referred to Jack’s “inconsistent product plans” the last time he returned to Twitter as Chief Product Officer:* http://www.businessinsider….I like Twitter’s new homepage for logged out users. It’s clearly copied design & UX from Google+, Pinterest and others.Most people would see that as a huge improvement on a timeline of tweets which is Twitter’s inheritance from its SMS roots.However, for someone like me … Twitter’s new product roadmap isn’t innovative or inspiring enough. I WANT TO GO “WOW!” and be blown away by the audacity of its product vision — especially given the company’s resources.And Twitter doesn’t do that.The fact that none of my developers fought to use Twitter API and tools tells me something.

      3. Twain Twain

        It’s really unhelpful for Wall St to benchmark TWTR with FB and to find it wanting.TWTR is closer to Bberg tickers than it is to FB, imo.In terms of product vision, Zuckerberg and his team have bigger, more joined up dreams and they execute on them.

  31. pointsnfigures

    In fairness, the media has enabled Trump. They want ratings; and also correctly portray a Trump candidacy as damaging to Republicans.

    1. Rob Underwood

      I think media being “Morning Joe” first and foremost. They’ve been on the Trump train hard since the summer. I wake up right at 6am and it’s amazing how predictable it’s been for months now that their A block is in variably Trump-trump-trump. It appears the strategy of the media has been to build him up in a huge way and then make a ton of money in the tear down.

      1. LE

        Ditto for Hardball with Chris Matthews. Very entertaining and has made be an inveterate watcher of the show even though I don’t agree with Matthews liberal slant and Kennedy/Clinton lovefests of the past and bleeding heart (I can go on and on).

    2. LE

      Once again just proving that most people and companies always end up doing what is in their own self interest, even as they criticize others for doing the same thing.Trump is the perfect storm of many things coming together at the right time. Take any of those things away and he wouldn’t be where he is today.

  32. Tommaso Trionfi

    Fred, you make 2 points, one you say you are bullish (which indicates an appreciation if its share price) and the other is about the uniqueness of the platform. I agree with you Twitter is quite unique, and I do like it, but that does not necessarily mean its market cap is not already reflected in the market. Its capitalization is a function of financial results. Oftentimes these 2 facts are highly correlated but not always. Two different things.

  33. Rob Underwood

    I think I was ahead of my time –>…I love Twitter – it’s my default social network (and I’ve recently quit Facebook altogether for personal use). Yet I struggle to imagine what I’d buy from Twitter. And in terms of the marketing / “growth hacking” work I did for some clients, the other social platforms provide more proven platforms for targeting audiences (though Twitter’s click-through rate is respectable).To me the future of Twitter lies somewhere in its role as the preeminent real-time channel for notifications.

  34. andyswan

    Twitter isn’t a social network.It’s a real-time publishing engine and consumer-customizable distribution network.The sooner Twitter gets there and away from MAUs the better

    1. Rob Underwood

      And a”publishing engine and consumer-customizable distribution network” of short notifications, which plays into the mobile platforms.

    2. Salt Shaker

      Semantics. As an ad rev dependent “publishing engine,” audience size, readership, active users or whatever metric you want to use will always be the evaluative currency used by Wall Street and media buying orgs. Size will always be the senior criteria unless they can demonstrate superior engagement, attentiveness, etc.

      1. andyswan

        Engagement should be the only metric

        1. Salt Shaker

          If TWTR can demonstrate superior engagement they can offset the lack of MAU growth. Advertisers will pay a price premium for enhanced audience connectivity. But do they have those kind of metrics?

          1. Richard

            If they had it, we would know.

    3. Ana Milicevic

      I’ve hit the limit on how many times I can say that publicly lest I be mistaken for a parrot so I’m glad you said it :)What’s the metric they should be highlighting and anchoring on though?//Adding edit since you list engagement belowYes – but what’s engagement? Right now they’re not even tracking quote tweet as engagement. How do you measure engagement if it includes readers that see tweets in BuzzFeed listicles on what people are talking about on Twitter?

      1. andyswan

        Engagement.  Same stats they provide to me as a publisher

        1. howardlindzon

          if engagement was the metric that mattered I would be retired from profits from stocktwits. Luckilly engagement matters enough to make me want to stay doing what I love at stocktwits

      2. JoeK

        They are a listed company whose duty to investors is to deliver growth or earnings. They are doing neither, and nothing suggests that this is about to change in the short term. The rest is irrelevant really.

        1. Salt Shaker

          They’re not mutually exclusive, though. Earnings is tied to revenue, which is tied to brand positioning. TWTR has been pigeon holed, somewhat fairly, somewhat not, into the whole FB, social network paradigm. That’s a losing battle for them. They may have a better shot at monetizing their audience by positioning themselves more as a traditional media or publishing company vs. a social network. So, for example, their competitive set for news is the digital arms of CNN, NYT, WSJ, for sports ESPN, Bleacher, etc. A more mainstream publishing strat vs. social could be effective if they can deliver a strong engagement story within those verticals, combined with the platform’s inherent news breaking abilities. A MAU/DAU comparison vs. FB is killing them.

          1. JoeK

            Except that Twitter’s revenue is not tied to their brand positioning, and that’s the core of this paradox – if it were they’d be swimming in cash. And it’s unlikely that they will solve this by becoming the sort of traditional media outlet that they have already mortally wounded.

          2. Salt Shaker

            Disagree. Their positioning and competitive set is currently inextricably linked to fb, and that’s a losing battle. They can’t effectively compete against fb’s metrics and they’re punished unmercifully for it by WS and the ad community. Their real time, news breaking advantages are being crushed by the perception that they can’t grow their core relative to fb. Change the competitive mindset.

          3. JoeK

            Not in the eyes of users. They are both giants occupying their own niches. My usage of FB has dropped dramatically over the last couple of years, and yet my time spent on TWTR has not gone up one iota.

          4. Salt Shaker

            Not talking about users, I’m talking about WS and the ad community. TWTR has a product and perception prob w/ both important constituents.

          5. JoeK

            I’m not sure that you should call it a ‘perception’ problem. A perception problem would be a profitable coal business struggling to attract investment because climate science has put a stain on the reputation of their business. Consistently losing money, and now users, is much more than a perception problem. Their ARPUs are not terrible, but they are simply failing to increase the Us.

