Two months ago, Fast Company senior writer Ellen McGirt outlined the five things Twitter needed to do before its IPO. Today, as its IPO day comes to a close, that same list serves as a useful reader for what the newly public Twitter could do next, with new shareholders and investors to keep happy.
At the top of the list: Revamp Twitter to appeal to "normals," which includes everyone from your grandmother to your postal carrier. But the task of reinventing itself as a fully mainstream service won't necessarily be easy for Twitter, as New York magazine's Kevin Roose wrote today:
"...there are millions of people who use Twitter only sparingly, or get scared off after an initial trial period by the service's clubby nature. These people sign up for Twitter, thinking it will help them sort through current events or keep track of celebrities, then see a stream of acronyms, hard-to-parse hashtags, and in-jokes floating past them, and go right back to Facebook, which is easier to understand and use. According to the New York Times, 'A large percentage of new Twitter users give up on the service within the first three days.'"
Twitter is already at work adding features to make it easier for anyone to join in, as the ability to amass new users will be a critical way for the company to prove its value to advertisers. Although Twitter totaled $270 million in ad sales last year, Facebook did $4 billion in the same period. Then again, Facebook has 728 million daily active users, more than seven times Twitter's 100 million dailies.
The advertisers themselves have said Twitter will have to become more mainstream to secure their confidence as a spendworthy ad platform. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal yesterday featuring a group of ad executives on the seven ways they would "fix" Twitter, Rishad Tobaccowala, chairman of Publicis Groupe's Razorfish and DigitasLBi digital agencies, said:
"I would like to see Twitter make its service more essential to a broader public. Currently it's too narrow and inside baseball with a small sliver of users making most of the content."