Twitter CEO Dick Costolo spoke at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this morning.Costolo’s presentation covered everything from the real-world sociopolitical impact of Twitter to one user wishing another a happy birthday.
There were no financial specifics discussed, but Costolo disclosed that Twitter is, in fact, making money. (Is it turning a profit?)
The key takeaways seem to be that we can expect a universal experience soon, that Twitter will be more deeply engrained in whichever device you use to tweet, and that it’s not going away anytime soon – check out the statistics on the number of tweets per second following the Packers’s victory at the Superbowl.
Here’s our notes from the keynote:
11:00 – Waiting for the start. Talking heads currently commenting on what they’d like to see from Twitter.
11:12 – Still waiting for Costolo to come out. More speculation from the commentators. 20 seconds to go.
11:13 – Going live to the main room. Here we go…
11:15 – He says he’ll give a few comments but the focus will be on questions from the audience.
11:16 – Opening with a story that David Foster Wallace told during his commencement speech. “Twitter already works on almost every device you’re going to hear about this week [at the Mobile World Congress].”
11:17 – “Our goals this year are that Twitter will be instantly useful. We want you to get a meaningful timeline right away.”
11:18 – “We want the experience to be the same. I shouldn’t have to think about how to use Twitter.”
11:19 – “We want deep integrations into the platform. When you take a picture with a cameraphone, you shouldn’t have to switch applications to tweet that photo.”
11:20 – Discussing how Twitter was used after the earthquake in Haiti. “Why would a business invest so much in an area they won’t get any return from? We believe that when you provide value to your users, that value will be returned to you 20-fold.”
11:23 – “Some tweets are purely social and don’t have any extra meaning. This is where we’ve been criticised. What these criticisms miss is the distinctly personal connection of these tweets.”
11:24 – “40% of all tweets come from mobile devices. 50% of all Twitter users are involved with more than one platform.”
11:25 – “Twitter should be like water. It’s immediately available and instantly useful.”
11:26 – “Our users shouldn’t need to learn how to use Twitter again depending on which platform they use.”
11:27 – “With just a few social connections, a user is far more likely to become an engaged user. One of the things we have to do this year is shorten the distance between ‘awareness of Twitter’ and ‘engaged on Twitter.'”
11:30 – “Twitter is becoming a global phenomenon. We were growing in Korea before we translated the service into Korean. Today we’re announcing a crowdsourced translation service.” Russian and Portugese later this year.
11:31 – “Micro-blogging” isn’t an accurate term for Twitter. “It misses the impact of Twitter.”
11:32 – “What’s the impact on business? What’s the impact on why we’re all in this room? When the Packers won the Superbowl, Twitter registered 4,000 tweets per second.”
11:33 – “We’re sustaining periods of extreme tweeting.” Record was Japanese New Year – 6,000 tweets per second.
11:35 – A discussion of live-tweeting TV shows. Game shows in the UK actually have Twitter hosts. They ask questions of Twitter followers during the live broadcast.
11:36 – Studios are grateful – people are watching shows in real time again.
11:37 – Howard Stern started live-tweeting about his movie “Private Parts” when it was on in mid-afternoon. All these people started watching it without any participation from the networks.
11:38 – “We’re already making money with Twitter. Every company wants to connect with customers. All we’ve done is give them a way to do it.”
11:39 – “Every day I hear stories of people interacting with companies over Twitter. Frictionless transactions.” Story about someone tweeting to Virgin Airlines and receiving a new confirmation code and ticket.
11:41 – Changing gears to discuss Tunisia and Egypt. Twitter was blocked in Egypt for a while. Blocked for a long time in China.
11:42 – Google worked with Twitter to create a speak-to-tweet platform.
11:43 – “Lots of talk about the importance or lack of importance of Facebook and Twitter with regards to world events. All we’ve wanted to do is instantly connect people in a meaningful way.”
11:44 – Mention of Conan O’Brien using Twitter as a means of communicating with fans when he was legally barred from using almost every other medium.
11:48 – All right, they’ve returned us to the talking heads. Looks like we don’t get to hear the Q&A.