          6. Salt Shaker

            WS perception is they’re not growing their user base like fb, even though the comparison isn’t entirely fair. If TWTR was garnering a premium ARPU then that would be less of a prob, but it appears they’re not.

          7. JoeK

            But that is objective fact, and not a subjective perception, and as I pointed out to Ana earlier, that’s what they themselves stated as a fair metric from the get go. It’s hard to ask for fairness less than 36 months later.

          8. Salt Shaker

            Only suggesting they try and change the conversation, which admittedly is a lot easier said than done. Companies re-position themselves all the time.

          9. Teren Botham

            Dude.. Twitter does not haveCashUsersUser engagementEmployee workforceActive management leadersMarket BrandingMarket Identity Consistent revenue dollars per userUser growthAttractive user interfaceConstant product improvementsInnovative technologyand so on..And I have a way to fix them all and resurrect the empireSend me an email at [email protected] and I can explain more

        2. gregorylent

          too narrow a view, imo

          1. JoeK

            It’s not narrow at all. They are competing for investment dollars with Apple and and P&G. There have to be objective ways to compare the value of an investment in them.

        3. Ana Milicevic

          Yes, but investors’ expectations are couched and tied to metrics that are relevant for a social network. This is not what Twitter is. It would be akin to evaluating how P&G is doing in the utilities vertical vs. CPG where they belong.

          1. awaldstein

            I’m completely in agreement with you except it’s Twitters job to change the conversation–no?

          2. Ana Milicevic

            Yes – I’m completely baffled by why they’re not driving this conversation and instead sticking w/ MAU/DAU and social media comparisons. That more than anything else is leading me to believe that they have some strategic direction work ahead.

          3. awaldstein

            I’m a fan. I’ve always felt they were a bit lost and floundering around to find themselves when it is quite clear what their value is.

          4. Ana Milicevic

            Me too. I love using it, warts and all, but constantly see ways to make it dramatically better. As a product leader I find it interesting that their product leadership is widely lauded yet there seems to be so little of it exhibited via their platform. Perhaps this mismatch is the first step they need to figure out.

          5. William Mougayar

            According to LinkedIn, there are at least 24 Product Managers at Twitter. That may be part of the issue.

          6. Twain Twain

            And open positions for more PMs.Part of me is for-Twitter. The other part is, “Twitter’s coherency problem isn’t my problem to solve. It’s Twitter team’s and I have 0 skin in the game.”Prior to Launch hackathon, I suggested we hack Twitter+Periscope with some AI. Then we discovered THERE’S NO PERISCOPE API.Plus my team decided winning the Apple TV, which was Twitter’s grand prize, wasn’t of interest when there were $5000 prizes from other API providers.

          7. Ana Milicevic

            For a global co w/ ~1.5k employees in technical roles that’s probably on the low end (I can easily see a bigger team of PMs on deck). The first thing I’d look at is getting the entire team in a room with a white-board and articulating what the Twitter product vision is (and getting buy-in to this vision). The next thing would be their actual PM process, roadmap, and lastly evangelism to partners, vocal users and communities (I’ve always seen this as a function of a good product management team rather than a part of product marketing which is where it sits in most cos and this is how I’ve implemented it in practice).

          8. William Mougayar

            Right. The CPO and roadmap play a big role. It sets the direction.

          9. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I really like your thinking here, really got me thinking about the question of what is Twitter’s differentiating metric (vs MAU/DAU). They need to invent their own KPI, perhaps.Twitter is magical when it comes to immediately connecting people who don’t know each other, around a common interest. FB doesn’t do that. I know so many people who have “Twitter friends.” This phenomenon doesn’t happen on FB.Dorsey has talked about getting people into the conversations they need to be having right now, as critical.But, I don’t know how that becomes the bread winner…

          10. Drew Meyers

            “Twitter is magical when it comes to immediately connecting people who don’t know each other, around a common interest.”I so so so so agree with you on that. BUT…most people in the world don’t care about that value proposition.

          11. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Right. But that could be changed under the right circumstances.

          12. Drew Meyers

            IMHO, that’s a fairly major societal shift that’s going to take years and years to happen. Sure, it MIGHT happen someday, but it’s not guaranteed. Entrepreneurs, and especially tech entrepreneurs, are a really weird breed of people who care about different things than the masses.

          13. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Another interesting avenue is the kind of thing that @andyswan:disqus works on. Twitter’s ability to measure and predict.What I’m saying is, it might be time for a new KPI, and Twitter might have to pioneer it by showing how it can be measured in $.

          14. Renaldo Christie

            Will that help get revenue? That is the point .

          15. Ana Milicevic

            It’s an interesting challenge. ‘Social’ data is perceived as having very high value (Andy can attest to this probably more so than anyone here w/ LikeFolio) especially combined with the real-time nature of the platform (e.g. the place where conversations around live events happen like we see each time a show hashtag starts trending). They already monetize real-time data streams. I’m surprised there aren’t more monetization attempts around professional Twitter users at this stage – eg a pro set of tools for newsrooms, folks with large followings, brands, public figures, etc. Their analytics and insights also appear to be lacking (as evidenced by a now sizeable cottage industry of analysts and tools whose sole purpose is to better interpret Twitter data). I certainly understand the appeal of advertising as a business model but it appears they’re stuck in the MAU/DAU trap and any efforts to build out other aspects of their product appear near-invisible.

          16. Kirsten Lambertsen

            “…a pro set of tools for newsrooms, folks with large followings, brands, public figures, etc.” — yes, I have a feeling this is coming (official prediction! ha!)Agreed on analytics, as well. Maybe the quiet is b/c acquisitions are being negotiated.

          17. Vasudev Ram

            >Twitter is magical when it comes to immediately connecting people who don’t know each other, around a common interest.I agree, that’s one of the things about that I like most.However, there are also things about it that I don’t like. Wrote a separate top-level comment for some of that.

          18. Chris Darren

            Fred, Stop taking ideas from the public to come up with the product improvements. Twitter is an evil bitch that robbed lot of investors money. Don’t over glorify it anymore. This is a crazy whore whose time has gone past and can longer be rode upon.

          19. JoeK

            But in fact investors expectations have re-adjusted to the reality of the business that Twitter is in, which is why the price has adjusted down. Yes, TWTR is not FB, and so will not grow to 3 billion active users, hence the price correction. Twitter is currently losing users, AND losing money.

