Twitter IPO a Success, Should you Invest?

twitter ipoThe big social media and financial news this week was the Twitter IPO (Initial Public Offering) which seems to have been quite a success for the social networking service.

Twitter started trading shares to the public on Thursday (November 7th, 2013) and opened at $45.13 per share.  This was a 73% gain from the $26 per share that was offered to insiders and existing shareholders on Wednesday, the day before the IPO.  Early reports projected TWTR, the stock ticker symbol Twitter is listed under, to list around $35.

Twitter shares reached a high of trading at $50.09 during the Thursday, the first day of trading.  However, on Friday the shares slipped back down to under $45 and as of this writing the stock current sit at $41.65 per TWTR share.

Even if the shares pulled back Friday the Twitter IPO gave the social media company a huge boost in it's market capitalization.  How much?  About $25 billion along with the surging stock of course this fluctuates with the stock price.  It currently sits at under $20 billion.  This still means Twitter has a bigger valuation than a lot of S&P500 companies. The real question, is that a fair valuation for Twitter?

By all accounts Twitter is a poster child for a successful technology and social media company.  Twitter has roughly 100 million active users each day and over 230+ million accounts.  (Probably about 10%-15% of those accounts are bots though.)   Users create 500 million Tweets each day sharing thoughts to the world in 140 characters or less.

twitter iphone

Twitter's numbers are quite impressive but the microblogging service has yet to find a great way to make, you know… money.  Currently the best way Twitter is pulling in cash is Promoted Tweets and Trends.  Companies can pay to show Tweets to users they believe will find them of value and try to promote a hashtag trend they want to get noticed.  The company has also toyed with different ways to make money but a lot of those are not worth mentioning.  The Twitter IPO helped raise cash too.

Everyone it seems uses Twitter from journalists, celebrities, athletes, politicians, etc.  Warren Buffet even has a Twitter account but he doesn't actively Tweet.  Still Twitter is seen as an important tool in the web 2.0 world.

It should be noted that TWTR listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and not the NASDAQ which is where most tech and social media companies are listed.  Does that means the executives and founders of Twitter view it differently?

Whatever Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey think they are probably pretty happy since they added a significant amount to their personal wealth.  It should be noted these two and did not offer any of their shares for sale.  None of the banks underwriting the IPO Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase, decided to sell shares as well.

The general belief seems to be even if Twitter is not making money now, they will figure it out eventually.  A lot of people are still joining and starting to use the service and a majority of users use the social network on smartphones.  Twitter still could lose ground and users just like Facebook is experiencing now.  Remember my article asking “Is Facebook for Old People Now?”  Could the same thing happen to Twitter?

I was annoyed that they stopped support of TweetDeck Mobile apps and I haven't been happy with other decisions Twitter has made.  Overall they've done a good job of making the Twitter API easy for developers to build on and make 3rd party Twitter clients and applications which has helped fuel growth.

Liking a social media service is different than investing in it though.  Would you invest in Twitter with your personal money?  Do you believe the Twitter IPO was successful?  Do you think you would wait until the TWTR comes down?  What do you see in Twitter's future?

Is Facebook for Old People Now?

facebook for old peopleThe other day I was scrolling through a private forum and I noticed one of the hot topics was this question, “Is Facebook for Old People Now?” and therefore “Is Facebook considered lame and uncool?”

I should clarify these were not the exact questions in the forum but is the general gist of what a lot of people are discussing right now whether they be internet marketers, social media managers, bloggers, journalists, etc.  Facebook, once the darling of social media and web 2.0 companies, seems to be losing a lot of steam.  Why is this?

I could throw you a bunch of statistics, link to a ton of articles, and give you a lot of different reasons for this.  However, the simple and easy explanation is that Moms and Dads like it and use Facebook a lot nowadays.  That means teenagers obviously don't like Facebook and can't be seen where parents hangout, online or offline.  Therefore even young people that do have accounts, they really are not using Facebook for social networking.

