Twitter is hot because we goof off so much

We are doing less work, and it's accruing to just a few companies.

By Jim Cramer Nov 6, 2013 11:10AM

Twitter website on an iPhone (© Jonathan Hordle/Rex Features)Are we doing anything in America? Are we doing anything except watching devices? logo

I keep thinking back to the engagement studies that Sheryl Sandberg talked about at the opening of her remarks on the Facebook (FB) call, when she said that in 2013, for the first time, people will spend more time with digital media than watching TV, specifically 5.25 hours a day on digital services vs. 4.5 hours with television. One in eight of those minutes on a desktop is on Facebook and one in five of those minutes is on mobile.


Now, wait a second. What else is there time for? The average person sleeps eight hours. That's a third of the day. Then there's another third that is supposed to be work and then another third that is meant to be play. Do you mean to tell me that we are on Facebook and the like for more than half of that leisure time and television for the rest?


I think what's happened, the secret of the success of Facebook as well as Twitter and even Yahoo (YHOO) and AOL (AOL), as we heard from Wednesday's successful conference call for that no-longer-a-relic company, is that people are doing far less work at work and fooling around with the Internet far more.


The Internet turned out to be the ultimate in Trojan Horses. Unlike television --  other than the CEOs who are allowed to watch CNBC all day and seem to do so -- the Internet is something that people accept and even expect employees, associates, partners, whatever the bosses are calling labor these days, to be watching. The insidious nature of this is that probably a huge percentage of Internet watching is totally prurient and self-serving, or even more accurately, fun and definitely takes away from what you are supposed to be doing. That's the dirty little secret of this amazing medium.


How did it happen so fast? And how do we know that it isn't all hype? Interestingly enough, you are gleaning a ton of information about how this happened on these conference calls. First, because people have so many devices there is a tremendous overlap of watching. The Facebook people may want to claim those 5.25 hours of watching for Internet, but I think given the plethora of screens out there it's become a two-screen watching era. That's how the networks AND the cable companies can continue to show incredible growth. The ad rates we have seen for non-Internet media have been stellar this quarter and those companies are throwing off a huge amount of cash.


Second, as we know from robust signups of T-Mobile and Verizon (VZ), only some of which might be migration from the growth at AT&T (T) or the switching from Sprint (S) because of the changeover of systems, there is a big boost of people watching programming on smartphones and on tablets. Some of that might be double-counted television, but most of it is programming coming from YouTube or from Facebook, Twitter or AOL's Huffington Post or a host of messaging, texting and e-mail applications.


Finally, we know from the escalating usage of (AMZN) or sites like Zillow (Z), which we learned last night, people are simply shopping all of the time when they should be working.


The only real loser for time has been print, which, from these usage data, has simply fallen off the face of the earth. It is the real casualty of the numbers, other than, say, work.


All of this cuts to a simple fact. The reason social, mobile and the cloud work so well, the reason we are willing to seemingly pay anything for Twitter, and have been paying huge multiples on earnings for Facebook, is that these functions are always on and, because they are not static, always being checked. They are operative from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep.


In fact, I will go a step further. Until the Internet is blocked at work for anything other than what you are being paid for doing, the usage will only go higher. Which is why, in the end, the Twitter deal will be a success and investors will like the growth path as more and more people around the globe spend their time on smartphones checking the Web, looking at Yelp (YELP) for meals, going to Amazon to buy things and certainly checking anything sports on line. If only one-seventh of the people in the world have smartphones and that number is going to probably double within the next few years, and the 5.25 hours of the Internet expands to at least eight hours of when you are at leisure and at work, then you can see why people really want the stock of Twitter.


We're doing less work, we are fooling around more with the Web, and it's accruing to just a few companies. And when each goes public we will clamor for them until something better to watch comes over our mental transoms. It's not just here to stay, it's here to grow, and grow at a pace faster than any pastime in history.

Jim Cramer's headshot

Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long FB.

More from

Nov 6, 2013 12:00PM
I've never had a Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc... account and if I get my way, I never will.  Why do so many people care what some movie star or sports star or other famous person has to say about the most mundane things?  I don't care what Kobe Bryant is getting his kid for her birthday and if you don't know Kobe or his family, why should you care either?  I don't care what Obama thinks about March Madness or what party some Hilton sister went to last night.  This obsession with celebrity is just stupid.  And the truth is, if you take celebrities off of Twitter, that company probably disappears in matter of weeks.
Nov 6, 2013 12:05PM
Thanks for the 'wisdom' Jim....
Speaking of wasting time....
Ultimately have to agree with the
other posters...Twitter is for Twits!