          20. Ana Milicevic

            No, investors’ expectations still track company performance based on metrics that don’t apply. It’s like evaluating the Golden State Warriors using tennis’ system of scoring. Doesn’t make sense. The fact that Twitter can’t parlay its huge and increasing cultural influence into a clearer business model & communique to investors is pretty baffling.

          21. JoeK

            Look at their own Form S-1, the metrics and challenge are obvious to them as well. I quote below.Risks Associated with Our BusinessOur business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those highlighted in the section titled “Risk Factors” immediately following this prospectus summary. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:1. If we fail to grow our user base, or if user engagement or the number of paid engagements with our pay-for-performance Promoted Products, which we refer to as ad engagements, on our platform decline, our revenue, business and operating results may be harmed;2. If our users do not continue to contribute content or their contributions are not valuable to other users, we may experience a decline in the number of users accessing our products and services, which could result in the loss of advertisers and revenue;3. We generate the substantial majority of our revenue from advertising, and the loss of advertising revenue could harm our business;4. If we are unable to compete effectively for users and advertiser spend, our business and operating results could be harmed;5. Our operating results may fluctuate from quarter to quarter, which makes them difficult to predict;6. User growth and engagement depend upon effective interoperation with operating systems, networks, devices, web browsers and standards that we do not control;7. If we fail to expand effectively in international markets, our revenue and our business will be harmed;8. We anticipate that we will expend substantial funds in connection with the tax liabilities that arise upon the initial settlement of restricted stock units, or RSUs, in connection with this offering, and the manner in which we fund that expenditure may have an adverse effect on our financial condition; and9. Existing executive officers, directors and holders of 5% or more of our common stock will collectively beneficially own % of our common stock and continue to have substantial control over us after this offering, which will limit your ability to influence the outcome of important transactions, including a change in control.

          22. JoeK

            And in the same document they state their own metric.”We review a number of metrics, including MAUs, timeline views, timeline views per MAU and advertising revenue per timeline view, to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate business plans and make strategic decisions”They can not use MAUs and MAU growth to target a $60 PS IPO price and then fail to appreciate why failing to deliver on that metric cripples your stock price.

          23. Ana Milicevic

            They haven’t articulated how any of the other more relevant metrics should be used (eg how should an advertiser treat them when buying). That’s why everyone’s going back to looking at MAUs = we know what to do with them and how to attribute value; we don’t know how to interpret Twitter’s other metrics and that’s squarely their fault and challenge now.(we here stands for the market or anyone who cares)

          24. StockMarketAnalyst

            There’s one way to change that conversation and that’s by producing massive sustainable monetization. FB had naysayers saying they couldn’t perform on mobile, and that shares were worth $12 at best. In the end the naysayers were wrong, FB was right. No additional communique to investors was required.

          25. StockMarketAnalyst

            This will cause a massive downward repricing, as [previous] management’s estimates are based on $4.00 for logged-in, $2.50 for logged-out http://www.businessinsider…. Value it on traditional media metrics, and the values are bound to be shaved off by quite a bit. You know who also enjoys plenty of logged-out visitors? Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Finance.

      3. Tracy Pan

        For ages people have gathered around to hear the news. And that stopped right there before they went on with their daily lives. Twitter is another medium in the current age. The user does not have to carry on with Twitter for a long time . 140 milliseconds is all the time the user is captivated to the news on Twitter.For Twitter to think about amassing the huge advertising revenue and encroach in others meal is a long shot that WILL never happen.Can people not communicate without Twitter around? Hell no.Make Twitter valuation to nada and the stock price to zero . That is what it should be .For all the VC s and money brokers who inflated the stock price, fuck them all.Twitter will and should go the grave soon

      4. JamesHRH

        Audience is their metric.It allows them to leverage the network duplication that does not exist on FB.

    4. Kevin Hill

      I keep waiting for them to directly monetize curation through premium feeds and splitting the $ with the curator. It would be pretty simple to enforce some form of digital property rights and identify bots than mindless pull from established feeds.

    5. jason wright

      where have i read that description before?

    6. StockMarketAnalyst

      Sure, but so is any other media/blogging/content company. Advertisers pay premium for the demographics and social connections. Otherwise you’re back to monetizing through CPMs, AdSense, ad networks and retargeting.

    7. TeddyBeingTeddy

      I kinda disagree. I don’t like TWTR as a stock pick at all, but I think it’s definitely a social network. Not only can I interact with my friends and get their daily/life updates, but can also interact with famous people that would otherwise never give me the time of day. And I’m able to get news faster than any other source. First it happens, then [Quintanilla] finds out, then tweets about it, then it happens on the news. So Social Network +

    8. JamesHRH

      The dropped the ball when they failed to realize that their customer base is not advertisers, its publishers like the people Fred listed in his post: LeBron, Demar, etc.You want a direct connection with your audience Mr. Trump? Pay up.

  35. John Revay

    And also in the last 24 hrsLeonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar Win Breaks Twitter Record…

  36. Slater

    Especially agree with your point around using monthly logged in user base as being too myopic a way of looking at Twitter. In fact most instances I see Tweets are through ESPN, CNN or some other media channel. If I want to search for something specific, I go to Twitter but it is consumed in a much broader sense

  37. RameshJain

    Twitter is a great concept and is very useful in many applications. It does have some serious limitations for other applications. I have been using it now for 6-7 years to do some serious research. I feel that some of those limitations could be removed to make it a really strong and powerful concept for many emerging applications of life-critical nature. But that requires some important modifications and changes. Knowing your interest in Twitter, would be happy to share my thoughts.

  38. Eric

    It’s not much of a contradiction IMHO.> Twitter is where people who have something to say go to say it.No – average people still mostly go to Facebook. Lots of my friends talked about the Oscars there. None of them did so on Twitter. Only a few of them even have accounts. Most folks with something real to say do it in places like this, or Reddit, or something similar.Twitter benefits from network effects between celebrities and the media that wants to cover them. People who want to talk to the media (like Donald Trump) go to Twitter. Media people go there because the people they’re covering are on it. And the 140 character limit is *perfect* for the kind of sound bytes that media people love. The reverse chronological real-time timeline is *perfect* for a group of people that prioritizes “First!” above all other considerations.Which basically means Twitter is a glorified press release service. Non-users of press releases still find out what’s in them if they’re picked up by reporters. But the average person doesn’t have any need for press releases. They might peer in out of curiosity since it’s all public, but how many people really want to? If Trump says something interesting (or more likely, dumb) on Twitter then I’ll probably hear about it through other channels. I simply don’t care that if I happened to be looking at Twitter the moment he said it that I’d have been among the first to read it. “Real-time” just isn’t that important to most people in most circumstances.

