Twitter is expanding rapidly across borders, and is quickly trying to monetise itself while keeping one eye on the innovation it requires to remain relevant.
But at the heart of all this is two women, profiled in a new piece over at Vogue, who are attempting to brainstorm new ideas to keep the social network in front and centre of everyone’s minds.
Katie Jacobs Stanton, in charge of the company’s international expansion, and Chloe Sladden, head of the company’s media partnerships, are described as being at the forefront of what Twitter is doing next. Whether it’s brainstorming ways to get people to do interesting things on the platform or creating new content, these women are helping drive the Twitter machine forward.
In fact, Stanton has such a prominent role that she was listed as the 56th most influential person in technology by Forbes magazine. She’s spent time working for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and worked in Hillary Clinton’s office as well.
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But there are more women at Twitter than just these two – far more. In fact, the piece highlights how Twitter is actually one of the more women-friendly companies around. When Stanton asked Twitter’s chief executive Dick Costolo whether she could leave at five or six to get home to her kids, he said that was fine.
“I honestly can’t imagine having that same conversation with the CEO at Google,” she told the publication.
This culture is at the heart of the company’s structure, it argues, saying Twitter is more “humanistic” than other companies.
“Twitter is more humanistic than other tech start-ups, less defined by introverted math majors and engineers, and perhaps as a result friendlier to women, who were well represented at the meetings I attended.”
“It prides itself on a culture of openness and egalitarianism, in which innovation percolates up from users rather than being pushed out from headquarters.”
Drawing a link between Twitter’s culture of promoting women in the workplace and taking a backseat to profitability may be a long bow, but there is no doubt focusing on innovation and growth has made the company more focused on engineering rather than forsaking new projects for money.
The piece also focuses on what Twitter is doing in other countries, allowing protestors to organise and even avoid Government censorship.
“We want to build our business in a way that makes us proud,” Stanton told Vogue. “If it means that we have to start censoring people’s tweets, that violates a core ethos of our company. While it might help us get more users in China, it would ruin what we’re about.”
Google on the move with alternate-reality goggles
Google’s always doing something weird. Whether it’s just a simple computer program or a car that drives itself, the search giant is always keen to work on something new. And this time, it looks pretty serious.
Over at the New York Times, according to several Google employees, the company is working on a pair of glasses that would stream information to the wearer via the lenses.
According to these sources, the devices will cost around the current cost of a smartphone, run on the Android software, and could even use a 3G or 4G connection.
So what exactly would you do with them?
Well, the piece suggests the devices could allow you to browse the internet using your head, while you could use an in-built camera as well. They could send data to the cloud, and even use Google Maps to find out where you are.
“You will be able to check in to locations with your friends through the glasses,” a source adds.
This could be just another crazy rumour, but it appears Google may at least be working on the project. Whether or not it ever reaches shelves, at least it’s good to know Google is at least trying new things.
The fickle app user
Apps have been all the rage for the past few years, but no doubt there are plenty of smartphone users who just delete apps they’ve never used, or just continue to buy them and never touch them again.
This is the problem at the heart of the app economy – too much trash. And over at The Atlantic, a new piece examines whether apps may have the lasting appeal the industry thought they would.
It references a number of data, including a Pew study that shows the reach of apps is continuing to grow. But speaking to Anindya Datta, founder of Mobilewalla, an app analytics firm, it appears users are still deleting them faster and faster.
“We are constantly deleting them,” he told USA Today, according to the article. “That’s why the number of downloads is a very poor measure of how popular an app is.”
Apps have completely transformed into an industry of their own, it appears the gloss may be disappearing.
Are brands shutting down Facebook stores?
Last year, many stores started adopting Facebook stores, where users could go and buy products directly from Facebook itself. It was a nice addition to the traditional store, and provided some reach.
But now, over at Mashable, there’s a piece that suggests these stores may be going away. In fact, Gap, Nordstrom and GameStop have closed stores.
“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Ashley Sheetz, vice president of marketing and strategy at GameStop, told Bloomberg. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.”
This is an interesting development as it suggests Facebook may not ever be a place to win more cash – it just may be a place to converse with friends. Whether or not that will have lasting ramifications for the site will be interesting to watch.