Twitter's shares keep climbing this morning, far above the price set by the company's bankers, as it prepares to debut on the New York Stock Exchange. This is an IPO with all the trumpets and glitter those three letters conjure.
But as the price climbs past $20 and $30 and $40, the revenue and profit expectations for the company do, too. To justify the excitement, analysts like RBC Capital Markets' Mark Mahaney and Sun Trust's Robert Peck say Twitter will have to become a utility. But what kind?
On CNBC this morning, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo trotted out a new line for the company's IPO: He called Twitter "the indispensable companion to life in the moment."
Ever Finer Slices of the Moment
"In the moment" has two key meanings here, I think.
One is easy to parse: Twitter is live! It's like TV; it pairs well with TV. Sometimes, people get on the service and just say, "Hello?" to see who is out there. It's like a chatroom with no edges. Twitter is what Second Life promised to be: the Internet with people.
But which people? And that's the other meaning of "in the moment." Facebook is designed to capture both your offline and online social networks. They want to know who *all* your friends are. Facebook's design literally extends back in time to birth.