  39. creative group

    The majority of contributors on this blog (Unofficial assumption) use the Twitter platform and that fact would convince us the earth is flat.It isn’t enough that users with a built-in audience assists Twitter in maintaining a user base codependent on the power users brand. That brand consistently uses various other mediums as Twitters curn rate affirms.Being innovative, not reactive will assist Twitter in regaining its dominance. Opening the character base to more than 140 character’s. We could go on and on without reaching the intended change agents.If Twitter has one major positive it is Jack Dorsey. Change will be slow if at all when the King has no pants on and refuses to listen to pull them up.

  40. Tom Labus

    A little more noise on the sell side, please.

  41. Ana Milicevic

    This underscores the challenge with an ad-based business model though which needs active users (or eyeballs, rather, because we in advertising are seemingly rather morbid). No doubt that fantastically engaging conversations are happening – just in the last few weeks we’ve seen Kanye, #OscarsSoWhite, the genuine awesomeness of the real-time reactions to Steph Curry’s wizardry that Fred mentions above, etc. The challenge is how do you monetize this? BleacherReport is selling ads against the summary of what people said on Twitter, and the same goes for the countless roundups of ‘here’s what so-and-so tweeted’ across MSM and challengers like BuzzFeed, Vox, etc. What’s the metric that we should be paying attention to (since it’s clearly not MAU or DAU or the traditional definition of what ‘active’ means)?

  42. JoeK

    I think it is the opposite of what you stated Fred, Twitter is ‘mostly’ where people who have nothing valuable to say, go to say it.Kristaps’ tweet, or this NYT gem, summarises it quite well.

  43. jason wright

    has Trump always been this way, or is what we are seeing a campaign persona?

  44. mlstotts

    The social media of public record. A remarkable accomplishment.

  45. Jakob Nielson

    Fred, the fundamental issue the media has is user growth is radically slowing down.This single graphic depicts the core issue at handhttp://static6.businessinsi…Linked below is the full articlehttp://www.businessinsider….

  46. Dave Pinsen

    There’s an amazing Ann Coulter versus Sean Hannity exchange on Twitter right now about the NYT’s collusion allegations. Can’t imagine this happening on any other medium.

  47. DJ

    Re: Trump and Twitter. Wasn’t Citizen’s United going to be the end of the political world, if you listened to the Left? Wasn’t it the way that Corporate money was going to buy elections?What did Jeb Bush’ $150 million get for him? Zilch.Trump has spent almost nothing on his media campaign. But he’s the first Presidential candidate to be perfectly optimized for today’s short soundbite/flaming-outrage media, where Twitter excels.Congratulations Twitter media, you got your standard-bearer…Donald Trump.

  48. gregorylent

    needs to be a non-profit utility .. functionally it already is a global communications utilitycorrupted by sillicon valley values and the ipo home run mentality, and nearly ruined by non-user execs

  49. Joshua Dance

    I have seen multiple news ‘stories’ that are just a collection of embedded tweets. Twitter has problems, but they are not the ‘no one is using Twitter’ narrative.

  50. Salt Shaker

    If Trump loses the election he should become TWTR’s CRO. He certainly knows how to drive an audience. If that position is unavail he should pursue the National Enquirer or TMZ as a fallback.

  51. sebfung

    I’ve literally made the same exact points, especially with “Twitter is dying” FUD in SF. Until there’s a better platform to discuss real-time events (be it GOP debates, basketball games, award ceremonies, tv shows, product releases, etc.), I don’t see Twitter going anywhere.

  52. Lance

    It seems that while people with large voices (e.g. celebs, pundits) like to use it incessantly, the real “viewership” is far smaller than the sum total followers of these folks. I imagine I’m like most: have a Twitter account, turned off push notifications ages ago, infrequently check the app, see Tweets via other sources 1000x more than on Twitter itself.

