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Liveblogging: Twitter CEO Evan Williams Keynote at SXSW

We're here at SXSW Interactive waiting for the keynote with Twitter CEO Evan Williams who will discuss "The Next Generation of Social Media." There has been some speculation tha...
Liveblogging: Twitter CEO Evan Williams Keynote at SXSW
Written by Chris Crum
  • We’re here at SXSW Interactive waiting for the keynote with Twitter CEO Evan Williams who will discuss "The Next Generation of Social Media." There has been some speculation that an announcement of Twitter’s ad platform could occur at this event, but that may or may not happen. We’ll see.

    Either way, I’ll be liveblogging the keynote below. Please forgive the inevitable typos.

    Williams will be interviewed by Umair Haque of the Havas Media Lab."

    Liveblogging starts

    02:00:  Still waiting…

    02:01: Introduction beginning…

    02:03: Here we go…

    Evan Williams announces…A new platform for integrating twitter into websites: it’s called @anywhere

    Signin using twitter id, your own publications can be followed starting with amazon,huffpost youtube yahoo,….a bunch of others.

    Umair asks – if i’m at newspaper and i want to read one of fav columnits


    ev: @anywhere reduces friction – not strict rules lleaves alot of innovation up to devs and third parties…a lot to be done with it

    easily tweet from column itself. you may just want to follow the columlnist….straight from byline

    "one of the things we’ve found with twitter is discovery is one of the hardest challenges…"

    twitter is very easy way to keep in touch.


    Umair: what are key benefits to site?

    ev: give you connection back to users that you didn’t hav before – twitter drives tons of traffic, so should reslt in more followers for a site than just sending out links…


    hopefully result in more people who are your fans using twitter, talking about you content…

    you can bring in users’ tweets into your site, and create a sub community with it

    Umair: people and organizations build stronger relationships?

    about lowering barrier to that according to Ev.

    03:13: Ev: We’re still focused pretty much on how do we create the best experience for users and businesses…

    How do we create a business out of this? There’s tons of business users on twitter today..

    We just want to make that better, easier, and faster.

    What is Twitter? Maybe the right question is what is twitter evolving to?

    It’s always been a difficult question to answer. We think of it as an information network to help people discover what they care about (in the world)

    You can follow the flaming lips if that’s what you care about….you can be smarter and make better choices…that’s valuable…

    its like saying "what’s the internet?" it’s about who you are. what you need at the time.

    02:16. As we grow, one of the things that becomes painful is having a lot of centralized decision making and forcing poeple through slow processes, so we have teams and try to give them the resources they need…

    Role for interacting with teams?

    I don’t get into the nuts and bolts of code…I personally like to get inovled in product and strategy…what we should be doing…the nitty gritty, work wth product teams. half my time. the other half think about company and right culture internally…

    been thinking a lot lately about how to scale the company and adopt the characteristics we want…how to define these characteristics..paralllel between service and the company we want to create – openness big value of twitter . transparency. a company that behaves by that as well. easy to say and harder to do as you grow…

    02:19 Openness means a lot of things. we debated whether openness or transparency is the right word. you can let people see what you’re doing, but a door lets people come in and mess with what you’re doing ..users have taken twitter and morphed it into what they want it to be. ….we’ve encouraged and supported that. a core part of being open.

    Your basic assumptions are usually wrong. "Openness is a survival technique."

    We talk about nine assumptions you should have one of them is assume there are more smart people outside the compay than inside. it’s a key thing to remember as you get bigger…

      02:21:   Deals with Bing/Google first guys we shared full stream of public twitter data with. a lot of debate…people inside twitter…if there’s all this data that could be highly moentizable., does it make sense to give this data away? We came to the decision by going to the principle by how do we create the most value for the user….the reason google/bing could help that – ther’es valuable knowledge within the twitter network. there’s a lot of valuable tweeting that people don’t necessarily see…it’s a way to bring more valuable to the tweets.

    02:24: It was a tough decision to come to….big partners aren’t who they want to limit it too..announced a couple weeks ago that they would license the data to other partners…

    One of the exciting next things to happen with the ecosystem …creating core experiences that fill holes in user expereince…sharing photos, shortening links, apps, etc.

    Real businesses built off twitter – cotweet,etc. we know twitter can be used for customer support, but interface isn’t built for that. cotweet recently got acquired who wants to focus on that more.

    We’d love to see much more focus on creating those deep experiences.
    "We’re pretty open." THere is some control we need to employ. if we were completly open, it could hur the users in time….it has to be managed a lot – being open and having an open api makes it much easier to build apps to spam twiter. sending cease and desists every day to spammers – using the twitter brand…

    One reason third parties are so important – a lot of people falling for these guys’ tricks…we have to assert some kind of control.

    02:29: An email i recently got…to support – someone in chile thanking twitter for helping communication…this is very gratifying for us because we’ve always held it important to make twitter reach the weakest signals in the world…because twitter’s so simple….sms still really important to us…

    We’re really happy we’ve been able to get sms coverage…not as easy as just providing a service on the internet.

    02:21: To me it comes back to is someone getting value out of twitter. if they’re search google and they come upon a tweet and get value out of a tweet, we consider them a user…ther is a curve for adoption. "we have a pretty wide definition of user." we’re trying to lower the barrier…at the beginning a lot of focus was on telling the world what you’re doing…now we’re getting to the point where there’s something interesting on twitter for almost everybody…mentions flaming lips again…critical that it’s a two way medium, but this could be as simple as a retweet or a reply…

    02:35 Press secretary of the white house started using twitter in an authentic way from inside the white house in a way that you wouldn’t usually see things….official channel, but they’re using it in a new way. "very fun" to see.  It’s about reducing the walls beween people who have a lot of influence and the people they influence. That’s the most profound promise of the Internet, and we’re riding the wave I started on ten years ago with blogging…"

    02:41: There’s more and more stuff every day you may want to follow and search for…our goal is not just to maximize that. We understand that people have limited time/attetion. We have no interest in increasing just the amount of time you spend on the Twitter site. "If anything, we’d like to decease it."

    The open exchange of info has a positive impact on the world…

    02:46: The obvious stuff will be just signing in and tweeting more stuff, but there’s another level of value created by lowering frition (@ platform)

    If the channel helps the business get better, that tha’s very powerful.

    02:49: If you live on the web, you’re used to having a relationship with companies/services you use..

    A lot of people walked out of this keynote. I’m pretty sure the guy next to me fell asleep. No joke.


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