Twitter Inc (TWTR): The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A look at Twitter Inc (TWTR) shares and our dependence on the social network

Jul 31, 2015 at 9:16 AM
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Kind of ugly day for Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) stock Wednesday. From CNBC:

"Twitter easily topped Wall Street's quarterly earnings and revenue expectations Tuesday, boosted by growth in advertising revenue.

The company's shares plunged more than 10 percent on Wednesday, however, amid investor disappointment in the number of active users reported." 

It's kind of ironic timing in that Wednesday was also the night that Twitter proved yet again that it's officially how we communicate literally everything. On the off chance you weren't watching the Mets game last night, you missed a pretty epic moment in the life of Social Media. Word spread like wildfire around the Twittersphere that the Mets and Brewers had made a trade.

Clearly everyone heard about the trade except for Mets manager Terry Collins, who left Wilmer Flores in the game even though he was involved in the trade. Which led to this. Of course, the punchline was that the trade never actually consummated. 

All of which led to criticism of the Mets for letting a young guy keep playing through his emotional pain in full view of everyone with access to a viral video. And, of course, criticism of Twitter itself and this age of social media that we live in.

It highlights a couple things for me: First, how in the world isn't Twitter Inc. (the company) not capitalizing on all our dependence?

It's obviously not just sports. It's finance, it's entertainment, it's news -- it's everything. I could buy the argument that monetizing the user base is trickier than meets the eye. I can't buy the argument that the user base is doing anything but getting more and more engaged at this point in time.

Then again, I'm not an analyst. Implied volatility is back to the low 40's post-earnings, kind of normal for TWTR. The stock is down 40% since April. Realized volatility will likely settle in the 30's, so looks the options are pretty fair; it's the stock itself that looks awful. 

Second, have we hit the point where we're blaming some ambiguous Social Media bot for unfortunate events, as opposed to actual humans? 

What I mean is, it reminds me of a decade or so ago when Blogs were all the rage and Established Media types would blame rumors spread by stereotyped and anonymous "bloggers" for all sorts of events. That is to say, they blamed the medium and not the actual human behind the "news." 

Blogs were (and are) just a medium. So is Twitter. Generic Twitter didn't break the news of the Mets (non) trade; it was an actual reporter from the New York Post with a scoop.

The story spread like wildfire within about 12 seconds. About a minute later he added that the trade was pending medical approval... but the horse had left the barn. Obviously it highlights the downside of the age of social media. But let's face it. Twitter's not going away, and the upside of the platform is pretty great too.

Disclaimer: Mr. Warner's opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent the views of Schaeffer's Investment Research.


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