Most of these young people have taken a liking to the 6-second video service, Vine.  (WordPress a few months ago enabled Vine videos to be easily embedded in posts.)  In addition they like Instagram, which is why Facebook spent 1 billion dollars to buy it, a photo sharing app allows you to easily create beautiful images and videos.  SnapChat is another popular photo sharing service as it allows a person to send a photo which only the receiver can view for no more than 10 seconds.  (That's why it has earned a reputation as a porn app.)  Additionally Twitter is also gaining in popularity due to the ease of use of the social network on mobile devices.

Basically that all adds up to limited time for other social network chiefly Facebook.  Young people consider Facebook a pain to use and too time consuming.  Besides you can hear their thoughts before they would sign-on, “Ahh, this is something my parents like.” is what a pimple-faced, braces-laden teenager is saying somewhere right now.

Facebook still has not figured out how to make it easy to manage pages vs profiles and how to quickly sort through the newsfeed.  I also don't really understand how people build audiences without spending money on ads.  I am not going to spend money with a social network I have gained little value from personally and professionally.  That's why I recently deleted my personal profile and that's the issue that Facebook executives are facing.  If young people don't use it, they won't spend money with them in the future.

What do you think?  Is Facebook for Old People now?  Can Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook reverse this trend or is it the natural rise and fall of websites and the internet?

[Image Source – Washington Post]

Not Using Social Media is Hard

not using social media

The other day I decided that I needed to try to put some of my social media use on hold for awhile.  The reason is I have several web projects I need to work on and it is quite time consuming to have to monitor social networks across many different platforms.  Not using social media at all though… well it's quite hard to do.

First I started with LinkedIn and wanted to see if I could deactivate my account for awhile.   Technically you can't deactivate an account but you can set your account so that nobody can see it.  This is basically the same thing as deactivating your account I guess since what good is a social media profile nobody can see?  Anyway after I did that I moved onto Twitter.

Weighing the options of temporarily deactivating my Twitter account I realized it probably wasn't possible for me to actually stop using Twitter.  I have auto posting setup for @AdamYamada and some other accounts which is kinda nice.  Besides like LinkedIn it seems the only way to deactivate an account is to just set your profile to private.  Of course the big difference here is that anyone that is following you can still see your Tweets and profile information.  Sooo for now my Twitter accounts are intact but at least I uninstalled TweetDeck from Google Chrome.  While TweetDeck is a great social media tool it can be hard to manage the Twitterverse.

Then I moved onto Facebook the biggest and baddest social networks around.  Facebook at least has the option to keep your information intact but deactivate your account temporarily.  It's nice keeping up with all your friends but let's be honest… Facebook is a blackhole.  It sucks away all your productive time and you can never really get that time back.

I thought deactivating my Facebook account would be easy… ahhh I was wrong.  I have several apps connected to my personal account and no other contributors.  You can't deactivate the account and keep the Apps active without switching having an Administrator for the Apps that has a verified account.   That means to deactivate the account I might need to get a prepaid phone to use with a dummy account or just ask someone to transfer use the apps.

Then came all the social bookmarking sites I have used.  Damn, I've used a lot and a lot of them I never really understood or generated much traffic for me.  This includes Reddit, Delicious, Tumblr, and more.  Is it even worth time to delete those accounts?

So my goal of not using social media was a bit harder than I imagined it would be.  It is all to easy to sign-up for these services but all too hard to truly leave.  It is not in the best interest of the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. if you stop using their services.

Even though all these social networks can be quite useful used in the right way a lot of people try to contact me through it instead of just sending me an email.  I am just not really a fan of that as it takes a whole lot of time for me to direct message rather than just use my email.  I guess that's old school but hey, I still get emails from Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Bottom line not using social media at all nowadays is damn hard these days.  I wish it was possible to click a few buttons to just take a break but that ain't possible my friends.

