Twitter is trying to do more than just spotlight trending stories and events -- it's trying to be part of the spotlight as well.
Dick Costolo, the microblogging company's CEO, told The Wall Street Journal that Twitter was ramping up its effort to help users sort out tweets surrounding major, live events by increasing its presence associated with the event. That effort is embodied by a partnership Twitter has formed with NBCUniversal to create a page that would corral millions of tweets sent by athletes, fans, and TV personalities during the Olympics in London.
With the live events effort, Twitter is trying to "more closely tie the shared experience on Twitter to the actual event that is happening," Costolo told the Journal.
The renewed push comes as Twitter and rival Facebook increasingly morph from social networks used to share personal information into media hubs where news, video, photos, and entertainment content is consumed. Some 39 percent of Twitter users said most of the news they got on Twitter in January was not content they would have read elsewhere, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. By research firm eMarketer's estimates, more than 11 million Twitter users are getting their news from the social network.
The San Francisco-based company hopes that the NBCUniversal partnership, which includes on-air promotion of the page by the TV network, will help attract a larger audience to its microblogging service, which currently has about 140 million monthly users. With major brands such as General Electric and Procter & Gamble reportedly buying ads to promote their association with the Games, it's also a chance for Twitter to show that it can be a serious moneymaker.
But the bigger goal of this new platform push, Costolo said, is to move away from companies that "build off of Twitter, to a world where people build into Twitter."
That statement seems to hark back to the announcement the company made last month that it would tighten the rules governing its APIs, a move that sent a shock wave through the developer community and left many feeling jilted by Twitter.