Tag Archives: Twitter

Life in a Box

So close yet so far apart.

Now that I’ve been on Twitter for about 6 months, I’ve come to realize that it’s like talking on the phone not knowing who is at the other end when I place the call — a kind of crapshoot as to whom will answer as it rings in this world of virtual phone booths.

Not that it’s a good or a bad thing. Rather, it’s not as social as I had expected. Or should I say, not about relationships or a big group hug but more about sharing information and accessing information from people with like interests.

The funniest part of all this is that most of my best ‘friends’ are media sources like the New York Times or Ad Adge. I use this term a bit loosely so as to make the point that most of the information that I find useful is from a variety of traditional media sources. Only a handful  of folks provide thoughtful replies or relevant content that they too have discovered. The rest are either self-promoting, heaping congratulatings on someone within their sphere of relationships or re-tweeting news that I’ve already seen many times over (enough already about Superbowl ads!).

I recently read that someone was getting a bit tired with FourSquare as it’s work to check-in all the time. Twitter, in a way, is becoming a bit tedious mainly because it is all so polite and not a reflection of real conversations that allow for some civil measure of disagreement, controversy and individual opinion.

On the corporate side, Apple doesn’t even have a presence on Twitter and it’s bursting at the seams with cash leading the smart phone market. Others such as Coke, Hyundai and Converse, according to WARC, “are seeing mixed results” as consumer engagement is much greater on other social network platforms.

Maybe it’s time to do more than think outside the box by getting out of it altogether.

– Ted Morris 4ScreensMedia


Social is Priceless | Social Networks T.B.D.

The Guardian recently ran Facebook now has 350M users – and there’s no point in advertising to them. The story serves as a nice reality check for those in the Social Media ‘business’.

There is no doubt that by the measure of registered users (fans, members), many of these services have been wildly successful within a very short period of time: Bebo, Twitter and LinkedIn have around 50M users.  MySpace has something like 80M users and Facebook now claims over 350M registrants, a large number by any stretch, namely that it exceeds the population of the United States. This is all without even counting site visitations as tallied by a firm like comScore. Astounding numbers? Absolutely.

But here’s the big jolt: these services generate very little revenue or profit, command bubble-like valuations and have yet to prove that they are a viable advertising medium. Some examples cited by The Guardian underscore this point (numbers are approximate as some firms are private and/or in constant flux):

  • Facebook is valued at about $10B on revenue of $500M est. for 2009
  • Twitter has no tangible revenue, is valued at $1B;  just raised $100M
  • LinkedIn is generating revenue, how much is unclear; profit elusive

Then perhaps there’s a bit of buyer’s remorse:

  • Time Warner’s 2008 purchase of Bebo for $850M w/multiple of 48.5 x earnings
  • News Corporation’s purchase of MySpace for $580M in 2005; growth in a stall

Social Networks, as much as they have gained mainstream popularity, are still seeking to monetize their services. While companies such as LinkedIn have developed fee-based premium options to customers, most are still in the ‘freemium’ category. In the hope of attracting paying customers, free is the common denominator when it comes to the price charged for most social networking services — the digital version of “Field of Dreams” in a way. During their next growth stage, moving up the value chain will be a major challenge for many of these companies.

Investors no doubt, will become a  bit edgy, as they are prone to be, when the cost of capital gets a little out of  the comfort zone. A major question that might be heard in the boardrooms a bit more often over the next year just might be: “How are we going to get customers to pay?”

– Ted Morris 4ScreensMedia