Ringing the bell was the easy part. Twitter can look forward to a lot volatility and noise around its stock in the months to come.
Twitter is already up 80% -- fireworks! And by that I mean: Best to sit back and watch, but not get in on the action unless you don't mind getting burned. This is now the most over-valued stock on the market. Look back at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Baidu: they all dropped back under their IPO price for a period of time before regaining ground. Groupon and Zynga fell and never recovered.
The purpose of raising money on the market is to fund new initiatives, which is great. But those take time to come to fruition and become profitable. How long? Depends on how ambitious those plans are.
Another factor to consider is that the supply of shares on the open market will increase over the next year or two as people who hold stock get out of the lockup period, or employees see their shares vest. This can change the market in unpredictable ways.
What are the big challenges facing Twitter as it goes to market?
* User growth is slowing.
* The company is already generating large losses.
Noah, I'd add improving the user experience to make it more accessible to new users (and improve retention rates of new users -- getting them to send that second tweet!) without upsetting existing users.
Now let's look at a couple that started steady, and went the other direction.
There are a bunch of examples. I think a show like American Idol has been really forward thinking in the way it works with Twitter. (And even though I know the show's ratings have been sinking, they've arguably sunk less due to Twitter engagement). But they've done things like have Ryan Seacrest ask a question that viewers answered on Twitter with a specific hashtag. (That was done in partnership with AT&T so there's a marketing oppty playing into it as well). Idol also does something where after a contestant is eliminated they keep Tweeting out photos of that contestant and sort of keeping their story alive on Twitter, which is really popular with viewers. "The Voice" also has a really active Twitter engagement going on. Obviously, reality shows tend to work best with Twitter because people are generally watching them live and wanting to be a part of the conversation in real time.
I think we'll see things evolve a lot in the Twitter ad space. I mean, why shouldn't Twitter partner with a brand and release a short movie? I think a scenario in which Twitter almost becomes something of a distributor of content will be something we'll be seeing at some point. I think there's a creative partnership that exists between Twitter and Hollywood because of its close TV relationship, that Facebook doesn't share. I think that has to play out in the ad arena.
Following-up on Nicole's answer, Twitter is crafting its technology in a way that makes it easier to share media. They recently changed things so that uploaded images show at full size when you include them in a tweet. You can also embed video or sound files. So it's not far-fetched to think that people will start debuting content in the stream, and that Twitter can help make sure it gets seen.
Jumping on with Noah and Nicole - it's going to be fun to see who else takes to this change. Sports fans tend to love more, and more exclusive, stuff. But I'm guessing that we'll see more from live events that aren't televised as well. And journalism! With Vivian Schiller, formerly of NPR and NBC digital on the case, we should see something interesting from that camp as well.
Twitter is creating a a lot of wealth today. And no doubt the immediate focus will be on generating revenue, and turning a profit, in the near future. But Twitter has also been a force for change around the world. So I'd like to wrap up by asking about what Twitter, and the newly-minted millionaires it created, could do with some of that money to be a force for good.
From a company perspective, they’ve got cash and a deep bench of talent. What now? There are real (but not easily monetizable) opportunities to be found on a platform as accessible, global and public as Twitter. And those opportunities can have profound impacts on the world. One of the most inspiring conversations I had with Deb Roy, the co-founder of BlueFin and MIT professor, was about just that. What else could Twitter be besides a conduit for Duck Dynasty mockery? For me, that means breakthroughs in deeply important areas - brainstorming here - like tracking infectious diseases, enforcing civil rights and finding better ways to be, well, better people. What could we learn about, say, Haiti if everyone there used Twitter? How could we impact the scourge of human trafficking? I know, I know. Idealism. But the Valley loves to hit us with big talk about changing the world. It seems to me that the gift of simple, democratic transparency that has always been at the heart of Twitter could actually live up to the promise. And kittens. More kittens, please.