MediaFile

Twitter older than it looks

You could be forgiven for thinking Twitter was the latest example of youth culture.

From the ability to fire off grammatically-abbreviated updates about daily trifles to keeping tabs on celebrities, the fast-growing microblogging service has all the earmarks of a young person’s pastime.

But Twitter devotees are grayer than one might expect: The majority of Twitter’s roughly 10 million unique Web site visitors worldwide in February were 35 years old or older, according to comScore.

In the U.S, 10 percent of Twitter users were between 55 and 64, nearly the same amount of users as those between 18 and 24, which accounted for 10.6 percent of the total.

Twitter has seen its popularity explode in recent months, with the number of unique visitors to its site increasing by more than 1000 percent year-over-year in February, according to comScore.

Twitter invites all shades of green

Twitter is now free for all, but it may not be for much longer. According to co-founder Biz Stone, the micro-blogging site plans to offer commercial accounts for businesses to pay a fee to receive an enhanced version of Twitter starting some time this year.

The move is part of Twitter’s accelerated plan to start seeking revenue in 2009, despite the economic downturn and cutbacks in advertising spending online. The company recently closed a round of venture capital financing pegged at $35 million by media reports, following two earlier funding rounds totaling $20 million. The recent round valued Twitter at $255 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Stone says:

We think there will be opportunities to provide services to commercial entities that help them get even more value out of Twitter. If these services are valuable to companies, we think they may want to pay for them.

How long will Google stay on a deal diet?

Is Google really on a deal diet?

Normally Google gobbles up companies — more than 30 deals since 2005, usually small, privately held companies priced from $20 million to $50 million. But it hasn’t announced an acquisition in six months and Google CEO Eric Schmidt says prices are still too high right now.

But with some $16 billion in cash and securities in its back pocket, experts say Schmidt may soon be making a call. With valuations so low, and Internet software competition so high, Google can’t afford to pass up new technologies and growth opportunities.

Are you listening, Twitter and Expedia? (Reuters) Keep an eye on:

from Shop Talk:

L.A. keeps on (taco) truckin’!

kogi211Meet Kogi, L.A.'s newest celebrity.

It's not a buxom starlet or a hunky leading man, it's a Korean-themed taco truck that sells things like Korean short rib tacos to home-made ice cream sandwiches and daily specials.

In a city where taco trucks are as ubiquitous as New York City's hot dog vendors, Kogi has used technology lure fans.

kogi111It has a website, a few Facebook fan pages and diners can track its every move on Twitter.

Let’s dance: Universal, YouTube talk music site

Get ready for Vevo, or whatever YouTube and Universal decide to call their premium online music site.

It’s no sure thing a deal will get done, of course. One source told Reuters that negotiations have “literally” just started and key details, like financial terms, are still undecided.

Still, at first glance, this seems like it could be one of those win-win deals and both sides would probably be smart to work out an arrangement.

Google’s Schmidt: Twitter is poor man’s email

Google CEO Eric Schmidt thinks Twitter’s success is wonderful, but he’s not particularly impressed with the product’s usefulness.***

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In fact, Schmidt deems Twitter and products of its ilk “poor man’s email systems,’ as he told the crowd at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

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Twitter’s text-based messaging service, which limits messages to 140 characters, can’t compare to all the features and storage capabilities of a full-fledged email product, Schmidt said.

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What’s more, he noted, Google already has a very successful instant messaging product.

Twitter has journalists chirping

News organizations are all a-twitter about Twitter: Is it a friend or a foe? Should it be embraced or eschewed? Will Twitter kill journalism or revive it?

As journalists learn about Twitter and how they can use it, they also write more about it. In the past day alone, there have been a handful of stories about Twitter.

The Miami Herald wrote about CNN’s Washington bureau chief David Bohrman talking about the importance of newer technologies like Twitter and YouTube. Bohrman said CNN has been using YouTube and Twitter to attract the more elusive younger audience, and had great success with the presidential-primary debates.

