How Does Twitter See Itself and What Are Its Plans and Priorities?

By: Corrie Davidson, 11 Jan 2011
Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, at CES 2011

Several days ago, Peter Kafka over at All Things Digital, covered an onstage-interview at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) by Kara Swisher of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. Its a great read to get a look at where Twitter sees itself going and what it’s priorities are. Plus Dick is a pretty funny character. Below are some highlights that I found noteworthy, but I suggest reading the original article for a better picture and for Peter’s great coverage…

Twitter and TV

“More and more, [viewers] have a device in their hand when they’re watching TV. Like on “Glee.” The characters tweet while the show is on. When “Glee” starts, tweets per second for “Glee” shoot up, and stay up 100 times that level until the show ends, and then they drop. That has interesting implications. Like, it takes the DVR out of the mix, because you have to watch in real time to make it worthwhile.”

“I was having a conversation with Conan O’Brien, as one does, and he was talking about the importance of Twitter to him, and how the 140 character limit is the right length for a joke. It’s definitely the case that network TV people like Twitter, because it gives them feedback, like they’re in the theater, watching how the shows play out.”

Celebrities on Twitter

“A third of all the players in the NFL playoffs are using Twitter actively. And many players have more followers than their teams.”

“The interesting thing about the top 200 to 300 tweeters–a lot of them are musicians, actors, etc. LeBron James, etc. I think Lady Gaga is number one. But! They’re not all celebrities. There’s CNN Breaking News. And the New York Times. And other brands like Gary Vaynerchuk, who aren’t really that known outside that world.”

Twitter on Mobile Devices

“Mobile is a more and more and more common use of Twitter–40 percent of all tweets created on mobile devices. That might seem low, but it was 25 percent a year ago. 50 percent of active users are also active on mobile.”

“The important thing for us is consistency across device to device to device.”

Twitter Fixes and Problems

“…We raised a bunch of money. We’re hiring “tons of engineers and operations engineers” in the last year. We hired 100 people in Q4, out of about 350 total. And we’re working very hard on erasing our ‘technical debt’. [read: mistakes and failures]  We’ve got a guy assigned to this pretty much exclusively. And there used to be a tolerance for this, and now there isn’t. If someone fires a pistol next to your ear every hour, after a while you stop flinching when you hear it. It’s crucial that we do this, both for our users and our engineers, who shouldn’t have to get up at 3 am all the time.”

Twitter’s Future Plans

“We want to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them. See, that’s a good statement. We’re not just a social network that’s connecting people. It’s connecting for a purpose. So some people meet girlfriends on Twitter. And other people get tickets to shows they like on Twitter. Etc. And you don’t have to tweet to get a lot of value out of it…. we have to make that easier to do. We’re going to spend a lot of time making that consumption experience much better.”

Twitter’s Business Model

“We’re a technology company that’s in the media business. Our business model is an advertising model, so we’re selling ads, and we’re letting people promote their accounts, etc. And we really don’t have to do anything else. Our engagement rates on these ads are ridiculously high. When we saw our stats this last spring when we launched, the numbers were so big we thought we were measuring it incorrectly… We want to be a standalone company. It’s my sincere hope. We’ve accomplished 1 percent of what we want to do.”

Related Content:

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.