Shannon Whitson, whitsosk@muohio.edu

While Facebook and Google+ have seemed to sell out in the name of more users, more marketing and more cash, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo continues to make Twitter an independent and user-concentrated social media network as opposed to a social network funded and dictated by Wall Street. In the long run, Costolo thinks Twitter will profit more by putting the interests and values of its users before that of the company. Nevertheless, how is Twitter actually being centered on users? And, how do Twitter’s practices and procedures differ from those of other social media networks? 

Costolo advocates that because Twitter allows users to go by fake names, such as “Bozo123,” it sets itself apart from Facebook and Google+ because of the more subtle and user-friendly way in which it markets to those on Twitter. Additionally, Twitter’s marketing and advertising is not based on targeting specific users or audiences for specific products, but rather for determining which “sponsored Tweets” will appear in which users’ streams. This is determined by “who they (the user) follow and who the people they follow follow.”

“Other services may be declaring that you have to use you real name because they think they will be able to monetize that better and they think they will be able to get more information about you,” Costolo said in a recent www.wired.com article. “We are more interested in serving our users first, and we think that by serving our users first, we will have a better platform for marketers and advertisers,” he said. However, is Costolo standing in the way of Twitter reaching its true potential — a potential and future that might look even bigger and better than that of Facebook? How does Costolo plan to complete with Google’s new social network Google+ in order to keep people Tweeting?

Because I am the type of person who would consider herself to be a bit of a non-conformist, when I read this article I was a bit shocked and proud. I could not believe that a company such as Twitter, which is so widely known and branded could/would be so bold in regards to marketing, advertising and its users. It is no secret social networking sites make their money off marketing and advertising. And, with the launch of Google’s new social networking site Google+, I had predicted that Twitter and Facebook would be running scared. While one can simply get on Facebook and see all the pointless layout changes, website modifications and know that Facebook is mildly in trouble; Twitter seems to be holding its own. By marketing in such an ideal, but effective way users will see Twitter for what it truly is … an intelligently run, entertaining and informative social media site where users can connect and communicate with friends and strangers all over the world. 

Though there is always room for improvement in regards to site mechanics, Twitter’s greatest asset is that it is so different from any other social networking site and Costolo strives to maintain the uniqueness that people love about Twitter. Costolo states that when comparing the launch of Google+ with Google’s affect on Twitter in the next couple months, he knows that the new social network will be a hit due to the company’s bundling of Google+.  Costolo’s outlook on this new competitor seems to be very innovative. While Facebook and Google+ are trying to add services, Twitter will “simplify ours down.”

As Twitter begins to implement this strategy, users try to anticipate and fathom the impact this could have not only on them as Tweeters, but also as Facebook users, and much more. It is nearly impossible to predict the impact that will be made by these Twitter enhancements, but one thing is for sure; Twitter will only continue to grow despite what companies like Facebook and Google continue to do. As for Wall Street, Twitter executives plan to become a technology giant on their own terms. I confidently believe that this will happen. 

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