Some Stuff I Tweeted about Twitter

Noah Brier
2 min readJul 31, 2016


Thought it might be worth sharing here as well with a little extra context …

That embed, there, of course points to Hillary’s comment about “a man you can bait with a Tweet”:

That wasn’t just a throwaway line, either. It was effectively the hook of the speech. It became the headline to quite a few stories. And it’s about a service that is getting pretty hammered by the market …

So what gives? How is it that on one hand the service can have that kind of cultural impact but on the other be such a bad business (or at least one that doesn’t meet up to the expectations of the market … to call Twitter a bad business would be pretty absurd).

Cultural Significance != Business Value

But why is that?

I’m actually surprised this point isn’t made more often. Part of what makes Twitter as powerful as it is isn’t that news is broken there all that often (maybe it is, maybe it isn’t), it’s that the people who break news are all obsessed with the platform.

This gets to the heart of the disconnect between the business and the audience. There is a massive misconception in marketing that the more influential your audience is, the more valuable it is. That is true when targeted (it’s why B2B publications exist), but it’s not the road to the wallets of mass marketers (where a whole lot of the dollars hang out).

I don’t think enough people understand this point, especially in technology. The job of brands (as outlined in How Brands Grow) is to grow your market share. To do that you’ve got to reach people who haven’t bought your products. That requires talking to lots of people who buy lots of stuff.

Go read the whole post over at Percolate on Why Mass Marketing Wins Over Targeted Efforts

Ultimately, Twitter may be doing an absolutely unbelievable job monetizing it’s platform if you compare it to other influence-focused publications (like the New York Times) instead of truly mass media (like Facebook).

At the end of the day, the simplest way to understand it’s cultural significance is that if you want to be reported on you need to be there … The people who write the stories and make the shows that end up on Facebook are all voraciously refreshing their Twitter streams. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily make it a business the market will like.