  53. sigmaalgebra

    Fred, partly agree!For Twitter, some feedback: I’ve never used it. I don’t know even dip squat or jackshiite how it works. I don’t know what a hash tag, a retweet, or a follower is. I don’t know hardly the first thing about Twitter.Several times I have been led to what is apparently the main, home Web page of Twitter, and the page looks all excited for all excited Twitter users, but I didn’t see a good way to learn Twitter 101 for Dummies or non-dummies but new users. Sure; sure; sure; Twitter is supposed to be a cult, and I’m supposed just to dive in, try it and find out, but, nope, I’m a measure twice, saw once kind of guy.So, net, the Twitter Web site needs a link to a good introductory, explanatory Web page with title About, For New Users, or some such. We’re talking rational communications and simple information 101 here, guys.By the way, I don’t have a smart phone, either. So, for the Internet, I’m an e-mail, Web page, kind of guy.From lots of news coverage, Twitter does look important. If Twitter is now as in its original conception, then that conception was just brilliant.Yes, I don’t get it on the newsie theme that there is something seriously wrong with Twitter as a popular service or as a business.On Trump, yes, it appears that his use of Twitter has done a lot for his campaign. So, much of the traditional media is reduced just to reading his Tweets and copying them in their stories, Tweets millions have seen already.But forHe has avoided the traditional media channels Really? For some significant periods, maybe, really, all the time since he announced, he has received nearly all the coverage of politics by the “traditional media”. That is, he wasn’t just one story with just some coverage; instead, he was nearly the only story with nearly all the coverage. He was regarded as “ratings gold”, from what he said about “rapists” early on to his remarks about McCain in the Luntz interview, he got hours of coverage on the TV and no end of headlines and articles in the rest of the media.Have to call him the all-time US champion, world-class, grand master of media manipulation. Regarding his accomplishments here as incongruous doesn’t mean they are not real.And he does some little thingys: E.g., at his rally yesterday in Alabama, when about 32,000 people were waiting in, IIRC, the high school football stadium, he flew over at low altitude in his plane. A guy at the microphone in the stadium told the audience to look up at “Trump Force One”. So, Trump knows how to get attention, publicity, build his brand, etc. Maybe such publicity is crude, crass, or cheesy, but it’s also darned effective.Apparently he has gotten a lot of really good utility out of that plane, e.g., giving a rally one evening and showing up for an early morning, in person interview most of the way across the country.Not on his websiteActually, Trump has a quite well done, with nicely dignified style, and informative Web site. He has a lot of PDF files with position papers, reprints of media articles, links to videos, and more. It’s quite nicely done.Trump is this and that. He tends to exaggerate. On some smaller issues, some of his facts are not right. He is, under some circumstances,outspoken. He has had some major business successes and also some significant business failures.If look carefully, and look past what can look like just bombast, he is much smarter, skilled, and careful about emotional intelligence, Goffman’s “presentation of self”, and publicity than it looks at first glance.If list Trump’s faults, okay, but, then, who that is running is better?Cruz? He may lose a legal challenge on “native born US citizen”. What he did in Iowa should have disqualified him from that election. He has mumbled and dissembled on immigration. He claims to be an evangelical Christian, but when he tries to claim this his face looks like he is lying. I know some fully sincere, Midwest, evangelical Christians, and Cruz doesn’t look at all like them. Cruz is supposed to be a good lawyer and, thus, good with details and paperwork, but somehow he forgot to report the loans, low interest, personal guarantee, from Citi and Goldman Sachs. At the last debate, one of the main arguments lawyer Cruz made against Trump was just to ask a question, how could someone who has in the past given money to liberal candidates be a rock solid, rock-ribbed, solidly to the right of Genghis Khan, 100% died in the wool, totally orthodox, granite-hard, iron-clad, steel-strong, case-closed, true, force poor, pregnant women to carry to term and then die sick, cold, and starving in the streets, military colossus with the rest of the trembling world under a US boot, microcephalic government, Republican conservative? Maybe I exaggerated some. Cruz, a man of your worldly wisdom should be able to find an answer; maybe Trump was in business and paying bribes, oops, sorry, gratuities, naw, just friendly gifts, to politicians. Didn’t Trump give you $5000?Rubio? He has carried water for Iger of Disney and Zuck of Facebook and stabbed in the back the Disney employees in Rubio’s state, Florida. Currently Rubio is using nasty boy middle school insult tactics. Rubio needs to restart his career doing something he might be good at, say, cleaning up in the dog pens at an animal shelter. Or, he could follow Jeb! around as he sweeps sidewalks and tries to help Jeb not injure himself with the broom. Of course Jeb shouldn’t be sweeping sidewalks in Florida because he might pass meet someone who had a Florida pension from a fund Jeb gave to Lehman to manage, which Lehman trashed but gave Jeb, what was it, a job, did he ever show, for $1.5 million? But little Jeb, so meek, so innocent and helpless looking, was supposed at least to be a nice guy, right?Lesson: Our country is much worse off than has been commonly discussed. We’re in trouble, guys.Of course, in the end, what counts are results in the, right, vote counts. Well, in Iowa, Trump got 7 electors and Cruz, 8 — had Cruz not had the fraudulent e-mail about “Voting Violation” and stolen votes from Carson, Trump may have won. IIRC, in South Carolina, Trump got all 50 electors. Currently Trump has more electors than all the other candidates combined. Results!We will check again with the returns tomorrow night, especially in Texas, but the question is getting to be: Is there even one state where Hillary has a good shot at winning?

  54. Rob Underwood

    I’d also observe that the social element – the discovery – of Twitter has withered a bit I think, which is a bummer. In the early days (2008 – 2011 or so I’d say), there were discussions on Twitter somewhat akin to those here on among people, mostly people not well known and not public figures, and who did not know each other in real life.Now it feels a bit creepy and stalker-ish to jump into conversations. Some folks consider it bad manners. My sense is that the conversations that happen now on Twitter are mostly among famous people with each other, or otherwise people who know each other in real life. It’s rarely strangers engaging each other.I also think favorites killed RTs, and that RTs are essential to discovery (which was made worse by the 2,000 following limit).

  55. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I am waiting with great anticipation for when Twitter comes out loud and proud about how it’s going to deal with harassment on the platform. I truly believe it will break out from the growth lull by doing that. Announce loud and hard, and *lead* the way on harassment. It will be a beautiful thing when it happens.I loved the addition of gifs. Truly. But it’s time to make harassment the front and center project.

  56. Divraj Jain

    Can twitter ever charge a monthly subscription for it’s product ?

  57. JoeK

    Twitter needs to invest $500M in making sure that ad-blockers become as ubiquitous as search bars in web browsers. The advertising dollars will rapidly flow to TWTR from FB. It’s really that simple.

  58. TH

    LIAD quoted Yogi Berra without attribution people.

  59. howardlindzon

    Fred this is nonsense. Twitter is focused on ads over truth which means it can’t be trusted. Trump is spreading hate and making personal attacks with a heavy hand. Twitter would be best served pushing him and all heavy haters elsewhere. The traffic degrades the usefulness. The NiLE river is powerful but good luck drinking from it for a regular citizen.Twitter is still a fave tool but if there was another place my audience hung in size I would leave. Period. Nuzzle is my news source. For funds I’m sure Dataminr and Gnip and StockTwits gives them what they need. Twitter should be unhappy to be a dump pipe based on the investment it received

    1. howardlindzon

      no changes

    2. LE

      Trump is spreading hate and making personal attacks with a heavy hand. Twitter would be best served pushing him and all heavy haters elsewhereThis is all nonsense Howard. Compared to real problems of what people get influenced by such violent video games, violent movies, drugs in every high school and super predators in “bad neighborhoods” do you really think that what Trump says is going to cause major damage to our country? Words? Un-Presidential behavior as opposed to (as I have pointed out countless times) blow jobs in the white house, and all of the other shit that politicians do?The problem is almost the exact opposite. You can lose your job and the way you make your living if you don’t tow the politically correct line of speaking. The problem is nobody wants to speak up and say what needs to be said for fear of hitting third rail issues.Twitter is still a fave tool but if there was another place my audience hung in size I would leave.So there you go. You want to protest what twitter does but you won’t leave because it’s not in your self interest to leave. Same reason that the media does their part to spread that hate that Trump is spewing (your words, not mine..)

