Twitter’s new plan to placate Wall Street

Can Twitter get people excited about Twitter again?
Can Twitter get people excited about Twitter again?
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Twitter chief financial officer Anthony Noto recently revealed that the social network is thinking about creating a new feature called the Twitter Daily Edition to curate and share the best tweets of each day.

“If you sleep for five to eight hours like most people do and when you wake up in the morning, do you want to go back five or eight hours of tweets?” Noto remarked at Morgan Stanley’s Technology Media and Telecom Conference. “There is an opportunity for us to curate content into … like Twitter Daily Edition.”

Though the name Twitter Daily Edition (which could change) suggests a publication, Noto’s remarks make it sound more like a marketing tool, since the plan is to syndicate the content across different platforms. A daily summary of Twitter, which has 288 million monthly active users as of the fourth quarter, would break away from its core function as a platform for real-time communication, but it could help widen its appeal to a broader audience that’s yet to see Twitter’s value.

It’s no secret that Twitter has an attention problem. The linear, reverse-chronological feed that makes Twitter so useful for breaking news also makes it hard for casual users to keep up on the service. Because of the social network’s use in live communication, it’s easy for users to miss tweets when they’re not actively reading Twitter. The company’s done a few things to address this, including sending users digest emails and adding a mobile feature to highlight tweets users might have missed.

But that’s not its only problem. Twitter, hounded by investors over its slow user growth, says its audience is much bigger—by hundreds of millions of people actually—than what it has reported in its past earnings statements. The discrepancy comes from logged-out users, people who don’t log in or sign up for an account. Twitter’s solution is to give these people more content, again to illustrate the social network’s value.

All these plans—plus a recent deal with Google to display tweets in search results—seem to suggest that the company’s sidestepping, or at least trying to placate, Wall Street’s concerns. Noto says Twitter now reaches 700 million users a month when including logged-out users and people who see its content syndicated on third-party apps. Capitalizing on its reach, Twitter seems to be focusing its attention on maximizing impressions, and subsequently advertising opportunities.