There is a blizzard of news about Twitter every day.
For fintech-focused users, three things caught my attention this week.
They represent the Good, Bad and Ugly about the present and future prospects for the platform.
First, the good.
CEO Elon Musk announced a simple, but powerful enhancement. By adding a so-called cashtag (ie $ symbol) in front of a stock ticker in a post, it automatically creates a hyperlink. You can click through to a chart on either TradingView or Robinhood.
This provides context and perspective and also an immediate way to jump to a trading account. That removes an obstacle to acting on information and, in this case, buying or selling securities.
This has wide-ranging implications because it makes Twitter more immediately transactional. Imagine seeing a tweet for a restaurant and clicking to book a table.
My friend Pierce Crosby, a General Manager at TradingView, worked with Twitter on the implementation, said it’s a “big deal.”
It was also great that Musk announced it. As a former product manager, I think the world would be a better place if more CEOs announced enhancements!
Next, the bad.
Twitter deplatformed Paul Graham, one of the founders of seed investor Y Combinator and a prolific writer about all things tech, after he said he was moving to a competitor, Mastodon.
Graham has been a fan of Musk and is not considered controversial or a cultural warrior.
The ban lasted only two days, but was a reminder for anyone who builds a business or a following on Twitter that it can be taken away quickly and rather arbitrarily.
Finally, the Ugly.
Liz Hoffman, the Semafor business editor, tweeted an exclusive story about Musk seeking new investors for Twitter, offering a price of $54.20 a share.
According to an account in Hoffman’s newsletter, the tweet got 4.4 million impressions, equivalent to about 1 in 50 of the daily active Twitter users.
Yet it only generated 23,000 clicks.
As Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, pointed out, “That’s a 0.52% click-through rate and this story had the best of circumstances: It was a hot scoop on the hottest subject on Twitter itself.”
Evidently, most breaking news readers got all they needed from the tweet.
Media organizations spend oodles of staff time and money to tweet out content in the hope that it will drive traffic and ultimately client subscriptions.
In the process, they provide Twitter with its lifeblood: news content.
It seems to be axiomatic that media companies need to do this to be relevant.
But what if they didn’t?
It would be an interesting analysis to evaluate the true cost, i.e. the time and salaries of all the people posting on social media against the revenue generated.
Has anyone done this? Is it worth the time and effort?