Yesterday, it was announced that Dick Costolo would step down as chief executive of Twitter, and be replaced on July 1st by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of the site and himself a former chief executive. The move comes amid increasing pressure on the social network to grow the number of active users (according to a report from The New York Times, the social network currently has 302 million users.)
Twitter, in its form of live streaming the events of the world, has become an essential tool for journalists, and the resignation of Costolo may indicate changes as to what Twitter will become moving forward. Indeed, with the questions surrounding user growth, what may happen as Dorsey takes over and as new features are discussed and implemented may have a significant effect on the relationship with Twitter and news organizations.
— dick costolo (@dickc) June 11, 2015
While it is difficult to predict what is ahead, this is an important time for journalists to pay attention to Twitter’s outlook, particularly as it comes towards their own social strategy.
As Dorsey and his colleagues consider the moves however, there is one thing they should bear in mind, the simpler the social network, the better. If you try to make things complex, users will be hesitant to try it, or indeed recommend it to their friends or colleagues.
The same rule goes for journalists, who recently were considered to be the most active, verified community on the social network. If Dorsey allows Twitter to remain simple, and integrate in features that would not have a significant impact on the interface that many users see, it can help journalists do better work on the platform. That might include an editing tool, which Sara Catania of NBC 4 Southern California told me when I wrote about it last year, was something long overdue for Twitter.
The question of user growth will be one that will continue to be one that presents itself as Dorsey takes over as chief executive. But as he decides to figure out Twitter’s next chapter as a social network, he must consider his users, especially the many journalists that use the social network, for one move may change everything, either for better or for worse.
Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also contributes to The News Hub web site. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.
The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.