January 31, 2012
Twitter CEO Says Site Playing Role In 2012 Elections
Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo said at the AllThingsD technology conference in California that the microblogging site will play a big role in the 2012 presidential elections.
Costolo said on stage at the event that “Candidates who don´t participate in the conversation on Twitter will be left behind [in the elections], The next morning is too late to respond.”He said that during Obama's State of the Union speech last week, over 14,000 Twitter messages were posted every minute for the duration of the 95-minute speech.
“We already saw this during the State of the Union when [President] Obama made the spilled milk joke and a collective groan went up across the country on Twitter,” Costolo said at the event. “In the past, you´d have to wait for the networks to cut to the pundits after the address was done to discuss it. You don´t have to do that anymore.”
Costolo was not suggesting that an analysis of tweets would indicate the winning candidate, but that Twitter has become an essential platform for reaching voters.
All of the major candidates in this year's election have an official Twitter account and are actively posting.
“One of the reasons we´ve gotten so many celebrities from all walks of life [on Twitter] is because it gives them a vehicle to communicate directly with the people," he said at the conference.
"Tomorrow morning it will be too late to react to what was said the day before," Costolo said. "Washington is really starting to realize that."
Another example of Twitter's influence in politics is the recent anti-Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) movement seen across the Internet.
Costolo said about 3.9 million messages about SOPA and PIPA were posted on Twitter on January 18, the day of the blackout.
He said Twitter did not participate in "blackouts" like websites such as Wikipedia because it would have been counterproductive. Instead, it acted as a platform for its users to voice their opinions.
Twitter has 100 million "active" users, 40 percent of which never tweet but just read what people they follow on the site say.
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