If you’re wondering what Twitter’s long-term prospects are, you’re not alone — when British newspaper The Guardian asked chief executive Dick Costolo about the company’s long-term vision, he responded that he’s currently trying to come up with a good answer:
I am working on clarity around that at the moment. I am currently trying to define what Twitter’s purpose is in the long term. We will be able to be more specific on that answer in the near future.
It may seem a little strange for a company fielding multibillion-dollar acquisition offers to be figuring out basic questions, but Twitter seems to have made a virtue of essentially flying by the seat of its pants. Twitter is one of the classic examples of how a technology can seem head-scratchingly frivolous (hence the constant “why should I read about what someone’s having for breakfast?”-type questions) until people started using it in powerful and unforeseeable ways.
At the same time, the company’s co-founder and former CEO Ev Williams recently said Twitter is currently “in a transition.” When the service first took off, the team had to work so hard to build the infrastructure necessary to keep up with user growth that it didn’t have the time to improve the product or develop a real business model, Williams said. That changed this year, with the launch of advertising on Twitter, a revamp of the website, and, apparently, a discussion of where the company goes from here.
That transition is also reflected in a change at the top, with Costolo taking over as CEO last month. It’s interesting to see that Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey is quoted in the Guardian article while Williams is not. Williams pushed Dorsey out of the CEO role in 2008, and while Dorsey is supposedly still focused on his mobile payments startup Square, there are rumors that he’s getting more involved in Twitter too, at Costolo’s request.
[Image via The Guardian]