Twitter CEO: 'Too much' effort convincing new users to stay

Twitter CEO: 'Too much' effort convincing new users to stay

Summary: Dick Costolo says the company is finding it a challenge to convince newcomers the microblogging service can be an "indispensable" tool, but holds out hopes of getting a billion users on board eventually.

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Twitter is unconcerned if the company has as many users as YouTube or Facebook, but CEO Dick Costolo reveals that "too much" effort and investments are needed currently to turn newcomers to core users .

In an interview published by Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Tuesday, Costolo said in terms of user growth, he does not think about Twitter's goals in terms of other companies such as Facebook or YouTube.

"Where we want to get to is human scale, global scale. That's a billion users, not where we are today," he said.

However, the investment needed to convert a newcomer to the microblogging service to a "core user" is too much right now, he said. "Once you become a core user, [Twitter] is indispensable. But you have to invest, frankly, too much to get that 'aha' moment."

To address this challenge, the company is spending a "great deal of time" on its weekly digest e-mails for casual users, the report noted. He said this is a way for people to start realizing the usefulness of the service and start using it more frequently.

Censorship and China
Costolo also said the company would "love" for the people in places such as China and Iran to be able to access Twitter. But it was not going to make the kinds of sacrifice it might have to make to be available in these markets, he added.

The CEO did concede that as it grows internationally, the company will see increased scrutiny of its service.

For instance, in Germany, the law forbids the promoting of Nazi speech and when someone clicks on a tweet it had taken down via a legal request, the person will get a message saying the tweet is not visible because of the request. But the message will be available to users outside of Germany though, he told WSJ.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Censorship, Legal, China

Kevin Kwang

About Kevin Kwang

A Singapore-based freelance IT writer, Kevin made the move from custom publishing focusing on travel and lifestyle to the ever-changing, jargon-filled world of IT and biz tech reporting, and considered this somewhat a leap of faith. Since then, he has covered a myriad of beats including security, mobile communications, and cloud computing.

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5 comments
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  • Nah they are driving them away

    My first trip to the twitterverse was during the election and responses were flying everywhere as were new posts... I am not going to lie, I liked it a lot until they informed me that replying was to be used sparingly in the form of a suspended account. Well, needless to say, I was done with social network that day and I am convinced it is destined to die.
    slickjim
    • The Twitterverse after the departure of @slickjim

      "I was done with social network that day and I am convinced it is destined to die." I'm sure Twitter will get along just fine without you.
      capeleopard
      • Nah they are driving them away

        My first trip to the twitterverse was during the election and responses were flying everywhere as were new posts... I am not going to lie, I liked it a lot until they informed me that replying was to be used sparingly in the form of a suspended account. Well, needless to say, I was done with social network that day and I am convinced it is destined to die.

        Did you miss the point of the article? It is about an unsustainable situation at Twitter. If you fail to grow, eventually your network will cease to exist and twitter is on that ledge.
        slickjim
  • How I use it

    I am 45 and I am not interested in tweeting to my friends everytime that I move my bowels or wake up from a nap. When I signed up for Twitter I only subscribed to news/tech related tweets in order to be informed about cool articles ....

    What I found was that I don't like this as much as pulse. In pulse you see a synopsis of an article or sometimes the whole article if it is small enough. Most people don't use twitter the way that I have described, but this is all that i am interested in using it for. I don't like the cross talk involved where people that I didn't subscribe to show up in my feed because of a hashtag or a reply to a tweet. I don't know how it is possible for something that is so small and brief seems messy and awkward. They could improve on this interface be allowing us to close tweets as we read them, hide the hashtags and minimize the abbreviations.
    Panwo1@...
  • Have yet to find a use for Twitter

    Created an account "tweeted" once or twice..meh! not very useful.
    ammohunt