Fast Company

Oprah Hearts Twitter. So What?

Oprah is now officially on Twitter.

The Chicago talk show host completed her first tweet just this morning, and is devoting a block of time in her broadcast today to discussing the microblogging site. "HI TWITTERS. THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME," she wrote. "FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY."

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In a great irony, the woman with the Midas touch will, perhaps for the first time, endorse a company whose bottom line she can't directly benefit. Though Oprah's post is reportedly getting tens of thousands of replies per hour, not a single one helps Twitter figure out how it's going to generate revenue. More users? Sure, pile 'em on.

Just yesterday, Twitter's co-founder Biz Stone tried to address rumors of a Google acquisition in a blog post entitled "Sometimes We Talk," in which he said that his site regularly talks to big tech players about "a variety of subjects," some of them presumably sale or partnership.

The New York Times followed with an interview of Fred Wilson, an early investor, who said yesterday that Twitter's advertising model (if it implemented one) would be much different than a traditional site, because Twitter counts how many times a tweet is viewed--it doesn't care about pageviews, the usual metric used in valuating online advertising. That makes a potential partnership with a bigger company slightly more complicated, because whatever relationship the companies struck would be without exact precedent in the online world.

Still, Wilson doesn't rule out a Twitter buyout--"Money has a powerful impact on people"--but says that the company wants to remain independent for now, focusing still on growing usership. Only one employee has been hired by the company, with the sole purpose of investigating monetization.

Related: Is Twitter's Marketing Power Going to Waste?
Related: Rumor: Google In Talks to Buy Twitter. [Update] Or Possibly Not

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2 Comments

  • Cliff Jenkins

    It's funny...I was discussing this with a friend over what a twitter revenue model would look like. I'm sure that's what investors were asking this morning when the twitstarters met this a.m.

    I agree that the model will look much different that anything we've seen yet. At least I hope so. I feel it would be a disappointment that something as "simple" as 140 word updates would utilize the old tired ad.