Twitter has made its first moves to go public, albeit somewhat privately, which may leave its millions of user wondering: What, exactly, does that mean for me?
Tired jokes about a me-centric Twitter user base aside, it’s actually a very good question for the firm’s 200 million users to be asking. Going public can change a lot for a company, and it would be naive to think that those won’t trickle down to users in some form.
Of course, it’s hard to say exactly what Twitter’s IPO will look like, especially since the company has opted to express its intentions to go public through a confidential filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But past changes at Twitter do offer some clues of what’s ahead.
In the past year or so, Twitter has been ramping up its attention to advertising products and ways to give user messages more impact. Its recent changes to how conversations look on the site, for example, were aimed at making it easier to wade through tweets and to follow discussions within a user’s stream. Advertisers, too, have been flowing more content onto the site, through the official products of promoted tweets and hashtags, as well as less traditional attention-grabbing stunts. And Twitter has already proven itself quite savvy about placing ads on mobile devices — something that tripped Facebook up ahead of its IPO — and recently bought the mobile ad exchange, MoPub, for $350 million.