Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Industry Thoughts | Blackstone Joins the Social Media Fun

Before I begin this post, I'd like to take this moment to address those who were unhappy with my last post. 
My statement is: 

(This PSA brought to you by Bart Scott)

Now that that's out of the way, today's big private equity news (besides ex-Silver Lake advisor Ric Andersen joining lower middle-market PE firm Milestone Partners - congrats to both sides by the way) is that Blackstone became the second private equity firm to join Twitter. (The first one is The Riverside Company, with their account link being @TheRiversideCo. Their new twitter account, @blackstone, has only 1 tweet (a link to their Q4 earnings conference call), but the story has been making the publication waves nonetheless.

Financial journalist/awesome lady Heidi Moore wrote an article a while back on PEHub (can't find the URL at this point, will keep searching) about private equity and Twitter. One of her passages sums up why I think the site is helpful for the industry, especially mid-market and mega funds:

Twitter is an excellent way to stay on top of your industry, whatever your industry is. You don’t have to have a populist cause or a populist industry. There are gazillions of prolific venture capitalists using it. And if the derivatives powerhouse CME Group can be so successful on Twitter that it attracts 755,000 followers to its tweets, then there’s no excuse for private equity to hole up in the fetal position and whine about how hard it is to get people to understand what it does.

A few private equity executives are also quite busy on Twitter:

  • Lynn Tilton, the famous fearless leader of Patriarch Partners
  • John Nowaczyk, Principal at Milestone Partners
  • Rich Lawson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Huntsman Gay Global Capital (and the profiled tweeter in Heidi's article)
Congrats to Blackstone for joining the Twitter universe. It's great to see a large firm come in, and I hope to see a few other firms and execs join in, including:
  • Carlyle Group: From the 43 investments in 2010 to Rubenstein's thoughtful words, it would be great to see Carlyle (and Rubenstein) create accounts.
  • Providence Equity Partners: Jon Nelson is basically the reason why the Private Equity Council included the words "Growth Capital" into its name. His interview with Charlie Rose is all I need to say that he needs an account.
  • Castle Harlan: For those of you who don't know, John Castle, along with having an impressive work resume, has some fun personal adventures, from sailing to flying. I wouldn't mind seeing him share some fun stories on Twitter! (Oh, and it would be nice to see some of their consumer-centric companies like Perkin's & Marie Callender's share some information)
Twitter has become a great source for collecting information. A lot of private equity journalists and resources have been using the site, and it's made my research significantly easier. I've connected with private equity firms thanks to Twitter, so if I could make networking waves, I can see middle and large funds doing the same.

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