2014 was a tough year for Twitter: While rival Facebook hit its groove with mobile advertising, the tweet-based social network struggled to arrive at a product strategy that hooks and retains new users. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, on the defensive, attempted to placate skeptical investors in November by acknowledging the company’s failures and outlining an ambitious list of new product initiatives.
Remarkably, Costolo has made good on many of those promises. Earlier this week Twitter started placing Promoted Tweets, its primary mobile ad product, on third-party platforms–a clever hedge against the company’s stagnant user growth. By the summer, tweets will appear in Google search results in real time, thanks to a partnership deal the companies announced yesterday. On Twitter itself, a “what you missed” feature now caters to occasional visitors.
With internal audiences, Costolo has been equally transparent about his failures. When an employee raised questions about the cruelty of Twitter’s trolls, Costolo responded with frank frustration. “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, and we’ve sucked at it for years,” he wrote, according to a leaked memo obtained by The Verge. “We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day. I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO.”
Now, with the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call scheduled for later today, Costolo needs to convince investors that he can keep shipping product and reassure users that Twitter is a safe place for conversation. His job, and Twitter’s fate, depend on it.
[via The Guardian]