VCs give Twitter a Valentine’s Day gift

Venture capitalists are stingy with their money right now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t shell out a few dollars for a hot Internet startup like Twitter.

The micro-blogging website announced on its blog it had received new funding from venture capital firms Benchmark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners, although they didn’t say how much. Some folks are reporting it’s in the neighborhood of $35 million.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in a post Friday morning they weren’t looking for more funding. “Nevertheless, our strong growth attracted interest and we decided to accept a unique opportunity to make Twitter even stronger with a very attractive offer,” Stone wrote.

Tweeters as editors, sources, merchants?

In his speech at the Shorty Awards — the first unofficial Oscars for Twitter users — on Wednesday night, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez marveled at the intermingling of new and old media. Then he told the smartly dressed audience that Tweeters are “my editors, my sources, my friends, my focus group. You’re the people who matter to me more than some of the people who are supposed to matter to me.”******All this from a site where everything starts with a simple question: “What are you doing?” As the audience kept an eye on the stage while typing furiously on their cellphones, event organizer Gregory Galant told us Twitter was about much more than “where you write about what you had for lunch.”***This seemed to be confirmed by by this so-very-novice-tweeter reporter’s straw poll of attendees, who were treated to an appearance by fellow-tweeter MC Hammer.******Whatever else it is, Twitter is definitely a commercial tool as well as a social platform. Many of the 26 winners even used their tweet-sized-140-words acceptance speeches for blatant promotion of ideas, blogs businesses or causes.******Rich Tucker, known as @cruisesource on twitter, won the travel award and used his short spot to plug something called the Sofresh Social Media Cruise.***Politics winner @justin_hart promoted a politician while Scott Zagarino @athletes4acure spoke out about prostate cancer when accepting the nonprofits prize.***Martin Sargent @martinsargent, won the weird category and took a dig at the platform itself. “What’s truly weird is that by receiving the $1,000 grant that accompanies this award, I’m 1,000 times more profitable than Twitter. Thank you.” Another contendor for the weird prize, @Matman showed up at the party in an outfit to promote WellComeMat.com******Then there was the mix of attendees, many of whom paid a $60 entrance fee, besides the reporters who gave the event pretty wide coverage.***Nora Abousteit, who runs an open source sewing pattern web site burdaStyle.com, said she depends so much on Twitter for media updates that she changed her cellphone number and service after discovering twitter didn’t work well on her old phone.***Liam, a bemused 26-year-old from Brooklyn went because he is friends with the organizers. “I don’t understand twitter at all. I don’t get it,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of social interaction being boiled down to a computer.”******But Claire Chang of San Francisco-based Psolenoid saw practical uses. Chang, who is developing a twitter application, tweeted that she was going from Times Square to the awards. A reply came in time to share a car with another tweeter. At the end of the night Claire was confidently tweeting for a ride back to the city.******Vonda LePage, communications director for ad agency Deutsche Inc, dabbles with allkinds of social media. New York Times David Pogue may see twitter being “What you make it” but LePage has definite notions about what Twitter means to her – sharing information for business. But you have to be sincere or people will stop following your tweets, “if you only use it for commercial purposes, you’ll be turned off,” she said. As for the idea of telling the world you’re drinking a coffee or upset about something, LePage said, “That’s Facebook.”******(Photos of @Matman and stage screen at Shorty awards/Sinead Carew)

Ad market finds the upside of down

There have been plenty of doomsday forecasts about 2009 advertising spending, brought on by the financial crisis. Especially when online advertising, so long on the rise even as print ad revenue fell, started falling too.

Now, Adweek threatens to mess up the picture:

So far, the first months of 2009 aren’t looking as dire as once predicted for the online ad market, according to buyers and sellers. However, many report that business has slowed down, resulting in intensifying pressure on pricing, particularly in the ad networks space.

But the abysmal first quarter that many anticipated — one in which shell-shocked clients either delayed all decision making or went into budget-slashing mode — hasn’t happened, said many industry insiders.