Media

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone to advise AOL

Internet behemoth AOL announced today that it has hired Biz Stone, cofounder of white-hot microblogging service Twitter, as a “social impact advisor.”

The move, which comes a week after AOL closed its deal to acquire popular blog and news aggregator The Huffington Post for $315 million, is just one of many AOL has made to revamp its image.

Stone (pictured) is currently creative director at Twitter, where he oversees new product development, vets and proposes fresh ideas for the five-year-old start-up, and just generally functions as “the voice of the company and brand.”

He wrote today in a blog post that he would not allow his new appointment at AOL to interfere with his duties at Twitter but did not respond to requests for comment on how he plans to juggle the two. (It must surely help that Stone’s responsibilities are so loosely defined.)

MediaMemo reported Stone would receive equity in AOL as part of his new hire, but Twitter representatives did not confirm that.

Stone also currently advises Japanese business contexts company Digital Garage and DonorsChoose, an education nonprofit.

Stone formerly worked with the Blogger team, at Google, and before that helped launch social blogging network Xanga.

Asking Stone for help in integrating its new property seems like a smart move for AOL, which has struggled to stay hip and relevant in a field crowded with rapid-fire startups and increasingly innovative ideas.

The company made 11 new editorial hires Monday. Those included promoting Howard Fineman, an analyst for NBC and MSNBC, from political editor to editorial director of the group; and adding John Montorio, a former editor at the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, as its new culture and entertainment editor.

Arianna Huffington, cofounder of the Huffington Post, has taken charge of what is now called AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group as president and editor-in-chief.

The new additions come scant days after AOL said it would cut 20 percent of its staff, or around 950 jobs, in a bid to slim down its business and get back into the social media game.

Said Stone about his new role in a blog post today:

[AOL] is a company undergoing a rebirth and it has an amazing opportunity to align itself with meaning. The concept of doing good is not proprietary. To the extent that I am able, I’d like to help more companies follow this template toward a higher definition of success and more meaningful corporate metrics. When Arianna and Tim first spoke to me about advising in this capacity, I got a strong sense that they were serious about cause based initiatives.

My role at Twitter has not changed. I’m keeping my day job in addition to accepting a role as Social Impact Advisor at [AOL]. There are a handful of organizations I’ve agreed to advise. Last year, two startups I advised were acquired, leaving room to consider helping others. When I take on any advisory role, I’m considerate of time and expectations. My new partnership with [AOL] promises to be very meaningful and I’m excited about its potential.


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