The first 140-character message from Twitter was sent in March 2006 and, since then, the company has become a game-changing communications tool, making news from public figures and ordinary citizens.
Twitter appears to be having a difficult time going public. I do understand that Twitter is a fire hose and beyond the CNNs, Kardashians, and other personalities Twitter does have accounts of questionable legitimacy. According to research some Tweeters are robotic spammers and some are smartly programmed accounts blasting tweets designed to find their way to search results or discussion threads.
Let’s face it there are formidable cyber bullies out there who operate under the guise of “fans” or “friends” to celebrities and other regular folks, whose main purpose in life is to cause hurt and humiliation. This grey market is bad news for Twitter like buying and selling Twitter accounts that have a following—fake accounts.
Some of the advertisers stated that Twitter plans for a public offering that 218 million followers isn’t a big enough audience. The service will need significantly more users plus a larger sales force to win more spending from their mass market clients.
The senior VP of media at Digitasi (a digital ad firm) reportedly told the Wall Street Journal, “Scale still matters…How consumers embrace Twitter and tap into it or tune it out is going to be critical.” Personally, I think consumers are starting to tune out most advertising these days because it borders on harassment. I actually turned the TV off in the middle of a show yesterday because of a very annoying foreign language commercial. You might guess which one.
The advertising issue is a problem for Twitter as it moves to raise $1 billion in a public offering. The company raised $317 million in revenue in advertising in 2012 compared to Facebook’s reported $4.3 billion.
Facebook still has more heft but, given the comments I’ve heard about Facebook, this could soon change. Many busy people think easier to make time for Twitter without the time-consuming maintenance of Facebook.