The main reason I turned from bear to bull on Twitter (TWTR) a few months after its IPO was because the company has revolutionized the news industry. Every news outlet on the planet tries to drive traffic from Twitter and tries to get as many Twitter followers as possible. Such an active news aggregation concept has never existed and it's, well, revolutionary.
Moreover, while the 140-character limit for tweets is annoying to both publishers and their followers on Twitter, the fact that the company has stuck to that limit has enabled it to create an entire industry of Big Data Analytics to parse what's being said in those 140 characters.
Trying to figure out what a 600-word Facebook (FB) status update actually says is often hard enough for a human, and even as we advance computing to these IBM-Watson levels, trying to get the Big Data out of those Facebook status updates is going to be tough.
But the 140-character limit on Twitter has enabled business and trading models that simply try to gauge what's being said in all those posts. Hedge fund managers use Big Data from Twitter to trade their next stock. Retail companies use Big Data from Twitter to find out what people are saying about their brand and why.
Looking forward five or 10 years, as long as Twitter's still got a few hundred million people (say, 10% of the 7 billion to 9 billion people who will be populating this planet), Twitter's Big Data and analytics businesses are going to be generating tens of billions of dollars.
Back in 2009 on my Fox Business TV show, I used to predict that Twitter would someday be worth at least $100 billion. I heard a guy on CNBC repeat that idea last week. He probably used to watch me on Happy Hour. I still think Twitter's core business is likely to hit that $100 billion value in the next five to 10 years.
But the main reason to own Twitter right now is simply ... Periscope.
Periscope is a huge deal. So much so that I probably would have sold my Twitter stock upon the company firing CEO Dick Costolo a couple of weeks ago.
Think of Periscope as taking the user-generated video business that YouTube created to the next level. The easiest way to explain Periscope is to picture using FaceTime video calling -- and realizing that you don't have to call anyone on Periscope. People can just click to follow your live stream. Real-time video streaming, not having to edit and upload your videos to a server somewhere is a game changer.
All those people taking selfies to post on Twitter and Facebook -- they're going to be streaming their Point-of-View cameras to their Periscope followers. Kim Kardashian and other celebrities will be streaming their "behind the scenes" lives on Periscope. Sports stars will stream their games from tiny imbedded GoPro-like cameras.
Periscope is the closest thing to being there live that has ever been created.
Speaking of GoPro (GPRO), this Periscope concept is exactly what the company was supposed to create/acquire when it said GoPro's strategy was "shifting to media." GoPro needs a Periscope knockoff that adds new features and even stores the video streams on a centralized database like YouTube does (and which Periscope doesn't do yet). We recently rolled out a beta version of Periscope for finance people called Scutify Live. Others will be doing similar things for other niches, but Periscope has the potential to be the de-facto standard of video streaming -- and that is going to be worth tens of billions of dollars, too.
Periscope is probably worth at least several billion dollars already, as millions of people are joining and finding it easy to use and addictive. SnapChat's worth about as much in the private market as Twitter is in the public market right now. I think Periscope is probably worth nearly as much as SnapChat -- already.
I hate owning a stock that's leaderless like Twitter is right now. But the sheer value of the company's news revolutions, Big Data revolutions, and Periscope live streaming revolutions has me sticking by the stock.