Twitter's challenge: Personalization, co-founder says

Making bucks and keeping tweeters happy aren't mutually exclusive, Williams claims.

Making Twitter meaningful on a personal level to its users is the biggest challenge facing the microblogging service in the future, according to former CEO and co-founder Evan Williams. "With 100 million tweets flowing through the system on a daily basis, there's something for everyone, but the real challenge is finding the most valuable stuff for you," he said in an interview that aired today on National Public Radio's On The Media program.

"That may be an alert from a business about something you want to buy, it may be something from a friend, it may be something in the news, and finding that and doing that in real time is incredibly hard, but that is where the real value is going to come from," he observed.

"We really want to make Twitter the source of information that you check several times a day on your mobile phone," he continued. "I think right now Twitter does that in the best cases, but we have a long way to go to make that really valuable."

Asked about Twitter's recent chasing of revenue streams damaging the appeal of the service to its membership, Williams expressed confidence that making bucks and keeping tweeters happy aren't mutually exclusive. Current limitations on promoted tweets to one per search is one way to preserve the service's organic charm, he noted. Continuous analysis of a promoted tweet's engagement is another way to do that. "If people aren't either replying or retweeting or clicking on a link, we take that as a signal that it's not very interesting and then we'll stop showing it."

Garnering revenues through advertising means Twitter must compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. Nevertheless, Williams feels the service has a value proposition that's as attractive to marketers as its competitors. "The nature of Twitter as an information network is extremely valuable for anyone who wants to get a message heard by lots of people," he explained. "Obviously, that's what advertisers pay for."

Better yet, advertisers may be able to get better results with Twitter than other online vehicles. Williams cited a recent "promoted tweet" by the Washington Post aimed at attracting traffic to its election coverage. "That got about a nine percent engagement rate for people who saw it, which, to us, that's orders of magnitude higher than most advertising on the web," he said. It's an order of magnitude for most Internet marketers, too, who see the average click-through rate for an online display ad to be less than one percent.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicestwittersocial networkssocial mediainternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?