Twitter soars to largest internet IPO since Facebook, now come the changes

Welcome to the big time

Shares of Twitter, the popular micro blogging platform, jumped by more than 73% to around $45.10 by midday Thursday, its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The NYSE's session was opened on behalf of Twitter by Patrick Stewart, better known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the Star Trek series. He was joined by a 9-year-old girl who started a charity that makes use of the site.

At one point, Twitter shares had soared by as much as 92%. It was by all means a rousing success for a company with an IPO it wanted to keep low-key (you know, after the whole Facebook debacle 18 months ago).

The company was initially valued at $18.1 billion when Twitter priced its shares at $26 late Wednesday, but the new value puts it at $30 billion. That's more than LinkedIn ($24 billion), but about 30% of Facebook's valuation.

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The 7-year-old entity has more than 230 million monthly active users and will be closely watched as it attempts to raise capital to fuel its growth in mobile where it derives nearly three-quarters of its revenue.

The IPO also comes at a time of uncertainty, with the company having posted a loss of $134 million for the first nine months of 2013, almost double the amount for the same period in 2012.

Likewise, many question the company's treacherous journey to convert global users, which account for three-quarters of its user base into a meaningful revenue stream. They only account for 25% of the company's overall revenue of $422 million for the first nine months of the year.

What does Twitter's IPO mean for you?

All in all, Twitter's first day on the Exchange means more for a small group made up of founders, execs and early stock holders than it does to most of the millions who use the site, but look for the push and pull of Wall Street to trickle down to the rest of us before long.

Areas users will notice changes are in advertisements, ways to monetize users, deeper TV integration, a better "onboarding experience," and a more vigorous drive into mobile. Especially with its losses, investors are going to ask, "What are you doing, Twitter, to get the most money of @techradar and everyone else?"

We don't expect J.P. Morgan to namecheck us, but the company knows its success now more than ever depends on getting users, keeping them engaged and finding ways to make money from them. And this definitely means changes for all of us.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.