    3. JLM

      .What your are suggesting a substantial part of the world’s intelligentsia calls “censorship.”A platform or a network which intends to be “social” is stuck with the reality that society can be a bit crass sometimes.While it may be a smidgen crass to note that Hillary Clinton is seeking a seat at the desk at which Monica Lewinsky undertook to provide her Bill with an alternative source of sexual intimacy than that vouchsafed by his marriage “vows”, it is exactly what would be observed at a family gathering or in other tribal elements of society.The question then becomes do you want reality or some filtered version of ONE’s desired bias confirmation?Alternatively, pummel the Hell out of Trump speculating on why he hasn’t been able to see a marriage through in the face of “to death do us part” — always a high standard.There are those who think that Twitter is already knee deep in political partisanship, not a healthy development for a mass market source of information such as Twitter.You want the real world or your own world?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. howardlindzon

        Screw the real world. Screw news. I live in reality of svtaying out of trouble based on the laws that exists and if the law is so crazy than I retreat or fight. Donald is a lying bully. Bullies suck in higfh school and they suck in executive positions. I am for RULES and enforcing rules, not more rules for the sake of rules. I am for rules based on common good and than enforcement on said rules and not more rules for sake of rules

        1. JLM

          .OK, so we have established that you want some T ball form of world rather than the real one, so what?I hold no brief for Donald Trump but I do prefer reality rather than a rules based bastardization of reality. A filter held by an unsteady hand to blur reality.You like the rules that YOU like. YOU want to be the first and final arbiter of the rules. Why?Rules are always the trip wire that destroys free markets. Let the information fly and let everyone decide for themselves what the facts are. Free markets and free peoples are always very good arbiters of the truth.Your characterization of Trump as a bully may be the consensus — thus far, the ballot box does not agree or the voters are looking for exactly that characteristic perhaps being willing to put up with it in return for some competence — but why does everyone else not get to the see the same evidence?Again, that’s called censorship.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. howardlindzon

            i vote with my time i know I dont get what i want. I dont control twitter nor care whether they listen to me, but I do know that my daughter andf other women getting harassed because people dont like me only hurts how I think and use twitter. That could be good long term for twitter. I just BELIEVE that tball is better for most people than the real world. The real world is full of shit and poverty and crime and hate.

          2. JLM

            .Bit of a disconnect on the daughter and other women bit. Not sure what you mean.T ball is not the real world. The pain and the pleasure are in the real world.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. howardlindzon

            if I cared what the consensus thought I wouldnt be doing what Im doing, I would be more like Hilary and Trump and than not just hate everyone, but also myself.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Ah, you are being unfair, so unfair to Bill and Hill: What they have is a unique, mutually agreeable, power partnership, and there now it’s her turn!

    4. sigmaalgebra

      Trump is spreading hate and making personal attacks with a heavy handYes, I’ve read and heard such statements often, but also I’ve read all the material on his Web site, watched all the Republican debates where Trump was present, and watched a major fraction of all the (distinct) YouTube videos with Trump’s interviews or speeches, and, from that material, with my own eyes and ears, I don’t see significant support for your statement.I’d need some examples. Yes, there are a lot of examples if just take what was reported about Trump by others, but for what has come directly from Trump I’m not seeing anything particularly bad, upsetting, offensive, improper, etc. And I don’t see him as a “bully” — although I’ve seen/read lots of people so claim, along with racist, xenophobic, and more, none of which I can support.Ah, a few minutes ago I read a George Will piece on how to stop Trump, and, bottom line, Will wanted Rubio — definitely I don’t.Don’t be shy. Cough it up. The debate transcripts are readily available, and I’ve got lots of YouTube URLs. We should be able to get this down to what, in common high school term paper writing standards, are called primary sources. Then at least we will both be looking at the same basic, fully credible data, and that situation should at least narrow the area for differences. Primary sources only, please!

  60. howardlindzon

    Trump is using Twitter to bully and hate. The exact opposite of what anyone should want Twitter to be used for. The media is being blamed and I blame Twitter for being spineless on political badgering and hate

  61. Semil Shah

    I’m a broken record on this topic, but the core issue is Twitter cannot capture the value generated by all of these tweets. One way (as an example) is to put targeted ads in the embeds so that when the tweet is spread and cited, the creator of the tweet and the company benefits.

  62. Michael Lipman

    100% agree, but from a product perspective there are so many glaring atrocities. I’m looking forward to when they actually make the daily or hourly habitual consumption experience usable. They are not there yet. I think automatically grouping follows into lists and promoting high quality low volume tweeters are the first steps. Finding a way to make >140 char work would be next on my list.

  63. TH

    @howardlindzon:disqus Respectfully disagree $TWTR should be in the thought policing business (short of illegal behavior). Seems recent brouhahas like #FreeStacy have the potential to alienate and lose millions of users and pose a business risk.

  64. LaMarEstaba

    I use Twitter a lot. I don’t post very much on FB. It’s a bullhorn to everyone I know, whereas Twitter is a quick sentence said to a lot of people, some of whom I don’t know IRL. I recently made my account private. It’s easier for me to tweet than FB post.

  65. BillMcNeely

    I think the verdict is still out out Twitter. It’s not done yet but some elements of pop culture are looking for other outlets. I just listen to an interview with Carly Rare Jepsen of Call Me Maybe Fame” her music really took off after a Tweet from Justin Beeber in 2012. In the interview she said referenced “when Twitter was a thing” as it it’s not relevant any longer for folks her age or her fans.

  66. joelatone

    As a broadcasting platform–“where people who have something to say go to say it”–my frustrations with it are:1. As a public broadcasting service, it needs to be more like….2. I’d like to use it for enterprise/business broadcasting/group messaging, like Slack, but it never developed those capabilities/features (from day one, this could have been very profitable).3. As a commercial broadcasting platform–and an investor in $TWTR–I’ll say it bluntly: it needs to do a much better job at making money, like developing (or allowing others to develop) much better products & services from its network & content.Otherwise, sure, it’s great like you say, but it can/will be replaced some day if it doesn’t markedly improve; vested interest in the platform is questionable right now.

  67. Joe Cardillo

    I’m no expert, but it seems to me that (thank you Seth Godin!) that people are either paying in direct revenue or attention. By that latter metric, Twitter is doing just fine. Have they figured out user growth patterns (in particular, referrals related to new user signup) and monetization via adrev? Seems like it’s still in process, but honestly in the attention economy they are doing fine and as long as the exec team + investors avoid instant, short term thinking, they’ll be ok.

