Twitter is a lot like Netflix

'Serve it up and they will come' is not a business model. Even if the media adores you.

By Staff Nov 11, 2013 3:22PM logo

File photo of smartphone displaying Twitter logo (© Soeren Stache/dpa/Corbis)By Rocco Pendola

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Allow me to make something perfectly clear. I am not anti-Twitter (TWTR). In fact, based on how often I use Twitter, it's clear I'm very much pro-Twitter.

It's just, at times like these, it pays, as a media personality, investor, smart generalist or otherwise, to step away from the hype and reclaim reality.

That's where any and all of my Twitter critical-ness comes from, including the notion that, in some ways, Twitter is very much like Netflix (NFLX).

It would serve Twitter CEO Dick Costolo well to remove himself from media circles for a time. While it appears intuitive that he should saturate himself in this culture to better understand it, as to leverage it in ways to fuel growth at his company, he also requires balance.

When the media loves you like it does Twitter and -- with such embarrassing desperation -- wants to "friend you," it's easy to get caught up in the hype. I sense an arrogance on Costolo's part that expects signing up advertisers at Twitter is/will be somehow akin to shooting fish in a barrel.

It's not that easy. It might feel like it now, but that feeling's simply not going to last. There's even more smart and credible competition on the way. Having media goodwill and the right eyeballs (and lots of them) alongside a flavor-of-the-month social advertising platform doesn't equate to some timeless formula.

While Twitter could not only survive, but thrive as a largely bi-coastal, media and celebrity-driven phenomenon, it could serve Costolo and his various "teams" ("teams" has become an annoying buzzword, hasn't it?) well to remove themselves from the vacuums they run in and sit in on some focus groups in the middle of nowhere America where they'll likely spend more time explaining to participants what Twitter is. That process could help them understand how to make it better and more competitive with Facebook (FB).

It will certainly benefit Twitter more than taking up a Reed Hastings-like arrogance and basking in the glow of all the nice things a media that likes to live vicariously through others says every other segment and every other Tweet.

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Nov 11, 2013 4:09PM
They should both be dead companies, along with Facebook.

Nov 12, 2013 9:50AM
Twitter is mostly about folks following their favorite wacko celebrities. Meanwhile the celebrities are following other celebrities. Basically it's a JOKE. Lucky for Twitter, now with a $1Billion line of Credit plus almost $2Billion from the IPO offering, they can go out and buy folks that run companies with a Real Business.
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