For Twitter’s chief executive and co-founder Evan Williams, the answer is clear: “I don’t anticipate it being for sale – ever. We are just getting started and have a lot more to achieve.”
For the first time since being created in 2006, Twitter has a plan for how it will make money. Last month, Twitter launched “promoted tweets”, where big brands (such as Sony, Starbucks, Virgin, Red Bull, etc) can appear at the top of relevant search results.
In an in-depth article in the Daily Telegraph, Twitter’s founders are open about Twitter’s future, its backers, and what they hope to achieve. Here are some of the more interesting sound-bites.
On Twitter’s growth:
“I am more excited about Twitter right now than I have been for a long time, as we have finally built up the resources and infrastructure to be able to execute on a bunch of ideas and business products we have had running around our minds for months. People forget that we needed time to grow internally. Because of the rate of our user growth, we get thrown in with the likes of Facebook and Google, when we are a much younger company and stuff takes a lot of time to build.”
On Twitter’s investors:
“There is no sense of urgency to make money. The thing that is of real urgency is to protect the long-term value of the platform and protect the user experience. This always takes precedence over everything we do and will guide our monetisation ideas, which we hope will enhance the user experience.”
On promoted tweets:
“Unlike Google, where the search results are split into adverts or results, promoted tweets are deeply embedded within the service and users can interact with them in the same way they can with other tweets – replying or retweeting. Brands’ creative teams can’t just put a typical advert out on Twitter as it won’t resonate with our users – they are forced into being creative and honest when communicating with their Twitter users.”
On what Twitter will look like in five years:
“I hope in five years’ time people think of Twitter not just as a triumph of technology but as a triumph of humanity, that we helped people with this new messaging tool we didn’t know we needed until it came along. [But] the real aspirational answer is: a very profitable company that is also having a very positive global impact.”
No pressure, then.