China Is Too High Maintenance For Twitter – And So Are Casual Users

Don’t expect to see Twitter unblocked by China (or by Iran for that matter) any time soon.

Twitter’s CEO says the company has no plans to make the sacrifices these high maintenance countries require.

And don’t even get the folks at Twitter started on the topic of “casual Twitter users.” Just . . . don’t.

Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, provides us with endless “read between the lines” fodder pretty much every time he grants an interview – and for that, we give thanks.

Coming at ya from his latest one-on-one with The Wall Street Journal, Costolo provides fresh gems ripe for dissection, including:

On China

When asked if he wants Twitter to be available in China, Costolo shares that while Twitter “would love the people of China—and Iran—to be able to access Twitter, [w]e are not going to make the kinds of sacrifices we might have to currently make to be unblocked in China.” (China likes its social platforms with a side of censorship, filtering out “politically sensitive” material.)

Between the lines interpretation of Costolo’s reply? “Beat it, China. You’re too high maintenance.”

Though, as The WSJ notes, Twitter does try to abide by local laws, within reason. They’ll even withhold specific tweets or accounts from a country if compelled to do so (by law). Costolo provides an example of this: “For example, in Germany, it is against the law to promote Nazi speech. When someone clicks on a tweet that we’ve had to take down via a legal request, they will get a message that says this tweet is not visible because of this request. But everyone outside that locale can still see it.”

But China’s list of what is not acceptable is obviously too long. And annoying. We think the Chinese must know (deep down) that this is how Twitter feels and that explains its alleged hack attack last week that Twitter repeatedly smacked down till it didn’t get back up.

And on “core users” versus “casual users”

WSJ asks if Twitter has a sore spot about having much, much fewer users than YouTube or Facebook. But Costolo doesn’t care about those other overused platforms, no sir. Twitter wants “a billion users.” That’s it and that’s all.

“We’re the size that 99.9% of the other companies would like to be, but we believe Twitter is valuable to everybody on the planet,” says Costolo.

What’s that? There are WAY more than a billion people on this spinning vortex, you say? Well, only a billion have it in ’em to be “core Twitter users” apparently.

Once you become a core user, [Twitter] is indispensable. But you have to invest, frankly, too much to get that ‘aha’ moment. One of the things that we’re spending a great deal of time on are weekly digest emails for casual users. It’s a great way for people to start realizing, ‘that’s amazing and I need to be checking in more frequently.’

Between the lines interpretation: Most “casual users” will never reach this stage of enlightenment because they’re too fat and lazy to “invest” – that’s why Twitter is only focusing on one billion.

Do you agree with these interpretations? And “core user” high-five anyone?

(Talk to the hand image from Shutterstock)