  68. Justin Paterno

    I wonder if the massive distribution (through embedded tweets, etc), while helpful at first actually begins to hurt Twitter at this point. Most people don’t need Twitter to consume Twitter, as they can consume through aggregators, nightly news, etc. This is very true with Trump as Twitter provides the stump for him, but then the message is spread through many other mediums. Similar to the problem many MSM companies are going through right now (who owns the scoop).I can’t imagine ESPN/ABC or NBC allowing other mediums the ability to use their content without license and I wonder if its time for Twitter to find ways to better monetize that audience that you mention in your post.

    1. Salt Shaker

      The Q is whether 3rd party media outlets value TWTR content enough to pay a syndication or affiliate fee? That’s likely a pretty hard sell. I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The exposure TWTR gets via embedded tweets and 3rd party outlets is worth millions in free marketing/promo support. I frankly would try and make those relations even stronger. TWTR gets great exposure. Where they fall short is on the acquisition/retention front.

      1. Justin Paterno

        Agree its a hard sell, although you make it seem like acquisition and retention is some easy thing for them to do. I would say this is very hard, if not harder. I consume youtube everywhere, but imagine how hard it would be for youtube to have to drive me to the youtube app, to engage in a daily habit of youtube video discovery and consumption behavior so that they could effectively monetize me.Both not easy.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Don’t disagree. Didn’t mean to belittle the importance and challenges w/ acquisition/retention. Nothing harder than acquiring/retaining users or audiences.

  69. dave

    So why doesn’t Twitter build its business around this monopoly?

  70. nikeshparekh

    Fred, It’s clear that Twitter has an opportunity as a media outlet, but why doesn’t Twitter make it easier and simpler for people to publish on Twitter? I know this is blasphemy, but the character limit takes people to other platforms where it is easier to publish and engage with audience. Seems like rather than creating a Twitter storm, Twitter should go deep with Lebron & Curry & Trump etc. What am I missing?

  71. M

    Fred, the people you are talking about are all celebrities. That’s something you have to understand. If you are a “normal person” and you tweet something, 99.9% of the time you get no feedback whatsoever. Twitter is not as useful as it should be unless it fixes this problem.

  72. Keith Teare

    When Michael Grimes and Mary Meeker educated me prior to filing RealNames IPO back in 2000 they said – “be careful to choose appropriate KPIs, the market will measure you by them.” I think the Twitter Board and Management chose the wrong KPIs and now the market is using them as a hammer. The only way forward is to teach them new KPIs.

  73. hypermark

    Twitter is a big fat paradox. It is on the one hand, in the bones, sinew and tissue of its many dedicated users. On the other hand, it is a cluster-f-ck of confusion about what exactly its mission is, how the product will evolve to support that mission, and the business that will drive it.Put it alongside Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon, and the contrast is pretty start in terms of clarity vs. confusion.Put another way, as a product and as a business, Twitter **feels** like one big A/B Test. As a service, it’s indispensable. The incongruity between the two axes confuses and frustrates users, investors and partners alike.

  74. Alfredo Octavio

    There is no contradiction. Twitter got trapped into using the wrong metric for itself and has not managed to get out of it. Stop reporting active users and start looking for ways to report views wherever they happen.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      frequency vs. reach

  75. Pete Griffiths

    Not a fan.The original hope was that Twitter would be to the interest graph what FB was to the social network. But imho Twitter hasn’t delivered on that promise.Ironically FB has done a decent job in figuring out the interest graph of FB’s gigantic userbase whilst Twitter has just looked confused.

  76. Dorian Benkoil

    Fred,  I think there’s something else: call it “zeitgeist”, call it sentiment,  call it data. Your quotes from the basketball stars helps make the point: No other platform,  in real time,  gives such a measure of people’s perceptions and feelings in real time,  around specific events and movements.  Think of #Oscarssowhite and #BlackLivesMatter. And I’ve said before: Think of how rich a portrayal you can get of the Pope’s travels, or from bikers on the Tour de France. More fun and sometimes more informative than any wire story. The question for Twitter is can they turn that into $$$ in their pockets?

  77. jusben1369

    Haven’t we been saying this since the Arab Spring and even earlier? I’m not sure it isn’t just the NY Times on steroids. Large, big media pubs can have an outsized impact on narratives. But they themselves struggle to capture and monetize that amplification precisely because it happens away from their platform.Nearly everyone in the US (1st world?) knows what the NY Times is and probably even occasionally reads articles from there. But it’s ceiling as a business is clear and very different to a social platform.

  78. Peng Jin

    I do think the responsibility mostly lies with Twitter’s IR strategy. Investors follow companies’ guidance to formulate an evaluation method. I think Twitter should be bolder in its “personal publishing platform” position. One real challenge for Twitter to address is how big the market is as a personal publishing platform could be appealing to only a small group of opinion leaders. Look at what is happening in China as a comp. Weibo, which is the China version of Twitter, was the king of social communications until WeChat (social instant messenger) came out. Now Weibo is still the platform of choice when people want to express opinions to the public, but most average Joes have switched to WeChat almost completely. Weibo’s market cap is about $3 billion, while WeChat (still private) is said to be valued around $30-50 billion. A publishing network is easier to monetize and shouldn’t be compared with FB in MAUs. Twitter needs to somehow convince people of that.

  79. Davealevine

    I also own the stock and am a huge believer in the company. But I see this is a failure of communication by Twitter with Wall Street. When many of the board members don’t Tweet and the company hires a CFO who rarely tweeted before joining the company, it is unsurprising they do a poor job of conveying what the company is about: how could they possibly understand if they don’t use the product?Twitter will be fine and eventually the company should be able to convey a more accurate narrative of its huge social importance and long term value creation (you barely scratch the surface). But one place to start would be to ensure that all executives and board members know what the company does – by actually tweeting.

  80. matthughes

    I love Twitter.They should learn to tell their story as well as Fred does.

    1. Drew Meyers

      I love twitter too.But in 8 years, they’ve never once figured out how to get any money from me.

  81. Alex Inman

    Fred, Shame on you for impressing Twitter to the public a zillion times now. Don’t try to fool people for yet an other time . A very fuckboy approach in my opinion

  82. Ilya Spekhov

    Twitter is the most direct way to connect with original content source.

  83. Bahadir Balban

    Twitter’s biggest value is in conversation with a global audience. They should solely focus on emphasizing that more. Their discovery sucks. They should bring the latest threads to you based on your interests.

  84. Paul Grueber

    So following this hypothesis and given Twitters revenue is 90% mobile based, how do you track it to then prove that value?

