Moderated by Businessweek’s Brad Stone, Twitter revealed their growing adoption, with over 1.8 million users joining a week, more than the population of Stone’s home state of Nebraska. The company is confident it will reach 1 billion users, though neither Stone nor Williams would put a date on achieving that goal.
The two founders also discussed the new Twitter redesign and are pleasantly surprised that there’s been no major backlash against such a significant change to the site’s user experience. The new design was supposed to both keep the simplicity of the original site, while providing more fully featured content that users link to, Stone said. They seem to have succeeded in many regards with keeping that balance.
The founders admit that Twitter is finding its balance between editorial and advertising. As the site becomes more commercialized, they are still dedicated to making promotions specially labeled. Even that doesn’t seem to detract followers of promoted brands, such as Starbucks, which has over 1 million followers, thanks in large part to advertising on Twitter.
The founders also addressed the recent controversy around Malcolm Gladwell’s essay in The New Yorker, which downplayed the relevance of social media, and Twitter, in helping revolutionary change. The two founders believe strongly that Twitter can be complimentary to revolutionary action.
“It’s always been our goal to reach the ‘weakest signals’ all over the world, such as the recent usage in Iran and Moldova,” said Williams.
Williams went on to say, “It was a very well-constructed argument but it was kind of laughable.”
“Anyone who’s claiming that sending a tweet by itself is activism, that’s ludicrous — but no one’s claiming that, at least no one that’s credible. If you can’t organise you can’t activate. I thought [the article] was entertaining but kind of pointless.”