Posts Tagged ‘Dick Costolo’


Dick Costolo and Twitter’s future for journalists

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo resigned Thursday as pressure to increase user growth continued. (Photo: Flickr user Joi under CC)

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo resigned Thursday as pressure to increase user growth continued. (Photo: Flickr user Joi under CC)

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.

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.

Twitter’s investor concerns are journalists’ concerns

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has said user growth is a priority as the social network tries to reassure investors. (Photo: Flickr user Joi under CC)

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has said user growth is a priority as the social network tries to reassure concerned investors. (Photo: Flickr user Joi under CC)

As mentioned in Sunday’s blog post, Twitter reported its fourth quarter earnings last week. The social network had 288 million monthly active users according to its earnings release, with 80 percent of the active users using mobile apps.

One of the primary issues that investors raised with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and his managerial colleagues was that of user growth. Prior to the release of the earnings information, it was announced Twitter would enter a partnership with Google, to allow tweets to appear real time in searches.

Indeed, as the New York Times reported last week, Twitter executives are keen to emphasize that the reach of the social network extends beyond the usage of the network itself, be it on desktop or mobile, noting the appearance of embedded tweets, something frequently used on a number of news sites.

There are similarities with this strategy with the Google deal, however it is unclear when the Google-Twitter partnership would begin. Costolo, as reported by the Times, said it may not occur for at least a few months.

But as the concerns continue surrounding user growth, what does this say for Twitter’s long standing relationship with journalists and newsrooms? Could social strategies be thrown into question? Or, as Twitter executives attempt to prove the reach of the social network beyond its own services, could news organizations perhaps be part of the solution?

Twitter provides a distinct advantage for news organizations because it works in the nature of what is happening at the moment. It allows for an expansion of the relationship between audiences and news organizations. While it is unclear as to how the social network’s strategy will play with users, Twitter will need to be cautious on how they approach such a strategy in getting users.

Some features may work, others may not. Some may draw users in, others may run and never come back. That could include newsrooms, as they would reconsider what their best plans would be when it comes to social. The simpler the platform, the better the ability for quality interaction, whether it comes to UGC for a story or the ability to engage with the audience, no matter the beat.

Dick Costolo has a lot to consider as the weeks and months go ahead, and the decisions he makes on Twitter’s future is riding on not just whether he can restore the trust of investors, but users, and ultimately, journalists.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is chairman and blogger at large of SPJ Digital, and community coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also serves as Deputy Editor, Media Editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s, 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.

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