  85. Frank Traylor

    Not long ago a friend told me how facebook was in decline as it’s no longer the platform of choice for the kids. I responded with 1/5 of the world’s population on the product a smart person should be able to figure out a path to success… and Mark Zuckerberg seems pretty bright.Twitter isn’t Facebook but no surprise they have both evolved from early adopters. Twitter is now an instant news feed. I remember following instant first hand accounts of the hotel attack in Mumbai and conflicts during the Arab Spring. Major news networks quote twitter feeds. I suppose celebrity tweets are just another form of this; the quickest, broadest means of getting information out.

    1. Lizzie Truden

      Do u have a Twitter account ? If not, that tells the sad story of Twitter

      1. Frank Traylor

        Yes Lizzie, @franktraylor. I’m not a big twitter user but have over 1,000 followers so at least I’m active.

        1. Lizzie Truden

          If in a virtual world, you are given a tablet and an access to just one website, will that be Twitter or Facebook ? If it is not Twitter, see , that tells the sad story of Twitter

          1. Frank Traylor

            Certainly a sad story when we are left with but a single website. The web apocalypse.

  86. Nick Devane

    Twitter is, and always has been, the modern Agora. It doesn’t need to be anything else.It’s where all the people with a voice go to debate and discuss, and it’s extremely effective to this end. Just like the Agora, most folks don’t need to participate, although they are able to. Similarly, most Greek folks didn’t observe it, but the conversations that took place there influenced their lives in every way.

  87. Korf

    Right, it is what it always was – THE one to many information bus for the internet. Twitter needs to go back to what it is good at (ads are a necessary evil but shouldn’t be the product), make it easier for people set up and connect with followers, and for established users… help us refresh who we follow.

  88. FerTo

    I think a lot of negative buzz is related to the simple “we only measure the MAU”-pattern in tech press.But if the MAU isn’t important, wouldn’t it be helpful when Twitter publishes different numbers, e.g. the “passive Access” to tweet.For example, how often some tweets of politicians are cited or viewed or something different.And if this passive user stream is interesting and relevant, the monetization of this passive user stream is still lacking some solutions from twitter.

  89. RichardF

    I would guess that after politics posts about Twitter drive the most comments here

  90. Ole Jakob Thorsen

    It wont be long before I spend more time on Twitter than reading my daily newspaper. The latter still attempt to deliver a physical newspaper full of adverts and old news, whereas Twitter delivers instant or recent news that are more relevant for my areas of interest and with very little advertising. That is the problem both for Twitter and traditional newspapers. I believe Twitter is closer to the solution than traditional newspapers.

  91. Brad Lindenberg

    Is it a business? If Twitter just sat on its hands forever would it still have the same utility value… like Reddit has had? Probably. No doubt it is a great utility, but is it a great business?

  92. Andu @

    Twitter is like a selfie for our thoughts.

    1. Craig Kloster

      a horrible selfie, that is

      1. Andu @

        I should have said: A tweet is like a selfie for out thoughts. So it depends what you tweet.

        1. Craig Kloster

          Why would anyone want to go Twitter to get redirected to the actual content ? And if you don’t follow the right people you will never know the real content.Twitter is trash

      2. Andu @

        A tweet is like a selfie for our thoughts.

  93. kidehen

    Amen!A very accurate analysis of the Twitter Paradox. I also wrote about this on Medium [1], but I am weary of sharing links on Disqus as they are presumed to be spam.[1]… — Twitter is a Uniquely Rich Brand.

  94. Vasudev Ram

    One thing I don’t like about the Twitter interface is the reverse chronological order of tweets, and the fact that in some places the reverse is reversed, e.g. for replies. First, unnatural, second, inconsistent. This is my main peeve about Twitter from some time. Not sure if this issue needs to exist. E.. Usenet and bulletin board systems (BBS’s) solved it long back. Just use forward chronological order.

  95. David Bookout

    ~ Fred; is not the investor’s primary test and question “can the enterprise generate profitability through transactions in which their product/service offers are paid for in cash, or cash equivalents ?”… the contradiction, then, to me, is that the “value” provided is still free… why ?… are they afraid to position themselves for what they really are and charge for it ?… would high profile, or want-to-be high profile users pay to continue use ???…

  96. @MartyCrampton

    P’haps the extension is Fred, that (Twitter) needs to change the perception of user metrics from logged-in tweeters to old-fashioned “eye-balls” ?

  97. whitespace

    Problem is still the UI. Moments is terrible. It’s too clean. Everything about twitter is too damn sparse. Facebook loads everything on the page but it’s clean at the same time. But you get the feeling there’s stuff happening. Twitter in the meantime feels like someone put a mobile app on the browser. I use twitter mainly on browser, so maybe I’m biased. Plus the stupid 144 characters or however many is dumb. It’s like electric car range anxiety. There’s absolutely no need to make people feel anxious about typing into the text field. Facebook instead has “How do you feel?” to make it feel personal and inviting. Moments should look more like the DailyMail instead of a cookie recipe page.

  98. jjjohnson

    So well said, you’re genuinely an amazing communicator Fred! Been lurking here for a while, and to some extent adopted the status quo pessimistic outlook for Twitter; you’ve subverted that in one fell swoop!

  99. Underwun

    Twitter needs it’s own metrics, comparisons to Facebook and Google are misleading

  100. Michael Brockway

    Agreed. I’ve had this very conversation with many people I’ve run into recently. As a value oriented investor I find it hard to grapple with TWTR (ever-changing tech landscape, ugly financials, popular stock, etc.), but there is no doubt that the value of the network is increasing by the day. Anyone saying ‘real time’ is irrelevant must not get the popularity of lives events. How to put a number on that value to derive an enterprise value or define some margin of safety is completely beyond me. User metrics be damned and “comps” as well.

  101. fredwilson

    no, my kids follow lebron and steph on twitter

  102. pointsnfigures

    In five years when bandwidth etc is better, video will be a thing.

  103. Twain Twain

    Coherency rather than consensus is what matters to me.As Steve Jobs pointed out, we can’t invent by consensus.However, a product and its pitch need to be coherent (or at least perceived to be so).Twitter’s issue is not simply contradiction. It’s its incoherency which needs fixing.

  104. StockMarketAnalyst

    Not sure that bandwidth is the problem, Periscope is still pretty small even in places with extremely high bandwidth. Also, why Twitter and not YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat or television?