Twitter co-founder: We'll have made it when you shut up about us

When Twitter's become so commonplace that nobody notices, it will be a success, company executive Jack Dorsey said in a panel at Internet Week New York.

NEW YORK--Twitter executive Jack Dorsey says he's looking forward to the day when the world stops talking so much about the company he co-founded.

"I think Twitter's a success for us when people stop talking about it, when we stop doing these panels and people just use it as a utility, use it like electricity," said Dorsey, who was on a "Future of Media" panel here Wednesday as part of Internet Week New York. "It fades into the background, something that's just a part of communication. We put it on the same level as any communication device. So, e-mail, SMS, phone. That's where we want to be."

From Jack Dorsey's Twitter feed. Twitter

For those who stepped in late, Twitter blew up from a cult following of geeks and news junkies into a full-out phenomenon earlier this year, when actor Ashton Kutcher kicked off a challenge with CNN to be the first account to hit one million followers and Oprah Winfrey gave Twitter her seal of approval on the air.

But Dorsey, who served as the company's CEO until he stepped down last October (retaining his chairman post), did say he isn't tired of people asking him what Twitter's business model will ultimately be--a persistent nag among pundits who are skeptical of how fast it's risen without a clear way of making money. He said that the reason why Twitter hasn't come up with a business model yet is because the company needed to let users and developers shape it first.

"I like that question because it speaks to how Twitter came to be," Dorsey said. Many features of Twitter were "behavior(s) that we did not invent. That was usage that we saw, that we made easier. The hash tags that you're seeing today, same thing. The search engine was something that was outside the company."

It's sort of a Catch-22, if Dorsey is to be believed: Had Twitter rushed in with a moneymaking strategy early on, it could have hampered the company's growth. "We took VC money so that we can be patient in that endeavor, and we're going to be patient, we're going to do it right," he insisted. "We're not going to put something on top of it that doesn't fit."

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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