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Taking Stock Of Twitter’s IPO

Twitter’s big IPO – the buzz, the billions and assessing the value of an empire of tweets.

An updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange features a Twitter logo, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in New York. Twitter Inc. will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning after setting a price for its IPO sometime Wednesday evening. (AP)

An updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange features a Twitter logo, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in New York. Twitter Inc. will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning after setting a price for its IPO sometime Wednesday evening. (AP)

Seems like five minutes ago, Twitter was sort of a joke. This week, it’s a big IPO. A public stock offering on the New York Stock Exchange that will value Twitter at over $10 billion. The company with the funny name that introduced us all to tweets and hash tags and 140-character messages is riding a wave or a bubble, depending how you see it. Hoping to raise a lot of cash without taking the kind of dive Facebook did after its sky-high IPO. All the attention is lighting up social media and where it’s headed. Our always-on web life. Up next On Point: #TwitterIPO, and where Twitter takes us.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Zach Seward, senior editor of Atlantic Media’s online business news magazine, Quartz. (@ZSeward)

Rob Armstrong, head of Lex, the Financial Times’ opinion and analysis column. (@rbrtrmstrng)

Jennifer Van Grove, social media reporter at CNet. (@JBruin)

From Tom’s Reading List

Quartz: What Twitter’s IPO Means –  “People will call it a bubble, but they’re generally talking finance, as in the reason Pinterest and Snapchat are now worth $4 billion apiece. What I see is a social bubble, the collective delusion that Twitter’s IPO is a celebratory event, even if you’re not one of the few actually holding a stake in the company.”

CNet: Boobs and banner ads: Twitter’s Facebook dilemma — “At their worst, Twitter ads now resemble banner ads. Yet instead of being relegated to the right-hand side of a Web page, the ads are popping up in the stream on desktop and mobile. The brand-appeal, however, is that a company can pay to promote a tweet to a wider audience and use the power of an in-line photograph to make a stronger impact. Take Victoria’s Secret, for instance, which recently ran a Promoted Tweet with an image of a scantily clad model whose boobs, which would have previously been hidden from view until a person clicked to view them, ran through the timelines of a wide-eyed audience.”

New York Times: Twitter Raises Price Range for Its I.P.O. – “But coming ahead of pricing for the company’s stock, the higher price range suggests Twitter is emboldened after the conclusion of its road show. Thanks to the strong demand for its stock, Twitter is planning to close the order books for its I.P.O. on Tuesday at noon, a day earlier than scheduled, according to people familiar with the matter. Twitter still plans to price on Wednesday and begin trading on Thursday.”

Playlist

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  • Coastghost

    Oooh and ahhh: public broadcasting dishonesty on full display today, both here at “On Point” and on the home page for OP sponsor WBUR: NO MENTION ANYWHERE of the continuing debacle of the rollout of the (Un)Affordable Care Tax Act.
    Oh yes, readers, this stupendous failure of public health policy implementation is still being mangled across the country: but you won’t hear your trusted public radio program or station belabor the obvious: NO, an underperforming tech IPO takes the lead, the journalism on display for THIS story will have to be compelling and intrepid to make up for the lack of newsworthiness otherwise.
    This is rank dishonesty, for public broadcasting to do such a poor job telling us plainly just how poorly public health policy is being implemented. (And NO, NPR: I don’t need Kaiser Health News to tell me what a superb product ACTA actually is.)

    • jefe68

      Get a life.

      • Coastghost

        Sage advice: getting a life is easier than getting affordable health insurance coverage these days . . .

        • jefe68

          Yeah, like you right wingers really wanted that to work.

    • JGC

      And don’t forget about Benghazi. They refuse to have a weekly show dedicated to Benghazi, also.

      • Coastghost

        Really! Public broadcasting editorial practice leaves much to be desired in terms of fairness and intellectual honesty. Plus, the decisions about which groups to favor and give preferential coverage to, which ones to ignore and hide and conceal from view, which advocacies to embrace, et cetera, are removed from “the public” altogether and left in the hands of “media professionals” who all have no substantive disagreements with the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, another claim to fame of public broadcasting patron saint LBJ.

        • JGC

          You could watch C-SPAN for the Senate hearings on the ACA. They don’t even take any government funding (C-SPAN, I mean, not the U.S. Senate). That’s what I’m doing right now…

          • Coastghost

            Alas, I boycott all television. (I take it Marilyn Tavenner has not yet resigned, though I fail to understand how the beleaguered administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can continue in her job given her success in springing a crippled website on the unsuspecting public.)

          • JGC

            You can watch it on your laptop on the C-SPAN website. At the very least, you get to hear the inquisition directly, the questions and posturing done by the senators and the answers from the grillees. Instead of having it filtered through media biases, you can make your own decisions on the information.

            No one is resigning in this debacle, whether they deserve to or not, because if a position becomes vacant, the House will never never never never let Obama fill it with another appointee.

    • Leonard Bast

      They should also do a weekly, or maybe even a daily, show on Obama being a Muslim born outside the United States. Or, perhaps they could alternate: one day a show on Benghazi and one day a show on Obama the Muslim, and then back again. For variety, they could do a program on how Obama was responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina as well. Or maybe one on Obama and Watergate. Or maybe one on how Obama killed Kennedy!

      • Coastghost

        I wouldn’t advise straying over topics too broadly, mind you: but considering the hours and days worth of ACTA advocacy that NPR, et al., indulged in prior to 1 Oct 2013, the relative lack of coverage given to the atrocious rollout since that date shows plainly that public broadcasting represents not the public so much as it represents its own (Federally subsidized) interests.

        • Leonard Bast

          Sarcasm: the ability to insult idiots without them realizing it.

          • Coastghost

            Should you ever acquire a working sense of irony, you’ll be in business, but take care: irony that goes unrecognized by its intended victims is a waste of rhetoric.

          • Leonard Bast

            Not if it’s recognized by everyone else, which seems to be the case here, based on the responses to your off-topic nonsense.

          • Coastghost

            Sarcasm and irony both fail you as soon as you begin speaking plainly and erroneously: the “off-topic nonsense” you only latterly allude to could have signaled you to the sarcasm lurking in my “offending” paragraph above. –Or are you confessing that you missed it?

          • Leonard Bast

            You are not only off-topic, you are also incoherent. In any case, I’m done with you. As Mark Twain said, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

          • Coastghost

            I apologize for interrupting your soliloquy.

          • jefe68

            It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

          • jefe68

            As Groucho Marx once said: ‘He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.’

    • hennorama

      Coastghost — as previously noted, there is a very handy “Contact Us” link above, on the left side, where you can register your complaints.

      Perhaps you might consider complaining to someone who might actually be able to take action on your pet issue, rather than taking up space in this forum.

      • Coastghost

        hen: I see gentle humor does not desert you, even in the wake of the return of standard time.
        Given the numerous treatises, monographs, encyclopedia entries, et cetera, that you routinely treat Forum participants to, I hardly think my lone paragraph above qualifies as much of an offense.

        • hennorama

          Coastghost — got it. You don’t like the message, so you instead discuss the messenger.

          No problem.

          • Coastghost

            My objection was merely to the repetitive nature of your observation or complaint.

          • hennorama

            #trèsdrôle

          • HonestDebate1

            I would never so much as click dislike for your endless alliterative nonsense, german musings, off-topic nastiness or any of it. Free speech, ya’ know. But one would think by now you would realize you are not the schoolmarm of this blog. God bless your right to not practice what you preach.

        • StilllHere

          Amen, you have to play by his/her/its rules which only allow it to be off point if, in its view, it’s for the greater good.

          • hennorama

            StilllHere — the cowardly mistress of the snide aside rears its ugly … let’s just be polite and say “opposite of head” … again.

            Quelle surprise.

          • StilllHere

            Just to stay on topic re Twitter, you are such a twit.
            Don’t blame me for calling out your hypocrisy, here you’ve given us a two-fer.
            And your French sucks too.

          • hennorama

            StilllHere — misunderstanding two languages and facile insults — you must be so proud.

      • PithHelmut

        What’s wrong with bringing it to the attention of everyone here? You seem a bit hung up on procedure. These times they are a changin’ as Bob Dylan sang. Tom Ashbrook’s show is one of the few honest sources and a good place for the curious to know more than the pabulum that is usually broadcasted.

        • hennorama

          PithHelmut — Thank you for your response.

          My objection is to the repetitive nature of the complaint rather than the fact of it.

    • TFRX

      You’re much better off with your beliefs about Obamacare rather than On Point digging into all the slipshod coverage about HowBadItIs (TM).

      I mean, yeah, Fox is doling out their usual sht 24×7, but plenty of “liberal media” outlets are pissing on their own shoes, especially CBS and NBC, with stuff that looks bad until ten seconds of journalism are applied.

