The Birds and the Bees, and the Apples?
Liz is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
The Internet has been abuzz lately with rumors that Apple may acquire a stake in Twitter. Granted, the discussions between these two newsworthy darlings may have taken place over a year ago, but who cares? It's still exciting to contemplate the before, the during, and the after-the-fact! Maybe it's just the unbridled enthusiasm that courses through my veins when it comes to the genius in simplicity that is Apple, and with that in mind Twitter seems a natural fit.
Twitter was launched in 2006 as a free micro-blogging website and was initially met with skepticism. Messages or "tweets" were to consist of 140 characters, and could be less but never more. These "tweets" could be "retweeted" at anytime and by anyone, and would be searchable on the Twitter website. Now you can also find them in the search results of Bing and Yahoo and that iconic little blue bird of connection on most everything else online.
Initially, I resisted getting involved fearful that Twitter would be just another narcissistic, self-indulgent, social media site. More specifically, what would people tweet about that would make my day more interesting, more inspired, and me more well-informed? Would it be a colossal waste-of-time where people would tweet things like "I had oatmeal for breakfast" and "Ugh. I'm getting a root canal right now?" Moreover it was dangerous; we've all witnessed with voyeuristic indulgence the indiscreet and/or thoughtless tweets that have derailed numerous high-profile careers (does anyone recall a former New York Congressman?)
As it turned out, my fears were unfounded. While there are many self-aggrandizing and self-promoting tweets, there are also even more tweets that do engage, inspire, and inform. And what's more important to me is the abundant availability of breaking news and instant feedback. What is unique to Twitter is that you can see just how national and world events are playing out almost instantaneously! It's really quite remarkable.
Another interesting aspect to Twitter is that the site has managed to make money and to do so in an unintrusive way. Advertisers and/or individuals can purchase and get the focus of Twitter's 100 million users (who tweet over 300 million tweets per day collectively) through promoted tweets, becoming a promoted trend, and also by purchasing followers who will disseminate the desired information (partial list.) Advertisers that have committed real dollars to Twitter are big names that include Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks. And unlike Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) where the advertising can feel impertinent and out-of-context (for example an ad for retirement homes next to pictures of a new baby), the 140 character nature of Twitter gets eyeballs (impressions in advertising lingo) looking at both advertising and info in the same type of informational, micro-blogging tweet format. So, it flows more easily into the overall context and Twitter's platform, and thereby feels OK to users. Even more unlike Facebook, the data on private company Twitter suggests that their advertising revenue YTD has exceeded expectations, and new ways are being developed to continue that, prove it out, and make it sustainable prior to their IPO which is potentially next year.
As an aside, I have seen some posts questioning why would Apple want or need to have a stake in Twitter? Two obvious reasons come to my mind; one being the ability to have a hand in the way that many people now get their news and information (breaking news is disseminated more than via Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)), and also to gain a social media venue and some vocal cords in that space (think Rupert Murdoch and his acquisition of sensational headlines via the New York Post.) Frankly, for Apple to be the world's largest company and not have a direct presence in social media is like building the world's largest house with no running water. And just like running water, news and information flows quickly, over and around everything in its path. So please tell me, with loads of cash to spend, why wouldn't Apple get it together with Twitter?
So, do apples and birds go together? You bet your sweet followers they do! It seems discussions that were started last year are continuing, fueling a heightened awareness that Apple has a sweet spot for this avifauna of social media. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has taken deliberate steps to move closer, integrating it into their new iphone offering, as well as into the new OS X Mountain Lion. And, with boatloads of cash and a dearth of social media presence, Apple would be smart to get cozy and intimate with Twitter, since they seem to have a common ease-of-use strategy, as well as common enemies in Facebook and Google. @APPLTwit anyone?
CoachLizzy is long AAPL and can be followed on twitter as @SaucyVegan. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Facebook, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.