NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Twitter (TWTR) shareholder Chris Sacca recently announced he's no longer going to remain a defender of the company and sit idly by while Wall Street, media pundits and every Tom, Dick and Harry opines on what Twitter could and should do to boost usage.
Sacca on Wednesday gave his suggestions on what Twitter can do to improve user growth, revenue growth, and ultimately boost its share price.
In a lengthy, 8,500 word-blog post, Sacca, who has said he and his fund, Lowercase Capital, own "a lot of stock," has come with his suggestions for what Twitter can do to improve usage, especially as it relates to live events, an area where Sacca believes Twitter has an enormous leg up.
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A key passage from Sacca on Twitter and live events:
No one else can do live like Twitter and Periscope. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube can't hold a hashtag to Twitter's live content. Facebook has certainly tried more than once to pinch Twitter's game, to no avail.
Everything that is happening is happening on Twitter. Every game, every show, every debate, every war, every storm, every ceremony, every tragedy, every election.
Live events tug at the very threads of our being. We all crave shared experiences. Jokes are funnier when we have someone to laugh with. Victories are more exhilarating when we have someone to high five. Catharsis goes deeper when we can cry on the shoulder of another.
In a world of pre-fabricated and polished appearances, live events are raw, authentic, and vulnerable. They bring us together and reveal our commonality.
Yet, experiencing live events on Twitter today can be extremely hit or miss. Why?
We may not know they are happening at all.
We may know they are happening but don't follow all of the right accounts to get the most immersive coverage.
We are distracted by the rest of our scattered timelines while trying to experience an event.
Even if we are all watching the same event, we have very distinct timelines among us.
Again, this is all fixable. The company can build a high-quality, captivating immersion experience for major live events. The necessary elements are:
A separate tab in Twitter (or app).
Thoughtfully curated follows to build the initial stream.
Scheduling and promotion to build traffic.
No permanent commitment nor login required.
Live Twitter can be built right into the main Twitter app, but it should certainly have its own tab so we can concentrate on the live experience free of distraction. Once we click on that tab, we should see a stream of Tweets prioritized not just for immediacy but for relevance as well.
The event stream will be anchored in following a group of accounts that are directly relevant. For television shows, it might be the actors themselves, the show's official account, some parody accounts, hobbyist commentators, and celebrities who are known to be big fans of the show. Twitter could also tap comedians and critics to live-Tweet along with the show. As described up to this point, the experience doesn't seem like more than a well-organized Twitter list. That's where the human editors come in.
During each event, the company should have an editor or two reviewing the Tweets in stream in real-time and culling them for relevancy, importance, humor, and value. Anything that is noisy will get cut from the stream seconds after it has been published. In parallel, the editors will watch all of Twitter for event-themed Tweets that are earning a lot of hearts and retweets. Anything particularly resonant will be inserted quickly and artfully into the event stream.
To ensure the broadest participation in live events, Twitter will promote them in the main stream and encourage us to subscribe to our favorites, essentially building a calendar of anticipation. The rollout will start with the biggest award shows, the most pivotal sporting events, key political events, and a couple of influencer-heavy shows like Game of Thrones and Shark Tank. This programming will ensure that the most interested audiences won't ever miss a live feed and it will bring us all back to the service again and again as the range of covered events expands. Done right, live Twitter will have sports scores and TV listings front and center and will be the place everyone visits first to see how the game is going or when the show starts.
Soon after the live events are over these dedicated streams will go away and be replaced by suggestions for other events. No long-term commitment needed. No obligation to stay tuned to accounts of reporters in Egypt after the protests are over. No need to keep the golf commentator in our main feed after the Masters. Our core timelines remain untouched.
Notice also that nothing about this live Twitter format would require any of us to log in. Site visitors to Twitter would be just as engaged and very easy to monetize due to their easily identifiable interests, any search intent that brought them, location and time awareness, plus potential bonus targeting due to prior cookies.
Users will be delighted by the ease of these live events on Twitter. Event tabs will require no effort whatsoever from us. Plus, we will all be watching the same stream together as we enjoy the same show or game or debate, etc. Those shared moments will be intimate and unforgettable. Soon, everyday people will find Twitter to be indispensable during live events.
The best part? Twitter already built a tool that makes a feed like this possible: Curator. Currently, Curator is aimed at traditional media broadcasters who want to cull the best Tweets from the firehose and make them visible to their viewers. Twitter itself would likely need a stronger tool to accomplish this at scale. But once again, it is encouraging to see Twitter building more in the direction of live events.
The other best part? Periscope. I talk more about it in a separate section below. But the only thing more live than Periscope is being there in person. That acquisition was genius and it reinforces that live events are Twitter's most obvious place to win.
All told, nailing live events will give new and existing users a compelling reason to regularly use Twitter and will be a strong impetus to bring back inactive users who signed up long ago.
In a research note discussing the post, SunTrust analyst Bob Peck, who rates Twitter neutral with a $44 price target, highlighted the importance Sacca importance placed on Periscope, the live-streaming app Twitter acquired earlier this year. "Noteworthy, Mr. Sacca thinks Periscope may be the best acquisition the company has ever made," Peck wrote in a note.
Aside from live events, which seem to be at the very forefront of Twitter's expertise, there are other important things Twitter can do to improve the ease of using the service and ultimately get more users and a higher share price.
There are other suggestions in Sacca's lengthy post like how to make tweeting effortless, product innovations -- a Save Button and Twitter Channels, which would let people view grouped content in a single stream -- multiple apps and much more.
Sacca highlighted the potential of a Save button, which would allow users to store and save things indefinitely.
Imagine if every single thing we saw on Twitter could be saved/stored indefinitely. Not just every article or link like with Pocket, but every Tweet, every photo, every video. We could keep every product we saw mentioned, every book that looked interesting, every destination we wanted to visit someday, every concert we wanted to go see, and every ad that piqued our curiosity. All of this could be saved to a Vault within Twitter with just one button in line with the RT and Fav buttons in each Tweet.
It's clear that Sacca, who is long Twitter, is unhappy with the ailing share price. The shares have declined 11% from their initial public offering price since Twitter went public in November 2013.
San Francisco-based Twitter recently experienced a data breach for its latest earnings report, which sent shares down 20% that day. Twitter missed analysts' earnings expectations. Numerous people on Wall Street have called for Dick Costolo to be replaced as Twitter CEO. The company has experienced a revolving door with some of its executives.
Twitter has long come under fire because it does not have the size and scale of Facebook (FB). Facebook has 1.4 billion monthly active users, vs. 302 million for Twitter. Twitter's domestic growth has slowed to a near crawl, with the company adding just 2 million monthly active users since the third quarter of 2014, and only 8 million since the first quarter of 2014. Internationally, the company has fared a bit better, adding 15 million users over the past three months and 47 million since the first quarter of 2014.
Now that Sacca has laid out his thoughts in a very lengthy post, it will be interesting to see how Twitter reacts (if at all), or if Sacca and investors like him continue to grow frustrated with the little blue bird.