Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced his resignation on June 11 in light of poor performance and revenue loss for the social media platform. The move—effective July 1—comes after months of calls across the Wall Street echo chamber, where his departure was seen as inevitable among market analysts. This academic sample essay was written by one of our expert paper writers.
Dick Costolo resigns from Twitter
In his official statement on the matter, Costolo claimed that he was
“tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together,” throughout his six-year stint with the company (King and O’Brien).
Since he’s stepping down at his own accord and forfeiting his unused stock in the process, he won’t be entitled to a severance package.
Nonetheless, he plans to remain on Twitter’s board of directors, of which chairman Jack Dorsey has now been named as the company’s interim chief. Following Costolo’s announcement, the online giant’s stock jumped 8% to $39.29 in after-hours trading (Menton).
Uncertainty over Costolo’s replacement
Dorsey’s appointment has met with criticism among certain individuals with a stake in the matter, including early Twitter funder Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who says that the next CEO “has to have tech savviness, an investor-oriented process and a marketing mentality;” qualities that the Saudi mogul feels that Dorsey—who also serves as CEO of merchant processor Square—lacks. Costolo, however, voiced approval of the appointment.
From humble beginnings: The rise of Twitter
Rising to prominence near the tail end of the last decade, Twitter emerged as one of several platforms—along with YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr—that transformed the way in which various forms of digital media—in this case messages—are posted and distributed across the Internet.
Twitter was borne from a mid-noughties brainstorming session between then-NYU undergrad Dorsey and Odeo architect Noah Glass. Originally given the code name “twttr,” the name was expanded upon the partnership’s purchase of the pre-existing twitter.com domain, which occurred six months after work commenced on the project. Initially envisioned as a message-sharing platform between small groups of friends, Dorsey took the honors of posting the world’s first tweet on March 21, 2006. The platform went public less than four months later on July 15.
As podcasting service Odeo came to an end, several of its members—including Biz Stone and Evan Williams, along with Dorsey—secured funding for the new platform, and Twitter emerged as its own business in April 2007. Recalling those early days in a 2009 Los Angeles Times interview, Dorsey revealed that they “came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was,” (Sano).
Twitter: The breakout web hit of the late 2000s
A watershed moment in the mass-adoption of Twitter occurred during the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference, when daily usage of the platform catapulted from 20,000 to 60,000 tweets. Twitter became the new social media addiciton. Twitter messages beamed across 60-inch plasma TV screens throughout the five-day event, the platform was widely hailed as the festival’s main attraction. The platform’s creators were ultimately honored with the SXSWi Web Prize, which was presented with the following quip:
“we’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!” (Fitton et al. 17).
During 2008, Twitter usage swelled to 100 million per quarter. In January 2009, it became the third-most visited social media site in the world. By spring 2010, the platform had notched more than 70,000 sign-ups. Over the next few months, daily tweets soared from 50 million to 65 million. As 2011 rolled around, users were tweeting around 140 million times per day.
Usage rates would usually witness a jump during major cultural events, such as the 2,940 tweets-per-second milestone that was reached during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. That record was more than doubled during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, which spurred 7,196 tweets per second. On a sadder note, the June 25, 2009, passing of Michael Jackson caused Twitter servers to crash as users flooded the platform with 100,000 hourly tweets.
On Jan. 22, 2010, the first tweet from outer space was posted by astronaut T.J. Creamer aboard the International Space Station. Later that year, @NASA_Astronauts—the joint, public account of deployed astronauts—was averaging 12 daily tweets.
Twitter toys with innovation
Twitter launched a new front page on April 5, 2010, but it didn’t quite hit the ground running. In the midst of user glitches, the platform restored its old page until issues with its replacement were fixed. The new page was re-launched later that same month.
The following year, Twitter upgraded itself yet again; this time with its so-called “Fly” layout, which was designed to make the platform easier for advertisers and general users alike. The layout features several tabs—Home, Connect, and Discover—as well as the basic timeline page.
By the time Twitter reached its sixth birthday on March 21, 2012, membership had crossed the 140 million mark; which represented a 40% jump over the prior six months. Users, as a whole, were now averaging 340 million daily tweets. The following month, Twitter expanded its operations internationally with a satellite office in Dublin, Ireland; as well as in the Midwest with a secondary base in Detroit, Mich., which enabled the company to better align itself with the automotive sector.
New logo, and features for Twitter
Mid-2012 saw the debut of a new Twitter logo, in which the bird replaced the text as the platform’s visual symbol. Later that year, the company usurped video-app specialists Vine, whose product was launched in early 2013. The Vine app lets users make and upload short video clips to their Twitter feeds. However, the app has since been given a 17+ rating by Apple due to the amount of obscene clips that have gone viral across social media.
