The World is Big Enough for Facebook and Twitter

Twitter CEO says “The World is Big Enough for Facebook and Twitter


As reported by Ben Parr on

The Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco has just started, but the conference has already brought some heavy hitters on stage, including Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Paypal CEO Scott Thompson.

Just moments ago, Twitter Co-Founder and CEO Evan Williams took the stage with Federated Media CEO John Batelle to discuss revenue models, Facebook, potential acquisitions, and Twitter’s (potentially stagnating) growth.

Here are some of the highlights:

On revenue models: They’ve done a lot of thinking about it, but they’re spending “approximately 97% of their efforts” on perfecting and growing the Twitter platform. Basically, he was coy about the company’s revenue strategy. John brought up the idea of “TweetSense” and “TweetWords” (a play on the popular Google AdSense and AdWords platforms), but Evan didn’t admit to anything.

However, he did say that they are optimistic on revenue, with so many brand advertisers and “theoretically monetizable information” available on the Twitter platform, the Twitter CEO isn’t worried about generating significant revenue in the near future.

On Twitter’s growth: Evan admitted that Twitter’s U.S. traffic has stalled the last few months, but that some new features (such as Twitter Lists) should help solve this problem. He also pointed to international and mobile growth.

On user retention: He stated that they have never been very good at finding that “killer application” for using Twitter for individuals, but that is now their focus. Twitter Lists is a big way to address this problem, Evan quickly added. They see it as a problem, but one that they can fix with some focus.

On potential acquisition: Twitter is going for a long-term strategy rather than a “grow and be acquired” strategy. Part of it is that Twitter has potential, and part of it is that Evan Williams doesn’t feel the same pressure other entrepreneurs have to sell, since he’s already cashed out once before with the sale of Blogger to Google. He doesn’t believe Twitter’s interests align with being part of a bigger company.

On Facebook: Evan discussed the increasing role of Facebook as a competitor to Twitter, but summed it up with this: “The world is big enough for Facebook and Twitter.”

On Google Wave: He thinks Google Wave is awesome. He doesn’t know what Google Wave will become, though.

On developers and revenue: Evan made it clear that developers can reliably invest in their platform. He believes developers are crucial to the Twitter experience.

On international growth: The top five countries in terms of users: U.S., UK, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia (surprising!).

On Twitter Lists and the suggested user list: “It’s time to retire the suggested user list.” He thinks they need to do something better and that it has indeed created a distortion in terms of influence.

What are your thoughts?

Do you believe there’s room for both Facebook and Twitter?

Image Credit: Joi via Flick

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4 Responses to “The World is Big Enough for Facebook and Twitter”

  • avatar P V Ariel says:

    Yes true, But what about the other giant called google?
    Very interesting piece. Thanks for sharing. Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’, Secunderabad India.

  • avatar Skeeter says:

    Hi P V Ariel,
    Thanks for the kind words about the valuable information. Technology, social media the speed at which we receive information is all changing faster everyday. As long as companies can change and adopt to the changes they will make it. I recall some pretty big companies that I thought would be around forever and don’t exist today. Google is a major player in many of these changes and looks like they will be around for a long time.

    Thanks for the comment,

  • avatar krissy knox says:

    I believe there is definitely enough room for both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is used more to keep up with family and friends, while Twitter is used more to exchange information with people with similar interests.

    Those on twitter — individuals, brands, businesses and others — disseminate information they feel others would like to hear. I feel this is quite a different function than Facebook serves. While Facebook is exploring this function of media to an extent, it serves and belongs to Twitter in a much greater way.

    And at the same time, those who want to learn many, many things and join and remain on Twitter, are also communicating with their family and friends on Twitter now.

    I use both Twitter and Facebook, but if I had to choose just one medium — for all purposes, including keeping up with family and friends — I’d choose Twitter — hands down!

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