Have a similar story of trying to disconnect temporarily or permanently from social networking?  Please share your story in the comments below.  I'd be curios to hear stories and I know others would as well.

Are Forums better than Social Media?

All the hype and rage you hear from marketers nowadays is all about social media this and social media that.  However, could it be that social media doesn't provide much useful information?

I ran across an interesting article on Social Media Explorer the other day which should make some marketers and companies rethink their social media strategies.  The report examined where the conversations about banks and the banking industry takes place online.  The winner?  Forums.

In the report they found that 90% of information about banks being discussed online is found on online forums.  Social networks accounted for 1% of the real conversations about banking. While Jason Falls, the writer, would obviously like you to purchase his report on the banking industry, keep in mind that he runs a site about social media.  If they were smart they would have thrown out the report and declared social media is the best place to market for banks! 🙂

social media

The article really got me thinking about where I go to find useful information online.  If I wanted to know more about web hosting, I go to a hosting discussion forum.  I would not turn to my followers on Twitter or Facebook since they probably don't know the answer and couldn't help me out.  Most of the time when I need technical help or I am trying to learn something new with software I do the same thing.

Posting cat memes and pictures while fun… come one, that's not useful to anyone.  Of course we all know that Singing Dogs are quite useful for the internet.  (These are my dogs by the way.)  To a certain extent social media is really more ideal for being entertained and engaged.  Something marketers are keen to capitalize on.

For a second I would think about where you get useful information when doing a Google search.  Do you always find what you need on blogs? Probably not.  Does Facebook's search engine (Bing) even work well? No. Can you find technical help on Twitter? Some places sure, but for the most part I doubt you can get technical questions answered in 140 characters or less all the time.

The current bank I have my money with I did research before opening an account with them.  Googling I found a bunch of threads, from genuine people (I hope), recommending their services and after reading these positive reviews on forums I decided to bank with them.  I have been using this bank's services for almost 2 years and couldn't be happier.  Their service and products are better than the local credit union's I was using and they have excellent customer support.

However, in all my research I didn't see anyone from the bank post on these forums or see bank reps taking part in any conversations.  Jason Falls hits the nail on the head when explaining why most marketers don't incorporate a forum into their overall marketing strategy.

marketers are petrified of them [forums]. Why? Because marketers typically aren’t welcome there. Most forum administrators are quick to thwart link droppers and promotional banner wavers. You can’t blame them. The users come there for … wait for it … conversations.

This is an excellent point!  I will get a lot of angry emails for saying this, but the reality is that marketers can't have real and meaningful conversations.  Participating in a forum means you need to really respond to what people say and not feed them what you want them to hear.

A common complaint I've heard about forum marketing is that it can be a lot of work with minimal results.  While it all depends on the niche, and what forums are available in the niche, again you need to provide real value and not just be trying to sell your products or get backlinks for you site.   Let's be fair, marketing on social media networks isn't easy and takes time, work, and a lot of money.

Having recently attended BlogPaws, a pet blogging conference, there was no discussion about forums, forum strategies, or how to get a community started.  The majority of the discussions regarding social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Before going to the conference though I turned to the BlogPaws Newbie discussion group to get useful information regarding the conference for new attendees.  I got a lot out of the discussion group where I learned great tips and advice about attending BlogPaws I wouldn't have gotten unless I was part of the Newbie group.  If I had gone to the Twitter or Facebook pages I really wouldn't have gotten many answers to my questions or gained as much insight into BlogPaws before attending.

Since forums have been around since the dawn of the web I guess they really don't have the coolness and ‘new kid on the block' appeal of social networks.  I also rarely hear anyone say they want to start a forum since blogging or building a website product or service is what most people want to get into.

If Social Media Explorer's report is accurate, a lot of marketers should consider what having a good forum presence can offer them and their brand.  Forums are not going anywhere and will be around until the internet dies I bet.  So if the conversations for your audience is on forums, you either should get a forum strategy or start one.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

[Image Source – Social Media Explorer]