Twitter finally has decided to go public, but it's taking a route that will keep most of the details about its business private for a while longer.
The company aptly used its own news-making short messaging service Thursday afternoon to announce that it has filed documents for an initial public offering of stock.
But the information filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is sealed because Twitter is taking advantage of federal legislation passed last year that allows companies with less than $1 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year to avoid submitting public IPO documents.
The secrecy will likely help Twitter minimize the public hoopla and intense scrutiny that surrounded the initial public offerings of other high-profile social networking companies, including Facebook Inc., which went public in May 2012.
The 7-year-old company posted on its official Twitter account that it has "confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO." A subsequent tweet said simply: "Now, back to work." It's accompanied by a blurry photo people working in the company's San Francisco headquarters.
Under the law, Twitter's financial statements and other sensitive information contained in the IPO filing must become publicly available at least 21 days before company's executives begin traveling around the country to meet with potential investors — a process known as a "road show."
Those presentations will be orchestrated by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, a former stand-up comedian who will now get an opportunity to take his act to Wall Street.
Twitter's IPO has been long expected. The company has been ramping up its advertising products and working to boost ad revenue in preparation. But it is still tiny compared with Facebook, which saw its hotly anticipated IPO implode last year amid worries about its ability to grow mobile ad revenue.