Nov 6, 2013 12:29PM
Cramer............ I give this story a 39% approval rating.
Nov 6, 2013 3:27PM
DLH:Did you ever get a SS number or GED or job?
Nov 6, 2013 12:38PM
Nov 6, 2013 3:36PM

DLH:Hey, only a Republican would give out his SS number.Well, the red states have the most

welfare and food stamps so I guess they need to give that out to get all the freebies the

Repubs want.

Nov 6, 2013 12:48PM
Nov 6, 2013 11:40AM

sure.  we use the internet a lot, and goof off at work.  it's a stress reliever at work for me.  drop in a few seconds, and split. 


BUT to consider this as suitable for a "stock value" is a hard stretch for me to understand.  the product is fluff - we could take it or leave it. 


the revenue is thru ads?  that no one clicks on?  sucker a few people into placing their ads online - then let them find out sales that way are crap. 


Nov 6, 2013 12:08PM
Twitter's popularity is from the under 35 age group, these people (Note: I am 34) tend to be fickle and have no problem switching to something else when they get bored of this.  Facebook is losing users as it has outgrown it's usefulness to many and now cyber security is starting to make some log off.  This is no different, My Space was once the cool site, now it is nothing.
I don't have a Twitter account, and won't be getting one.  These sites seem to have a 5 year span where they are "cool" and experience high growth.  Then they tend to stagnate until replaced by something new.  I see no reason why this will be different.
As far as the IPO goes, I don't like anything with this much hype.
Nov 6, 2013 4:15PM

It took a while for Barry to get out of bed.We know most lazy Repubs like to sleep past noon.

Are you still depressed about your food stamp amount being cut down?I just applied for my

SS yesterday.Besides my pension I`m getting another $2,000 from SS.Barry,I hope some

day you can get your GED.

Nov 6, 2013 4:42PM

HO HUM:Another great day in the market.Those who were smart enough to invest in the market

when Obama took office doubled their money.Who wants money?We want wars and insecurity

and thousands of reasons to blame our woes on Arabs.Besides wars make jobs.Look how many

politicians have offspring fighting in wars.Well, I`ll try to find one.

Nov 6, 2013 5:28PM

Barry will soon be off to his favourite Thai place to indulge in the Cream of Sum Yung Gi .......

Problem is it's a male massage parlour and not a restaurant !!!

Aargh !!

Nov 6, 2013 4:28PM

DL:You misspelled Obama`s name.Start learning to spell Hillary.The low information Republican

voters usually never got their GED`s.Things like nascar,rodeos and sex with their sisters

got in the way.You notice the RED states are last in education.

Nov 6, 2013 4:20PM

DLH:Sebelius took the blame for the website.When is the last time a Republican ever

took the blame for anything?Answer:NEVER.

Nov 6, 2013 1:05PM
avatar to run to the bank now, but my only other reaction to your amity towards Twitter lies with an historical precedent set by A SHARP some time ago.

He made a small fortune (by his own admission) off 'shorting Facebook' ...Perhaps this is also
the way to go here.   Just a consideration.  You will do what you must and the best of luck, regardless.

As Enya used to sing, "May you see a shining IPO"...or something like that.

Nov 6, 2013 12:17PM
Buzzkiller Cramer. This article will haunt you Jim.
Nov 6, 2013 5:30PM
Nice to see a tea bagger take a beating in Virginia last night .....

Nov 6, 2013 5:01PM

It`s 2pm eastern time.Do you know where your money`s at?It`s growing thanks to Obama.Best

President ever !Peace and prosperity.Well, the John Wayne Republicans hate peace."hell,

there must be somebody we can go to war with"?

Nov 6, 2013 4:44PM

DLH:Goetz is ABS`s hero.I know Barry doesn`t read,so I thought I`ld let him know.Goetz is

a NY hero.

Nov 6, 2013 2:31PM

You might be right Brent....All or many of the "good ol' boys" ran off to Anthony's doom & gloom article yesterday...

And left poor Kramer behind with about only 12 comments on his blog....hmmm.


Of course the P.M. crowd, "not this one"; Never has anything good to say, and most aren't investors anyway...But they sure can talk a good line of shidt that means nothing, except to them...arf,arf,arf.

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