Twitter CEO: Twitter is confusing and needs more female comedians

dick costolo
Joi Ito

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says the social network needs to fix a few things.

In a Friday morning Today Show interview, Costolo told interviewer Matt Lauer that new users struggle to understand the “language of Twitter.” The platform is also missing some key users: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Melissa McCarthy. Costolo considers the trio his “white whale.”

“I’ll make that my goal,” he said.

tina fey

Comedian Tina Fey isn't on Twitter yet, but should be.

Twitter needs more female comedians, sure, but it also needs more people in general. The $25 billion company went public last month, and while its stock exchange debut went off without a hitch, Twitter is still struggling to prove its worth. More than 75 percent of its 230 million active users live outside the U.S., and advertisers would like to see more bang for their buck.

Costolo says Twitter has a new content-first strategy, reflected in recent mobile tweaks that put photos and videos front and center in the timeline, to make the network more accessible to newbies.

“For many people when they come to Twitter, the language is opaque to them,” Costolo said during the interview. “What we need to do is push the scaffolding, the technology and the language of Twitter to the background and bring the content forward: the media, the photos, the videos, the content people are talking about.”

As for whether Twitter will do more to prevent the sort of “negativity” that follows public figures like Lauer and makes the social network a little less fun, Costolo shrugged: It’s the nature of the beast.

“What you’re seeing is two sides of the same coin: The beauty of the platform, the ability to have a pseudonym that you can tweet under, has enabled political speech in places where political speech is oppressed,” Costolo said. “That allows some other people to hide behind pseudonymity and say mean things to people.

“It’s incumbent on us as the operators of the platform to make sure everyone can come to Twitter and feel like it’s a clean, well-lit place and a global town square.”

Watch the full interview below:

Dick Costolo photo taken by Flickr user Joi Ito.

This story, "Twitter CEO: Twitter is confusing and needs more female comedians" was originally published by TechHive.

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