Is Twitter on the Ascent for Users and Investors?

On 4-1-2016, the stock price per share for Twitter (TWTR) was about 14.62. Today it is about 38.59. Those numbers are according to Yahoo Finance. Right now, Twitter is all over the news. CEO Jack Dorsey recently did a TED Talk and met personally met with President Trump.

Twitter was founded in 2006. According to CNBC at the recent TED Talk Jack Dorsey said he “lamented… (Twitter’s) failure moderate harassment and extremist behavior (earlier)”

He also stated that:

If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the ‘follower’ count as much. I would not emphasize the ‘like’ count as much.

That second quote is saying a lot. “Followers” and “Likes” account for one-third of the main metrics on a Twitter User’s desktop.

Surprisingly,

Dorsey went as far as to say that he probably would not create a “like” function at all.

Jack Dorsey or, @jack claimed it doesn’t add to the conversation but, he has also recently made it harder to contact his “at” @jack.

Finally, Jack said:

Going forward, the CEO said the company would be reconsidering how the site displays likes, followers and retweets.

I guess besides everything else, @jack wants to make a lot more money with his killer app. No doubt the rules will be more stringent. They are going to be more stringent and stringently enforced. It was not more than a few years ago that things on Twitter hung much more fast and loose.

On the Attack

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Twitter’s Offense is a Good Defense

On 4-16-19, Twitter released a blog post for public consumption entitled: A healthier Twitter: progress and more to do. It was released by a Donald Hicks and a David Gasca. In addition to wanting Twitter Users to feel safe, their other stated objectives were for users to be “free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation.” Hicks and Gasca note progress in multiple areas including that:

38% of abusive content that’s enforced is surfaced proactively to our teams for review instead of relying on reports from people on Twitter.

100,000 accounts suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March 2019 –– a 45% increase from the same time last year.

And,

3 times more abusive accounts suspended within 24 hours after a report compared to the same time last year.

They tout four or five other areas they feel they have made progress towards their goals. The thing they are most happy with is the automated flagging. Could the automated flaggings be why people are getting suspended without reasons given from Twitter?

Hicks and Gasca’s report ends looking forward in the near term. Their goals include better doxxing protections, faster turn around times, updated rules and clearer rules and other undisclosed new ways to keep users safe IRL. They also mention experimental methods that are to be rolled out.

Those are all admirable goals but, the question is what surprises do Hicks, Gasca and their team have in the works past the near term. Also, might not Twitter’s team not stifle “the conversation” themselves depending on how sterile they make the environment?

Who is the Average Twitter User and Why Do They Need to Be Saved?

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Unfortunately, the Average Twitter User is Still an NPC

According to Pew Research Center, “80 percent of the Tweets come from 10 pecent of the users.” So, there’s that. Also according to Pew, most Twitter users don’t engage much while Twitter either.

The median Twitter user posts two tweets a month, favorites one tweet a month, follows 89 accounts and has 25 followers.

@jack and Twitter have a lot of incentive to get Twitter account holders that do not use their accounts much off of the bench. Doing so may create may step on the toes of existing users. Twitter’s landscape could look totally different depending on what they do and how they want to play things – who they want to cater too. It seems the politically minded are much more apt to use the platform and @jack et. al. could really stack the deck for the Liberal Leaning.

The Economic Times carried other information from Pew Research Center about Twitter User Demographics. They parse out a lot of user traits but did find that overall, Twitter Users already did lean Liberal.

The long and short of it is thus:

Twitter users in the United States are younger, better educated and more left-leaning than the general population, a survey showed Wednesday.

The Pew Research Center study found those using the micro-blogging platform are more likely to come from higher-income brackets but that their gender and racial or ethnic makeup is largely similar to the adult population as a whole.

And so, I guess we can say Twitter as a whole is close to a microcosm or an analog for America. In all likelihood, it is going to get more sterile even though @jack and his underlings are talking about adding to “the conversation.” The internet already is getting more sterile. Most sites are bereft of comments sections. IMO, it will be a wonder if the now startups can get going and catch up with the oligarchs. It seems like we have a better chance waiting for and getting what we need and want from an Internet 3.0 or 4.0 technology or forum.

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