Twitter Can Be a Better News Tool, Co-Founder Evan Williams Says
Twitter has the potential to vastly improve as a tool for real-time news and information, according to co-founder and current board member Evan Williams.
Williams said news has been a core mission for the messaging platform for several years, but that it can do better in helping people find relevant stories.
“It’s guaranteed (Twitter has) all the information you are looking for,” Williams told the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference on Tuesday in Aspen, Colorado.
“What we are building in Twitter is better ways to organize that information.”
Williams, who briefly served as Twitter’s chief executive, said Twitter itself and third-party applications are likely to help improve the service for news.
“That can be way better, and that speaks to the potential yet to be realized,” he said.
“The infrastructure and the data are available,” he said, acknowledging that it is not always easy to find news on Twitter.
Williams said Twitter is also improving as a platform for developers to offer these kinds of services and others.
“Twitter should be more of a platform than it is,” he said. “There are a lot of great things that can be built on Twitter… There’s a myriad of uses and they add value in lots of ways.”
Williams said a strategic direction will be defined when a new CEO is named followingDick Costolo’s decision to step down.
“We’re looking for an exceptional leader, who knows how to define a direction and a vision and to make things happen,” he said.
He offered no hints on the search process, which is believed to have ruled out Jack Dorsey, another co-founder who is interim CEO as well as head of the payments firm Square.
Twitter’s model ‘solid’
He said Twitter’s business is “pretty solid” but added that “there’s so much potential with the product, and there are new products that we can develop.”
Williams was invited to Aspen as the CEO of Medium, a blogging platform he launched after stepping away from Twitter.
Medium, he said, can help “harness the collective intelligence of the Internet” and allow people to see news and events from “multiple points of view.”
He said he sees Medium as a collaborative tool that can bring together journalists, experts and the general public to inform people better from different points of view.
Williams said he launched Medium because he felt “there was so much left to do to help people share important ideas on the Internet.”
“I saw the opportunity and the need to work on the next level,” he said
He added that Medium “can be a huge business on its own” and can make money through advertising and sponsored content as it reaches more people.