Twitter looks to Europe to shore up userbase

Steven Loeb · September 28, 2013 · Short URL:

Twitter set to double the number of employees in its Dublin office by next year

Twitter still lags far behind Facebook in the user department.It only passed 200 million active users at the end of last year, while Facebook has roughly 1.2 billion or so users. So Twitter is now looking to beef up its stats internationally.

Twitter is getting ready to expand its European reach by doubling the size of its staff in its Dublin office, according to a report from AllThingsD. The office currently houses 100 employees; Twitter plans to bring the number up by the end of next year.

The company has recently been showing signs that it had its sights on international expansion; five of its executives were moved to European offices over the last few months. 

Twitter's VP of direct sales, Ali Jafari, as well as its director of brand strategy, Josh Grau, both recently moved from San Francisco to Dublin. The company also sent  its VP of international growth, Katie Jacobs Stanton, to Paris and its VP of international sales, Shailesh Rao, to Singapore.

It's not a coincidence that these moves are taking place right around the time of Twitter's upcoming IPO. The company needs to prove to investors that there is a long term business worth investing in, and that means grabbing as many users as possible. 

This is not Twitter's only move to gain more users as its IPO approaches. It was also recently rumored that Twitter is getting ready to revamp its iOS app with an eye on making it more accessible to the average user. 

That apparently means that the company will be getting rid of the four main buttons that now appear at the bottom of the screen: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me. These will, instead, be replaced by different content-focused streams that users can swipe through.

Twitter's global reach

Twitter does have a need to ramp up its efforts in Europe, as its reach in some of those countries is drastically low.

The social network's reach in European countries is much lower than that of developing nations, such as Indonesia, according to new data from Onavo Insights released on Thursday. Twitter reached 64% of iPhone users in Indonesia in August, and 52% of them in Mexico.

While it reached 43% of Spain, and 39% of the United Kingdom, it dropped 22% of Italy, 18% of France and a mere 8% of Germany. 

"Twitter has the most reach in developing countries, where mobile usage is sparse; as mobile usage becomes ubiquitous, as in the US and Western Europe, the actual number of Twitter users increases, but is a smaller proportion of the overall mobile population," Onavo wrote.

Twitter could not be reached for comment.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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