      Plenty of Joes the Plumber-style ignorants flooding the airwaves pretending Obamacare ruined their perfect insurance.

      It’s beyond shameful to see anyone calling themselves a journalist congratulating themselves for changing the narrative from Republicans’ shameful and cynical government shutdown to the ACA. It’s enough to make baby Jesus weep.

      Where are the stories about what happens to people with pre-existing conditions without Obamacare?

      Where are the stories about people getting access to affordable health insurance because of Obamacare?

      Where are the stories about the people who died before they could get affordable health insurance?

      Where are those stories?

    • StilllHere

      Sorry, we need another show with people whining about the government shutdown that everyone else has forgotten because it wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place. #Shutdown?WhatShutdown?
      A show about the failure of a program that seeks to upturn 18% of the economy, not so interesting. #AnotherObamaFailure

  • Leonard Bast

    “. . . assessing the value of an empire of tweets.”

    I cannot speak to who will or will not get rich from Twitter (and that, of course, is what is meant by “assessing the value” of most things in our country), but I can assess one aspect of non-monetary value. I just finished reading and marking a set of essays for my first-year college students, and the value of those written catastrophes is fairly low: essays composed almost entirely in sentence fragments, with incorrect punctuation, incorrect capitalization, and many more abominations that make them almost incomprehensible. I fear a world that communicates in tweets is but one step away from one that communicates in grunts and gestures.

    • twenty_niner

      Did they all get failing grades?

  • PithHelmut

    Not directly related but why no mention on NPR about the imminent Fukushima disaster which has major implications for everyone in North America? Nuclear industry furtiveness much? Should those fuel rods blow, stock markets be damned along with most everything else.

    • StilllHere

      Watch out, you’re off topic.

  • creaker

    If you’re not in a position to take advantage of an IPO, who really cares?

    On the downside, another business becomes a slave to stockholders and the market, and will prioritize short term appearance over their products and smarter long term business strategies.

    • J__o__h__n

      At least this company doesn’t produce anything that anyone needs. I doubt it employs many people. If the quality of Twitter declines, do you really care?

  • ToyYoda

    Just as the product ’15-minute’ ab workout needs to worry about a potential future competitor, ’10-minute’ ab competitor, what if another twitter service, perhaps ‘chatter’, comes out with 50% more characters per message?

  • Ray in VT

    Regardless of Twitter as a business enterprise, I do find it very interesting as a platform. My wife checks it now and then to see what her favorite comedians are up to, and it’s interesting to see them interacting with their followers online in a public forum.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Hell of a deal. The Big Boys buy it all up then immediately jack the price to the little guys and gals thus taking all of the profits. As it always is.

  • hennorama

    TWTR IPO? GR8 4 Tweeple. IRL YMMV.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Meh. Passing fad. Texting addicts. A fool born every second.

  • Ty Jepson

    The biggest question is whether Twitter can be monetized AND whether that monetization will be sustainable. How does one define Twitter as a company? They don’t sell any tangible good or collect money for services, so what is the business model beyond sponsored posts and advertising? What’s to say Twitter won’t be forgotten in another five years? In 2007 a columnist for The Guardian wrote a column headlined “Will MySpace ever lose its monoploly?” I suppose ending a headline with a question mark means it isn’t concrete prognostication.

  • Coastghost

    Yes, Tom, EVERYONE is watching the Twitter IPO with breath bated: this could be the most far-reaching event EVER in the development of social media. Entire encyclopedias with 140-character counts could be devoted to the subject with incisive commentary. Narcissism and solipsism for all!

    • J__o__h__n

      I think this is the first time I have ever agreed with you.

  • JasonB

    First, I’m not an old man. I’m very tech savvy. I signed up to Twitter years ago. I never used it. I think it’s lame, impersonal, and presumptuous to think that everyone wants to know what I’m doing all of the time. However, I’m about to go into business and will use it as a tool for that.

  • twenty_niner

    Again, what’s the business model? You can’t run an entire economy on banner ads and paid tweets, especially given the long-term trend of declining ad rates and ever more dilution as new (and old) enterprises depend on ads for their revenue.

  • G W C

    Soooooo meta. #improperusage

  • iccheap

    I can clearly see some utility, but I wonder when it becomes so distracting that the external world begins to diminish. I see that as a loss of our humanity.

  • ThirdWayForward

    The huge amount of loose, play-money out there always astonishes us.

    Meanwhile 50 million Americans face imminent cuts in their food stamps.

