This Friday I went to the talk by the CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, who is a University of Michigan alumnus (BS ’85) . Throughout the talk Costolo talked about the origins of Twitter and its current effects on the news, broadcast media, etc. One of Costolo’s most interesting points was that Twitter is revolutionizing news by reporting the media from the inside out. For example, during the London Summer 2012 Olympics many of the participants were reporting the outcomes of the games on Twitter, so people following the athletics knew the outcome before NBC aired it later in the evening. The followers were hearing the news straight from the source instead of summarized by broadcasters later on.
While it may seem that this may cause for broadcasting views to greatly decline in many cases it has had the opposite effect, increase hype around certain events and then increasing the views. In order to help facilitate this, many TV shows are beginning to ingrate Twitter into their programs. We mostly recently saw this with the presidential election, where news casters reported on what was trending on twitter. While I was on Twitter election night I saw a very interesting tweet that said something to the effect of: 4 years ago we were tweeting about what was happening on TV, now the TV is talking about what is happening on Twitter. I think this nicely describes the change is reporting news with Twitter’s increase in popularity.
Going back to the Twitter talk, Costolo also mention that we reach about 1 billion tweets every 2.5 days. Twitter then obviously produces a lot of data–#bigdata–that is both data we want to keep and data that is relatively useless. Therefore it a balance to figure out what is worth preserving and what not. In addition, think about how much storage they must have, especially if they are keeping an archive of all Twitter accounts, which as of now they are doing. In fact, Costolo mentioned that by the end of the year users will be able to download their entire archive of sent tweets.
One final note to put into perspective how much data is on Twitter and how much influence/power Twitter can have. The sponsors of this lecture (Ford School and UM SI) advertised that people could join the conversation, ask questions, etc. by using the hash tag #twitteratumich. This generated a large amount of activity to the point that #twitteratumich became a trending topic on Twitter. Just goes to show we are the #leadersandbest.
To wrap this up, Costolo said Twitter’s vision is: “Twitter brings us closer.” Do you agree? If you missed the lecture is available online here.