Ix) Twitter (Started In 2006)

. Twitter is an early warning system/leading indicator/real time engagement, ie

"...As a public, real time, conversational and distributed platform, Twitter is becoming an essential service to customers, businesses, media companies and advertising, Twitter is where events, information, ideas and fads get reported, purported, distributed and exploited..."

Mark Mahaney as quoted by Paul Smith et al, 2013

. Has 215m.+ monthly users (including 34% of Americans)

. 75% of users access it on mobile devices

. Musicians are 8 of the 10 "most followed" & 50% of the top 100, eg

i) Justin Bieber (44m)

ii) Katy Perry (42m)

iii) Lady Gaga (40m)

iv) Beyonce released new album with 1.2 m "hits" (Dec. 2013)

. Generating 500m.+ tweets per day

. Important in Arab Spring movement

. Used to measure popularity of TV shows, ie instant feedback

. Growing at 200 % per year with revenue hitting US$ 317m (2012)

. Soon after listing on US stock exchange, its market capitalisation peaked at US$ 40b (Dec. 2013)

The main founder of Twitter is Jack Dorsey. It started from his idea, ie an online short messaging service to tell people what you are doing.

As a boy, he had a speech impediment and preferred to play at home alone. He eavesdropped on the conversations between emergency workers on their scanners detailing their location and what they were doing. This gave him the idea of Twitter and it has taken him over a decade to make a profit from his social media platform, ie in February 2018 it made a maiden profit of US $ 91 m. from US $ 732 m. in sales

"... Twitter now has a market capitalisation of US $ 33 b. and 336 m. monthly active users..."

Paula Smith et al 2018

Like Steve Jobs and Elton Musk, Jack Dorsey was fired (2008) and later rehired (2015). When he returned to Twitter

"...It wasn't clear what Twitter was, who it was for and how it was different to other platforms..."

Dorsey redefined what Twitter is: the best place for breaking news items

Paula Smith et al 2018

Twitter has a punkish, learn on-the-job approach by observing how people use the platform and then enabling them to do what they want, eg hashtags to group tweets around topics, the @ symbol to address people, retweets, tweetstorms (a barrage of tweets from one user), etc

Even though Facebook has 1.5 b. users, Twitter influence comes from its being a mouthpiece of opinion shapers like President Donald Trump who has over 50 m. followers. Also the power of Twitter to mobilise groups and become a catalyst for positive change needs to be recognised, eg

- #MeToo movement (2017)

- #blacklivesmatter (2014)

- Arab Spring (2011)

- Iranian elections (2009)

How to engage an audience on Twitter

- use your voice (let people know what's going on)

- humanise (people want to know your human side, ie share something that you are comfortable with)

- add to someone else's tweet (re-tweet and ideally add your point of view)

- say thank you

Most Twitter followers (2020)

1. Barack Obama (118m.)
2. Justin Biener (118m.)
3. Katy Perry (109m.)
4. Rihanna (97m.)
5. Taylor Swift (86m.)
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (85m.)
7. Lady Gaga (81m.)
8. Donald Trump (80m. )

Since 2017 Twitter's push into live video and more personalised content has been boosting revenue and profit by encouraging users and advertising, ie sales jumped 21%.(most of this outside the USA) (Selina Wang, 2018). The company is using artificial intelligence to put the most relevant tweets at the top of people's feeds and to add features from curated tweets, photos and videos around events.

Awareness of Twitter's brand has increased by

- public figures, like US President Donald Trump, using it

- global events like sporting events (Olympic Games, World Cup, etc), government elections, etc..

New services like TicToc (Twitter's global breaking-News network) are all helping

On the negative side is the

- spread and misinformation, harassment and manipulation from automated posts, eg fake news or automated engagement through social media dashboard

- potential regulation of Internet companies following the revelations that political-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested private data from around 90 million Facebook users and worked for the Trump campaign. Twitter was overrun by Russian during the 2016 US election cycle. Some of the regulation subsequently proposed includes subjecting online political ads to the same sort of disclosure rules that govern similar content on other media like print, TV and radio. 

In 2018, monthly active users approximating 360 million (this is 1/6 of the number of users of Facebook)

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