    • the anti-Emily

      This is old news, buddy. Since the dawn of civilization, there has always been a class dedicated to a life of leisure and frippery and a underclass that gets by on the droppings of the class dedicated to a life of leisure and frippery. All civilizations create and perpetuate social inequality.

  • ThirdWayForward

    This is all so 10 milliseconds ago.

  • Eric Herot

    Maybe the instantaneousness of Twitter news is good for cable news because it cable news cannot possibly beat it, so it provides motivation for them to go back to distinguishing themselves through in-depth coverage (rather than hoping to capitalize on being “the first” which is no longer possible for them).

    • hennorama

      HAHAHAHAHA. Good one.

      • Eric Herot

        It’s already happening in the rest of the journalism world. It’s more disruptive than it initially seems. Rather than companies turning themselves around, the effect seems to be more like journalists being laid off and starting their own Internet-only services (GlobalPost, ProPublica, etc.). It won’t happen quickly but it *will* happen. No one is going to want to advertise on CNN if no one is watching them.

        • hennorama

          Eric Herot — from a fellow Quixote devotee, my apologies.

          • Eric Herot

            lol, accepted :-)

      • JGC

        Well, we can always hope, right?

        • hennorama

          JGC – indeed, stranger things have happened.

          None come to mind just now, however.

  • jgeigerphoto

    Now it’s; I tweet, there for I am.

  • Coastghost
  • Coastghost

    And Egypt today is a case study of representative democracy in action, all courtesy of Twitter. Nota bene!

  • J__o__h__n

    I wouldn’t cite Egypt as an example of Twitter’s positive contribution to democracy.

    • Coastghost

      We ARE on the same page today! (Scary, hunh?)

      • J__o__h__n

        I’m scared to post again until it stops.

        • Ray in VT

          #freakingout

  • Ellen Dibble

    A couple of years ago, I went to the profile page of one of my nieces and found what seemed to be ALL that she was following, nothing else. I’ve never seen that anywhere since. Basically, I see what the person has retweeted or tweeted. I guess I’m pretty clueless. What I use it for is like attic space, to save to myself links I’d like to have time to read, or reserve for reference or quoting later. Maybe once a week I check my “feed,” and I’m practicing a little to tweet haiku-like “takes” on some issue broiling in the media. Who notices? Well… I think it takes me (for one) years to sort of evolve a modus operandi. Ads come through as tweets that are sometimes very well targeted, sometimes not at all.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I have no use for “social media”. No Twitter, no Facebook and that is true for everyone in my family. We are not all that interesting and neither is anyone else to the point I need to know what they are doing/thinking all the time. Nor are we so narcissistic.

    I do see the value of Twitter in the context of the “Arab Spring”. That is the only purpose I can conceive of that I would use it – contacting others in an emergency where the phone won’t/can’t work.

    And Google pushing social media with its “Circles” is ANNOYING. I do NOT want to add someone to a “circle” I just want to add them to my gmail CONTACTS. But they bury that feature.

  • http://onpoint.wbur.com/ Bob from Des Moines

    As far as I can determine. Twitter is primarily used much the same way that Facebook is used — as a vehicle for the user to express themselves about anything and everything under the sun as if everyone else should find these ramblings to be notable. “Enough about you; let’s talk about me.”

  • CrackWilding

    My big problem with Twitter and Facebook and many similar services is that we’re taking all the functionality of an open platform (the Internet) and siphoning it through a handful of corporations. It’s like Compuserve all over again.

    • J__o__h__n

      At least it doesn’t make the dial-up screeching noise.

  • J__o__h__n

    So a picture is now worth 140 characters?

  • hennorama

    #wasteoftime

  • adks12020

    I’m all for technology when its useful but to me Twitter is completely useless. I realize it has value in certain situations (see the social revolutions in the middle east) but for my life I don’t see any value whatsoever. It’s just another in a long line of so called “revolutionary” uses of technology that is basically an advertising device. When I want news I read whole stories, not 100 or so characters tweeted on the fly. I’d rather wait for research and a real story with background information. When I care what celebrities and athletes are tweeting…please shoot me.

    • rich4321

      Totally agree, What is these social media anyway. The social media is a thief of personal information.All it does is to collect a bunch of personal information for advertisement purpose and make a profit. The most useless of all technology. And people on one had whine and outrage about the NSA, on the other hand, they freely give out their information to some idiotic social media like Twitter and Facebook.

  • Coastghost

    Social network: any internet platform that invites subscriber solipsists and narcissists to maintain their steady focus.

