At 9.30am US Eastern time, 2.30pm GMT, the sound of the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange will mark the moment when shares in Twitter – at an initial offer price of $26 each and identified by the NYSE symbol TWTR – will become listed on the Exchange and public trading will begin.
It’s worth looking at what it is about the microblogging service (how quaint that moniker now sounds) that makes it, arguably, one of the most valuable tools for communication professionals and marketers, politicians and celebrities – in reality, just about anyone with a Twitter handle – to engage influencers and customers, broadcast news, manage reputations, and drive communication and marketing for individuals, causes and organizations of every type imaginable, in every country in the world.
You can acquaint yourself with today’s Twitter by checking the facts and figures on the company’s new ‘About‘ pages, redesigned and updated this week as the IPO nears.
You can also check any of the myriad online publications, from mainstream media to informed (even just opinionated) bloggers, all with commentary and opinion about any and every facet of Twitter and a business event that undoubtedly will capture imaginations globally from the sound of that bell ringing in New York City.
An article that caught my eye this morning is How Twitter changed the world, hashtag-by-hashtag by BBC News that assesses Twitter’s history, growth and other compelling metrics in a highly-readable timeline form.
The specific section on the history of the hashtag is especially interesting as it will give you insight into a tool that rapidly has become highly useful for connecting and measuring conversations, etc, on Twitter, that will help you see why this little symbol (#) is so significant today.
Some quotes from that history (with some added hashtags):
- Hashtags are now the definitive way to group tweets on the same subject.
- Hashtags can be a remarkably effective way of making a company change its policy. Whether it’s getting rid of offensive t-shirts, or forcing “gay best friend” dolls to be removed, there’s no faster way for consumers to well and truly kick off.
- Twitter has cemented itself as a digital soapbox, and a place for #politicians to engage directly with people, making major announcements along the way. It is arguably one of the most effective campaign tools – particularly in reaching voters that are unlikely to pay attention to a party political broadcast.
- #Newsrooms the world over have taken to social media, using it as both a source, but also a broadcast platform. Newsrooms are awash with positions that simply didn’t exist five years ago. The real challenge, of course, is to make sure what is tweeted is in fact true – and news organisations don’t always get it right.
- In the English Premier League (#EPL), all 20 clubs are now on Twitter, with more than half of all first-team players having verified accounts. It means that fans are closer than ever to their heroes.
- #Celebrities on Twitter are huge, and can perhaps be credited with bringing a more mainstream audience to the service.
- During the uprisings in #Egypt, Twitter was a key channel for protesters to disseminate material, and to also organise gatherings.
- Television executives the world over are implementing ways to make the most of the #secondscreen – your mobile or tablet – while watching their content. Often this is being seen as a way to fling more adverts at you.
Mainstream activities for something definitely not mainstream just a few years ago.