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December 5, 2013

Google Makes Twitter a Short

The Differences Between Twitter and Google Plus

My entry into the realm of social media has been sluggish. I despise the concept of publishing personal information online, and when I finally entered the fray about a year and a half ago, the purpose was strictly business... I opened a Twitter account in order to shares links to trading and economic-related web content. Over that time, Google+ links began popping up everywhere. I mostly ignored those links, believing the Google+ service to be redundant. Even when I finally decided to take a closer look, my first impression reinforced the idea of redundancy.

Then something clicked. And when you get what Google+ is all about, you realize that Twitter is the redundant service, and that Google+ is so far superior, Twitter stock will one day make for a stellar shorting opportunity.

So what makes Google+ different from Twitter? Well, Google+ quite literally runs circles around Twitter. Google+ users can organize their contacts into groups, called circles. Then when you add content, you can opt to share the post with one or more circles or to the general public. With Twitter, all tweets are public. Granted, you can open private dialogues within Twitter, but these exchanges are little different than chat applications that have been around for 20 years.

But Google+ takes the group concept a step further by enabling users to create communities. These communities focus on specific topics, such as precious metals trading or complaining about Congressional perks. Posts can then reach a target audience outside one's personal circles. With Twitter, reaching such audiences requires using a hash tag and hoping that your post will display when someone performs a search based on the terms in your hash tags. Google+ provides a ready community who will see your posts immediately.

Furthermore, posts within Google+ can be edited, contain no limit on characters, and allow the author to control comments, as well as whether or not the post can be re-posted to other groups. Google+ users also receive a huge marketing advantage since use of the Google+ service is naturally advantageous to Google rankings. For business users... those who are more likely to spend money on marketing... this difference strikes at the core purpose of utilizing social media.

Other difference are technical, but nevertheless very useful. For example, Google+ users can view hot topics and then narrow the list into a focused, high-quality list. Twitter display hot topics sorted by time-of-post with no regard to quality and without tools to narrow the search. Finally, Google+ offers photo-editing capabilities, enabling users to add effects, crop, and otherwise customize an image before posting.

And then there is Twitter's valuation. With revenue on pace to hit roughly $1.50 per user in 2013, Twitter stock is value at over $130 per user. By comparison, Facebook generated close to $2 per user in the third quarter... a level that puts Facebook on pace to generate over $8 per user per annum... but FB has a similar valuation per user. (Comparisons with Google are not useful because Google is more than just a social media company).

Investors are paying a steep premium for the prospect of rapid revenue growth at Twitter. Unfortunately, as more people catch on to the advantages of Google+, that revenue growth may flit away.


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