Twitter CEO Dick Costolo met with eight senators in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to discuss the future of the social media service—including how it makes money and how it will be utilized in the 2012 elections—as well as a plan to offer Twitter’s analytics service to highly followed politicians, according to press secretaries from various senators’ offices.
“It was kind of a gathering for some of the senators who have a decent sized following on Twitter,” Whitney Phillips, the press secretary for Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said. “They were talking a lot, very specifically, about a new project that has analytics for somebody who has a significant following.”
Costolo also discussed the analytics service with congressmen from the Republican New Media Caucus on Wednesday. “He talked about that analytical tool that they’re developing, which is still in the early developmental stages,” Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman, co-chair of the caucus, said. “There wasn’t any specificity to it, but he did say that they’re in the process of developing such an analytical tool to [help us] be able to drill down a little bit deeper” on measuring influence among constituents.
Sean Garrett, Twitter’s head of PR, told Adweek by email that “there is no ‘new’ analytics service. It’s a simple dashboard that we provide advertisers and a small number of other accounts [to] make their use of Twitter more effective.” In an earlier email, he wrote, "[Costolo’s] agenda is helping Members and their staff get the most out of Twitter to benefit their constituents."
Though neither the senators’ offices nor Wittman discussed the relationship between access to Twitter analytics and the 2012 elections, the data will no doubt be a boon to candidates who will increasingly rely on Twitter during the campaign season. Wittman also said Costolo and Adam Sharp, Twitter’s representative in Washington, were working with politicians to improve the analytics service.
“They’re putting this out there initially for us to understand what’s there, what its capabilities are, and then what we will do is give him some feedback as to what our thoughts are concerning that,” Wittman said. “He’s been very good about saying, ‘We want to make sure this is a platform that’s useful to you.'"
Senators present at Thursday’s meeting included hosts John McCain, R-Ariz., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., as well as Lieberman, John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., according to Brooke Buchanan, McCain’s press secretary.