YOUR MIND ON MONEY: Twitter worth getting to know

2013-10-17T09:08:00Z 2013-10-17T18:17:04Z YOUR MIND ON MONEY: Twitter worth getting to knowF. Marc Ruiz Times Business Columnist
October 17, 2013 9:08 am  • 

As I write the column it looks like the Federal government will find a way to kick the can down the road a bit and defer any major spending decisions until next year.

There will be no default and I would imagine the Feds will allow us back into our parks in short order.

So now we can move onto some fun topics, and the most fun subject I can think about right now is the upcoming Twitter IPO.

Now I certainly cannot recommend a stock in the newspaper, but I have to admit I love Twitter as a service and on Tuesday the company filed with the SEC setting the stage for an initial stock offering in November.

For the longest time I just didn’t “get” Twitter. But after continually hearing my college-aged daughter talk about “what she saw on Twitter”, I finally gave it a try. Now I’m hooked.

There are a few things I really appreciate about the Twitter service.

First, it’s highly personalized. With Twitter the user builds the information flow entirely around their personal interests. I follow the people, companies and interests I want to pay attention to, and I don’t have to follow anything I don’t care about. Twitter shows me the things I want to see.

Second, the service is just made for mobile. I’m spending far less time on the computer these days and far more time on the iPhone. My Twitter use is entirely based on my smart phone; I never go to the site on the PC. Twitter is the easiest to use app on my phone.

Third, Twitter is immediate gratification. The feed flows in real time – no filters, no delays. The service is the closest I can get to pure information.

If a product that is customized and targeted, mobile and immediately gratifying cannot be monetized for profits, then I would find myself questioning the whole social media business model.

Speaking of which, Twitter will inevitably be compared to Facebook. While these companies operate in the same social media space, they are very different in function. To me, because of the interpersonal nature of Facebook, the service will continue to be challenging to monetize. Users go to Facebook to connect with friends and family, not products and services.

Users on Twitter, on the other hand, go to the service to connect with information on their interests; embedded advertising and promotional material in line with these interests would be not only accepted, but appreciated by many users.

Oh, and I go on Facebook two to three times per week, Twitter five to 10 times a day.

So while I can’t say anyone should buy Twitter stock, I am suggesting this is a company and a service worth getting to know. Reminding us again good things still happen in America.

Opinions are solely the writer's. F. Marc Ruiz is a local investment strategist and co-host of "Your Mind on Money" at noon Mondays on WLPR-FM 89.1 The Lakeshore. Reach him at

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