By Christmas 2012, monthly Twitter usage had crossed the 200 million mark; more than double what it had been just a year and a half prior. As the fall of 2013 rolled around, users were tweeting 400 million times per day, with nearly two-thirds of this activity occurring via digital handheld units. Over the course of that year, the company acquired media-tracking software Trendrr and advertising-management app MoPub; Twitter also unveiled a music app for iPhone devices.
In June 2014, Twitter announced that it would purchase native advertising firm Namo Media. The months that followed would see Twitter announce further acquisitions of Web 2.0 upstarts: video software innovator SnappyTV; online coupon facilitator CardSpring; password-security developer Mitro; video-streaming app Periscope; and commerce ads firm TellApart. In October 2014, Twitter partnered with IBM to develop ways for businesses to gauge consumer behavior through the analysis of social media data.
Turbulence and controversy surrounding Twitter
Despite years of enormous success as a global social media platform, Twitter has drawn criticism as of late for its recent rate of growth. The latest usage numbers have been estimated at 302 million, which would amount to a record-low 18% year-on-year growth for the company.
Critics allege that the platform has lost users due to its ineffectiveness at combating trolls and cyber bullies. As CEO for the company since 2010, Costolo has been at the center of this controversy. Accepting most of the blame, the 51-year-old told The Verge in February that Twitter
“failed at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform,” and further admitted that the company has “failed at it for years,” (Tiku and Newton).
One of the most notorious examples of Twitter bullying has been the flood of rape and death threats directed at feminist Anita Sarkeesian, who has drawn intense ire within some quarters of the gaming community for her outspoken criticism of the portrayal of women in certain video games. Another target of tweeting abuse was Zelda Williams, who quit the platform last summer after her feed was swamped with graphic imagery referencing the August 2014 suicide of her father, actor Robin Williams.
Costolo’s career arc started with comedy
Costolo first joined Twitter as the company’s chief operating officer in 2009 before assuming the role of CEO in October of the following year. Initially, he was only filling in for the company’s chief executive, Evan Williams, who was stepping out on paternity leave. Eventually, however, Costolo’s position at the top became permanent.
Prior to joining Twitter, Costolo spent two years at Google; a stint that followed the search giant’s purchase of FeedBurner, a web-feed management provider that he launched back in 2004 with three development partners. Earlier stints in web development include his cofounding of design-consulting company Burning Door Network Media and web-monitoring service SpyOnIt, which were respectively purchased by Digital Knowledge Assets and 724 Solutions. Before those ventures, the University of Michigan grad spent eight years at Andersen Consulting, and even tried his hand at comedy on the Chicago improvisational circuit.
In May 2011, at the height of his career with Twitter, Costolo was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Two years later, he was included in TIME Magazine’s list of the 10 Most Influential U.S. Tech CEOs.
Resignation and the future
Earlier this year, as analysts predicted that Costolo’s days at the helm of Twitter were numbered, the CEO brushed off such speculation. With his June 11 announcement, however, he explained that he wanted to step aside before the company searched for a replacement; effectively confirming months of speculation about his fate with the company.
Days after his announcement, Costolo admitted that he had no immediate plans for the future, aside from some rest and relaxation. When asked at the Bloomberg Technology Conference whether he’d return to standup comedy, he offered the following quip: “I get heckled for free now, why would I travel to Des Moines and go through the laugh track and get heckled?” (Wagner).
King, Hope and Sara Ashley O’Brien. “Twitter CEO Dick Costolo quits.” CNN Money. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. 11 June 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.
Menton, Jessica. “Twitter Inc (TWTR) Stock Price Leaps 8% In After-Hours Trading As CEO Dick Costolo Is Stepping Down.” International Business Times. IBT Media. 11 June 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.
McDowall, Angus. “PRINCE ALWALEED: Jack Dorsey is not the right person to be Twitter’s CEO.” Business Insider. Business Insider Inc. 15 June 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.
Sano, David. “Twitter Creator Jack Dorsey Illuminates the Site’s Founding Document.” Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. 18 June 2009. Web. 15 June 2015
Fitton, Laura, Anum Hussain and Brittany Leaning. Twitter For Dummies. Hoboken, N.J. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2009. Paperback.
Tiku, Nitasha and Casey Newton. “Twitter CEO: ‘We failed at dealing with abuse’.” The Verge. Vox Media, Inc. 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 June 2015.
Wagner, Kurt. “Twitter CEO Dick Costolo: ‘I Don’t Have Any Idea What I’m Going to Do Next’.” . Revere Digital LLC. 16 June 2015. Web. 16 June 2015.