It took only one tweet for the technology and media worlds to buzz with excitement.
It took only one tweet for the technology and media worlds to buzz with excitement. Twitter had announced that it had filed form S-1, the general form to file an interest to sell stock on the New York Stock Exchange by American financial regulators.
Twitter going the extra mile
The social networking site said it filed the form with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington for an initial public offering (IPO), which assesses how much value a company has. It isn’t initially clear how much the company is worth at present, but investors have said to value Twitter at $10 billion (£6.3 billion), according to a report from the BBC, many of that coming from advertising, as companies use promoted tweets to attract the site’s users, the report adds.
Twitter is said to have 240 million users so far and is projected to end 2013 with 260 million users, according to a report from the Dow Jones-owned technology news site All Things Digital. A decision to sell shares publicly to the rest of the world is not clear, but now, Twitter and its bankers can communicate with the SEC without having to release any information on its conversations, a separate report from All Things Digital notes. It has entered a quiet period where it can’t share any information with the media while regulators review the paperwork submitted, the BBC report adds.
With this filing, Twitter has a lot to contend with, which may end up affecting overall user experience. It’s been criticised within the past few weeks on not taking enough action over threatening tweets of rape to prominent women, including the activist Caroline Criado-Perez, The Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman and the Labour MP Stella Creasy. Additionally, the BBC report notes, mobile platforms have been a tricky market for the site to contend with for advertising revenue.
Yet, the site bought MoPub, a mobile advertising exchange, days before the IPO announcement. In a post on its blog, Kevin Weil, Twitter’s Vice President of Product for Revenue, said the sale would not affect the standards taken when it comes to user interaction. “We’ll maintain the same high quality standards that define our platform today,” Weil said. “Our approach is to show an ad when we think it will be useful or interesting to a user, and that isn’t changing.”
However, analysts have expressed concerns that with the initial offering and Twitter becoming a public company, it could lead to more advertisements on the site, leaving users to close their accounts and making the site less user-friendly.
Watch this space
While Twitter is still trying to get around its difficulties, especially with mobile advertising, this will be a significant test for the social network. The new feature it may introduce may help or harm it in its attempts to be financially secure, as at the end of the day the role of the user will be crucial. One small error may send thousands of users to the door.
Yet, it does have the innovations that make it distinct and able to blend within social media. However, increased competition with Facebook may cause further difficulty.
These are indeed early days, as this is now the search to be financially viable, a search that cannot be completed in 140 characters. But in order to keep its investors happy, it needs to keep its users happy, and that will be the key factor to watch for as the IPO develops.
For its future financially and as a viable social network, the ball is now firmly in Twitter’s court.