    (120 characters, by my count.)

    • J__o__h__n

      U need 2 use > abrevs to same time and > clarity.

  • TyroneJ

    Pretty much says it all:

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      Good one!!!

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      Now do a Venn for the real value of this company.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I just don’t get Twitter at all. I am officially old.

  • tbphkm33

    It strikes me that these “tech” service companies that are riding a fad are really hyped up by two groups of people: a) young techies who fool themselves into thinking they are rewriting how society functions (every generation does that when they come of age), and b) older individuals with money to invest who basically do not understand technology. They fool themselves into thinking everyone will flock to the new technological fad.

    Twitter and FaceBook are heading in one direction, the dustbin of history along with previous fads like the Cabbage Patch dolls. In 20 years, sitcoms that are set in this time will crack joke after joke referencing Twitter and FaceBook. Much like sitcoms today poke fun of the dress styles of the 1980s and 1990s.

    The only tech model that truly works is what Apple has pursued, controlling the hardware manufacturing and the software ecosystem. Just look at how Microsoft has become increasingly irrelevant and is now grasping to try to secure a manufacturing base. Or look at Google trying to tame unveiling partners that are pulling the Android ecosystem in contradictory directions.

    Bottom line, for the average investor, the best advice is to stay way from Twitter and FaceBook. You could take the roller coaster and hope for short term gains, but neither company represent a solid longterm investment strategy.

    • JGC

      Stay away from Blackberry, too.

  • JGC

    I am waiting for the IPO on Spanx.

  • Questions

    Twitter- what is it good for? It is an antidote to our “prepackaged, corporatized, fluff-filled” news of today (cable/network news). As a student of history-I appreciate the importance of primary sources. Twitter can be a source of many numerous primary sources (on the ground witnesses) to be conglomerated by you or a journalist. Open, honest, first person narrative uncorrupted by a secondary source ie.:a journalist/historian/political leader).

    • tbphkm33

      That is true, but to get to the primary source there is a ton of junk to sort through. Also, there are other more robust avenues for primary source information. It is hard to string things together when the primary source is communicating in diverging 140 character snippets.

  • Bill_Provost

    Today’s show was like a Twitter commercial, not any kind of balanced discussion of the impending IPO. There was so much cheer leading it was disgusting, For me, it pulled the curtain back on the farce that this show really is. Take another listen. I’m sure people “Tweet” but I’ve never known one, and certainly no one has ever “Tweeted” in my presence. Twitter is like Obama 2008, all hat and no cattle, a scam( and I’m no right winger). A way for the financial services industrial complex to milk more money out of unsuspecting suckers. I hope my retirement system pension fund doesn’t buy any of this garbage. I’d honestly prefer they invested in “limited edition” Beanie Babies.

  • Coastghost

    Questions for Friday’s week-in-review panel:
    does Marilyn Tavenner’s CMMS or Kathleen Sebelius’s HHS plan to spend A) millions or B) tens of millions to launch the PR campaign now deemed necessary to convince Americans that Obamacare is not the tissue of lies and ineptitude and/or nonfeasance the past five weeks have shown it to be? Were the millions or tens of millions of dollars for this new endeavor budgeted long ago, with anticipation that the launch of Obamacare would be dismal, or will these funds be subtracted from the coming year’s respective HHS or CMMS budgets? And how much is the stupendous “tech surge” going to cost gullible Americans? (Don’t tell me: Obama did not budget for the “tech surge” . . . can’t we deduct the cost[s] from the White House budget over the next year or two?)

  • Miss_Lilianna

    What a great Twitter ad this was! The only people who promote Twitter and the ones who have found ways to use them to promote business. I’m 24…Twitter came out when I was 20ish. I still don’t know anyone who uses it. Its a marketing tool…maybe teenagers are into it but 20 somethings aren’t. I think its a fad.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Another Wall Street “bubble machine”.

  • the anti-Emily

    “. Why are we teaching children to waste their time with frivolities like with whom Madonna is feuding this week” There’s no money in doing the acutely useful work like reorganizing civilization towards a sustainable path…well, at least one that requires a lot less fossil fuels. There’s no glamour either in telling people that they will have to live a materially poorer life filled with a lot more physical activity (no cars and no washing machines–those things aren’t sustainable forms of tech). In the meantime, in our current form of existence where most truely useful work is outsourced, automated or requires a high IQ and years of dedication (medical school) there isn’t much useful work to do…especially for children.

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