Earlier this month, Twitter announced a shake-up at the top. CEO and co-founder Evan Williams stepped down and was replaced by COO Richard Costolo.
Trouble in tweet-land? Hardly, says Eden Zoller, principal analyst for Ovum, which advises tech firms, telcoms and other business.
“When a CEO steps down it is typically because a company has taken a nosedive in performance and lost its strategic direction, but for Twitter and Evan Williams this is not the case,” said Zoller, whose company bases its Australian offices in Melbourne.
Zoller noted that giving the reins to Costolo, who joined Twitter a year ago after making his mark with Feedburner, shows Twitter is serious about developing revenue streams and becoming more than just a social-networking phenomenon. Twitter recently took a big step in that direction with its sponsored tweets, which position paid-for messages in the middle of account feeds.
But if Twitter intends to hit the jaw-dropping goal of 1 billion users stated recently by Williams and fellow founder Biz Stone (it currently has about 160 million), the company will need to extend its base in as-yet-untapped directions.
“The decision to hand over the CEO reins is a sign of just how determined Twitter is to push through its transformation from start-up to ‘grown-up’ business, underpinned by a sustainable business model,” Zoller said.
Meanwhile, Williams will focus on what he apparently does best — product development. In a recent interview with PCmag.com, Stone said Williams’ job change might hasten the birth of a feature that associates tweets with an event, using keyboards to lash the no-more-than-140-character messages to the event. The keywords might automatically associate to the event itself.
In time, an events feature might supersede the hashtag, which associates tweets by topic.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about forever,” Stone told PCmag.com, “and now that Ev’s back on products, I think that’s something that’s going to be coming up soon.”
Ovum’s Zoller is looking forward to seeing where all this goes.
“Providing the transition goes smoothly, this will be a positive re-organisation where Twitter’s senior management is pro-actively directing their skills to where they best serve the company,” Zoller said. “By doing so, they are putting the monetisation ambitions of Twitter, rather than their own egos, first and foremost.”
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