There’s a buzz in the air, or should that be a fluttering of wings? Anticipation is high for Twitter’s initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s got the people in finance excited, but should the people in communication also care?
The plan, as it’s currently understood, is to sell 70 million shares in order to raise over $1 billion. At this point Twitter will change, it has to change because it will have gained one new very important stakeholder to answer to, its shareholders.
Shareholders demand power and influence, and they’ve paid for it. If they’re funding a company they expect to see returns, and this could mean big changes for a company, like Twitter, which has never made a profit.
To understand what may change, let’s look at Facebook. It’s been nearly a year and a half since Facebook’s stock market launch, and in this time the company has worked on ways to make money. As a regular user you may notice your Facebook feed is no longer exclusive to your chosen people and products, but now includes a number of sponsored or suggested posts. Adverts are also an area for development, for example auto-play video adverts are in the pipeline, and mobile ads are being constantly developed.
What’s the impact for us? Twitter has been a very useful tool for many communication professionals. Many companies use Twitter to help manage their customer service, run successful campaigns, and monitor their environment. When Twitter goes public there are a number of things that may change, including the following:
- We may be able to look forward to Twitter offering a range of new, paid tools to be used in the running of integrated communication campaigns.
- We may have to fight harder to ensure that our message fights through promoted posts and adverts.
- We may have to reinforce the credibility of the messages which we do promote.
From another perspective, it’s very interesting to see the monetary value of new media platforms. Twitter and Facebook are undoubtedly two of the biggest social networks, and it’s fascinating to understand how our friends in finance value them.
Update: I want to reccomend this article by Belle Beth Cooper on the Fast Company website, it introduces some of the biggest changes Twitter has made that you may not be aware, and the implications that these may have.
- 7 Big, Recent Twitter Changes You Should Know About Before the IPO (fastcompany.com)
- EXCLUSIVE-Aiming to avoid Facebook chaos, NYSE runs Twitter IPO test (uk.reuters.com)
- Twitter is going public – what does that mean? (policymic.com)
- How Facebook has changed since going public 1 year ago (mashable.com)
- Ahead of the Twitter IPO an infographic (hosting.ber-art.nl)