Twitter IPO: "Hatching Twitter" author shares his advice to potential investors

(CBS News) Twitter launches its long-awaited initial public offering on Thursday. Investors were watching closely Wednesday as the social media giant sets its price.

New York Times technology reporter Nick Bilton, author of "Hatching Twitter," said some investors are holding back in the wake of fellow social media heavyweight Facebook's disastrous IPO in May 2012.

Twitter's IPO is hot and not, and that's a problem

"Facebook was supposed to be valued at $50 million, and they went out at under $100 million, and, of course, the stock fell, and I think people are nervous about that," Bilton said. "A lot of investors are pretty gung-ho about Twitter because it's priced pretty low and the numbers look really great."

Twitter, Bilton said, makes $600 million a year in revenue, and next year it will be more than $1 billion.

"What Twitter's big problem is is growth," Bilton said. "Right now they have 225 million users, and in comparison Facebook has 1.2 billion. That's going to be the big challenge that they face in the future."

As Bilton wrote in "Hatching Twitter," the big story at the company is the drama behind the numbers and the tech. "Twitter has been a tumultuous place from the beginning," Bilton said. "It was chaos from day one, but the chaos is what made Twitter what it is today, and I think that now it's definitely calmed down. Dick Costolo, who's the CEO, he's doing an amazing job, but it's not over yet.

"That's why I've been urging people to, if you're going to invest in this company, look at the history of this company," Bilton said. "Because it really tells about what the future might be."

That history is about a company that changed the world, Bilton said. However, he added, it was a story that was so much more than that. "It was a story about these four guys that were friends that built this service with the hopes of actually connecting their friendships, and in the process, ended up tearing their friendships apart."

For more on Twitter - including Bilton's take on who will become more powerful, Facebook or Twitter - watch the full interview above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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