Twitter Transparency Born at Chirp with 100M+ Users, @anywhere

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-04-15

Twitter Transparency Born at Chirp with 100M+ Users, @anywhere

News Analysis: Twitter's Chirp conference was only the first but it was a seminal event for a company that has traditionally shied away from sharing statistics.

Those following the April 14 event learned that Twitter now has almost 106 million users, whose 55 million tweets per day harking back to March 2006 will now be archived by the Library of Congress for posterity after six months.

Established in 1800,  the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and receives copies of every book, pamphlet, map, print and music piece registered in the United States. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said this is a sign the billions of tweets that funnel through Twitter "are important and worthy of preservation."

The Library of Congress is simply doing its job of logging digital content, adding to the more than 167 terabytes of legal blogs and governmental Websites. That is more data than the  text of the 21 million books in the library's entire collection. Twitter, far often a not-so-serious service, is being taken seriously as a research tool.

Twitter also formally launched its @anywhere service, the microblog's take on Facebook Connect. Previewed at SXSW in March, @anywhere offers APIs and tools to let partner Websites integrate Twitter functionality into their Website, ideally to spark greater user engagement and lure new users.

Partners such as Amazon will let customers follow suggested Twitter accounts while shopping. Citysearch uses @anywhere to let users get info about retailers and engage with them. Media sites such as the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post and The Guardian are using Twitter as a media tool to better reach readers. Google created Follow Finder, a Twitter user locator, using @anywhere.

Twitter executives such as COO Dick Costolo and co-founder Evan Williams discussed revenue models for its Promoted Tweets ad platform. This was key for the bulk of people who flocked to Chirp to learn how the company intended to make money and where they fit into that picture.

With Promoted Tweets, the ad-within-tweet campaign, Twitter is starting on a CPM basis but will eventually evolve other pricing models. Starbucks, Best Buy and others can place promotional tweets that will surface on Twitter search results pages, and for those who natively follow those brands.

With 300,000 users joining every day to tack on to the almost 105.8 million user number, Twitter is becoming an amazingly fertile ground for digital advertising. Now that Promoted Tweets is in place, Twitter can make coin beyond its indexing partnerships with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

There was also a lot of geeky API developer talk about releasing APIs for Places, Annotations and Users Streams, which is probably good because this was, after all, a developer conference.

Chirp Was for Developers, Too

To that end, Twitter executives can declare a small victory. No programmers threw rotten tomatoes at Twitter co-founders in the wake of a hullabaloo over whether or not Twitter was giving third-party developers a raw deal by purchasing their rivals and threatening their viability.

eWEEK asked Forrester Research analyst Augie Ray, who attended Chirp April 14, for his take on the day's festivities.

Ray welcomed Twitter's transparency and believed Twitter executives went a long way to mollifying many of the fears developers had after acquiring Atebits and making Tweetie the Twitter for iPhone application and releasing the BlackBerry for Twitter application.

"Twitter didn't answer every question nor provide a firm road map, but they did make it clear how much they value their developer ecosystem and several third-party apps during presentations from the stage," Ray said.

"Toward the end, [co-founder Evan Williams] Ev asked for a show of hands from developers as to how many were more or less excited to be developing upon Twitter after the news of the past week including the information conveyed at Chirp, and there were many more hands up for the positive."

Ray said he had hoped to learn more about Twitter's plans to make money beyond Promoted Tweets, including the long-awaited subscription business services. Costolo said such commercial accounts are Twitter's second pillar for revenue.

See video clips of the Chirp presentations at here. Also read the many coverage points on TechMeme here, with those that stand out listed below:

VentureBeat: How Twitter's Newfangled Revenue Model Will Work: The details.

ReadWriteWeb: Twitter's Entire Archive Headed to the Library of Congress: Why this is a big deal.

ReadWriteWeb: Just the Facts: Statistics from Twitter Chirp: 600 million search queries per day! 75 percent of Twitter traffic comes from third-party applications!

Search Engine Land: Twitter Does 19 Billion Searches Per Month, Beating Yahoo & Bing (Sort Of): People are searching a lot on Twitter.

New York Times: Twitter Makes Itself More Useful: People can now search for a location, the conference hall or a hotel where there is a fire and see all the posts written from that spot.


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