Should Twitter Be Sold?

It inspired an entire ecosystem of related products, services, businesses, markets, even a different type of language. So just how much is Twitter worth in terms of real dollars?

Whatever that number is (more on that below), should it be sold to one of its biggest competitors? What would a new owner mean to the millions of Twitter users and #edchatters? I try to help answer those questions below.

$10 Billion?

A potential sale is just what might happen according to recent reports form The Wall Street Journal. The paper says Twitter is in low-level acquisition talks with Facebook and Google for a deal that would put the network at a $8 to $10 billion valuation.

I feel that this number is so low because people haven’t yet figured out how to properly make money off of Twitter. Groupon was valued at much more because it’s a money-making machine. Twitter, not so much.

Founder Biz Stone tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, “We’re not valued at $10 billion dollars. That’s just what people are writing in the newspapers, which unfortunately has the negative impact of my friends thinking I must have $10 billion dollars.”

Of course, the $8 billion to $10 billion are just numbers being thrown out there. Twitter’s valuation wouldn’t change until a deal is actually done. Just last December, the company was reportedly valued at $3.7 billion during its most recent funding round.

Yesterday, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo dismissed the company’s $10 billion acquisition rumors during a speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. And today, Twitter co-founder and creative director Biz Stone told NPR that “We’re not valued at $10 billion dollars.”

But when Gross asked him about the acquisition rumors he responded “Twitter is not for sale. We don’t have a shingle out on our front that says ‘Twitter. For Sale.’ We’re not for sale and we haven’t been. We’re very, very interested in building an independent company. Source: TechCrunch

In case you didn’t know, Twitter has had a profound impact on education and teachers in general:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/gregkulowiec/status/38066348768768000"]

What Would Happen If Twitter Were Sold?

At first, nothing. If Twitter were sold to Facebook, Google, or really any buyer there would likely be very little change in terms of user experience except that users would start getting quite upset and potentially leave Twitter altogether. However, if you’re like me, Twitter is kind of a drug and it might be hard to quit cold turkey even if it’s sold. However, it might be a different story depending on who actually buys Twitter:

If Facebook Bought Twitter

If the mega social network Facebook bought Twitter, you’d see a deeper integration of Twitter into Facebook. Think more real-time updating in the Facebook stream rather than relying on third-party services to post both to Twitter and Facebook.

What if both were the same thing so you only had one place to go to share the hilarious or informative link you just found? Not the worst of things but definitely could be scary in the long-run in terms of Facebook having a complete monopoly over your time online.

If Google Bought Twitter

Google has tried and failed with numerous forays into the social media realm. If they ponied up the cash and acquired Twitter, Google would have an instant winner in its stable.

Or would it? I personally think Twitter would see a rapid decline if it were swallowed up by Google and turned into something designed to sell more advertising space.Just like in the early days of Facebook (according to ‘The Social Network’), not having advertising is cool. Very cool. Adding more ads to Twitter would be a dangerous reason for Google to make this power grab.

The scenario of Google wanting to acquire Twitter seems to be the most likely as Google is apparently eager to plunk down billions for companies like Groupon. That money is burning a hole in Google’s proverbial pocket so it’s gotta go somewhere…

What Do You Think?

These are of course just my opinions and musings, I want to hear what you think! Will Twitter even be sold? Should it hold out for more money? Is it even about the money at this point?

Weigh in down in the comments or, better yet, @ me on Twitter (@edudemic) or on the Facebook page. Please don’t use Google Wave or Google Buzz to get in touch, I won’t see it. (zing!)

1 Comment

  1. Jmillerjf

    November 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    @Juoop.com in my opinion Twitter should try to come up with a business model then try to sell if that’s what they want to do or the could just become a independent company and rival Google and Facebook but they must find out how to make money first