Biz Stone

Twitter's co-founder talks about the vision and the reality, plans for the future and favorite tweets.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

I recently heard someone say that Twitter guides his life. What do you think about that kind of devotion? I think people refer to Twitter, but I really think that the better we are about creating a stable, useful communication platform, the more we can just get out of the way. I don't know if Twitter guides his life as much as the connections and the information [do]. It's about the triumph of humanity. If we can create a great, robust platform and then get out of the way so people can help each other after earthquakes or during gas shortages -- I think it's all about people just being able to communicate with people.

What new features would you like to add in the next few years? We want to bring search in a lot more, make it a lot more evident. It's sort of hiding out in its own little subdomain. We want to bring it to everyone's attention. And people are asking for lists and ways for people to form groups.

Where do you see Twitter in 2020 or 2025? The goal is to really build a robust and reliable network that can be built upon and can enable people to do everyday things great or small. If we do our jobs right, it becomes an important utility. By 2020, maybe people won't realize they're using Twitter, but they'll be using it every day. I want it to be a successful, sustainable company.

Will there be ads on Twitter? There will be some form of commercial usage, but I don't think we're looking at traditional Web ads, like banner ads. There's a lot of commercial use on Twitter already, like JetBlue and Whole Foods and Dell. There's more validity in introducing more commercial usage other than ads. The short answer is no. No ads on Twitter, not right away anyway.

What do you see as the future of your relationship with Facebook? I'm not sure exactly just yet. We really like what they're doing over there. Some of the more obvious stuff is to take advantage of Facebook Connect and put that into Twitter. You could be on Twitter and see who on Twitter is also on Facebook, so you could follow people that you're friends with on Facebook. We're working on it now, but I don't actually have a timeline for when it will be launched.

How many times a day do you Twitter? I only do it two to three times a day. If I'm doing something out of the norm and I think, "Oh, this is interesting," I'll Twitter about it.

A lot of what people Twitter about is how good their morning cup of coffee was or if they got a great parking spot at work. Why are we so interested in that stuff? When we first got started and we didn't know where we were headed, we positioned it as a way to stay updated with seemingly insignificant updates about the day. But it's become the pulse of what's happening in the world. It can be as big as terrorist attacks in Mumbai or as nano as eating a sandwich. But your mom might want to know that you're eating something good. But you can also tune in to Twitter to find out what's happening with some major event by using search. You can throw some friends in there along with an airline and a news agency, and then you'd get a pretty interesting timeline going. You can look at it as trivial or as a pulse of information. It depends on how you customize it.

Do you have a favorite Twitter topic? I've seen a bunch of stuff, like people Twittering in haiku form, which is interesting. I see emergent patterns, like people playing games on Twitter. A bunch of folks played a War of the Worlds type of game. Somebody started it, saying, "Space ships are landing outside my house," and it turned into this massive pickup game. I think my favorite topics are those that emerge.

This is the print version of a longer Q&A with Twitter's Biz Stone that ran first on

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon