Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sat down with Matt Lauer at the Today Show this week, and the morning news program hyped the interview by saying Costolo would reveal a secret about the micro-blogging service — something he’d never told anyone else.
But Costolo didn’t drop any major revelations on Lauer. Instead, he cracked wise and danced around questions (his big secret: “Sometimes I cry at night.”) Nevertheless, the interview gave us a strong impression of the 50-year-old CEO, whose deft handling of Twitter’s IPO suggests the company is helmed by a savvy man. Even though Costolo deflected Lauer’s attempts to reveal the inner workings of Twitter, his answers provide insight about the service.
The worst thing you can do on Twitter, according to Costolo: be inauthentic.
Lauer asked Costolo what the “cardinal sin” of tweeting would be. Turns out Costolo has a “no posers” philosophy: “You have to speak with an authentic tone of voice,” he said. “People can sense inauthenticity very, very quickly.”
Costolo doesn’t mind being the old dude in the room.
Quickly pointing out how old Costolo is compared to everyone else working at Twitter (which seemed like kind of an irrelevant line of questioning, but whatever) Lauer asked whether Costolo was OK with working amongst the youth. Unsurprisingly, the CEO of a social Web company values working with younger people. “To work with people who see what’s coming next because they use it everyday, they’ve been part of it since day one — it’s invigorating.”
Costolo wants everyone to be play nice on Twitter.
Twitter is great for many things, but one of them is watching digital spats unfold in real time (see: Marc Maron and Michael Ian Black, Chris Brown and everyone). But if Costolo had his way, everyone would be fave-ing each others’ tweets and smiling at their computer screen and all RTs would be endorsements.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Melissa McCarthy are his “white whale” Twitter users.
None of these high-profile comedians use the service. Costolo would like to change that. I agree with Costolo. Come to the tweeting light, funny ladies! Costolo should use Parks and Recreation writer Megan Amran, whose tweets helped land her the job, to help convince Poehler to hop on the service.
Costolo wants to make it easier to start using Twitter.
If you’re used to using Twitter, the unspoken rules are almost like second nature. You know how to RT, how to respond to someone. You know what a subtweet is. But Costolo noted that many people are turned off by what he calls the “scaffolding” of the site. Perhaps an even-cleaner design is on the horizon?