Live At Twitter’s “Come See What We’re Building” Press Conference #LetsFly

Twitter isn’t just showing off its new building today, it’s launching a major redesign. Broken into four types of areas, it includes a new home timeline, a better view of things related to you, hashtags, and a profile page (including enhanced pages for brands). The thematic hashtag is “#LetsFly.”

Live blog here. Earlier notes and photos, below.

9:15 Jack Dorsey is on stage, talking about the art deco building that we’re in now. Dick Costolo is, too.

700 employees now. Hiring a bunch. Also building out offices elsewhere. Sales and engineering office in New York. Ditto in London and Tokyo. And opening several new offices.

In September we announced we had 100 million monthly active users. Since Apple integration, monthly signups are up 25%. Global not just US.

If 2010 was the year we realized we needed a Twitter-owned experience on all our platforms. 2011 has been a year of fleshing out all the core capabilities, like native photos, URL shortener.

New ads. Revenue growing “apace.” Advertisers and brands seeing up to 50% engagement (VW launch). Going to launch to mobile, beyond Tons and tons of businesses today. Testing self-serve ads. Going to launch early next year.

9:20 On Friday afternoons, we get the whole company together, synthesize the events of the week for everyone. Starting to share stories from Twitter users with the rest of the world.

Twitter has been around for five years. We think about it a lot, how it exists today, what it can do for the world, how to build a business. Dick and the team are constantly asking ourselves these questions. We’ve made three important realizations.

– Universe within every tweet. Really a caption now. Caption that’s associated with a rich canvas. Photo. Two-pane view. Side drawer still feels disconnected from the tweet itself. We wanted an experience where the universe of the tweet was contained within the tweet. The media, the conversation, on any platform.

– People using apps and hash tags everywhere. Participatory event. No one understands what the symbols mean. How to act.

– As Twitter continues to grow around the world, we can and should have an obligation. Now 7 billion people on the planet. We need to reach the world. As a company, create the simplest, fastest service in the world that will allow us to reach every person on the planet. Went through entire service. Mobile, web, got it down to four key elements.

9:25 Launching today:

Home Timeline (browser-style “home” icon). First navigational element. Simple, clean, universe of tweet is now contained within the tweet on multiple platforms. Web site, iPhone, Android, HTML5 mobile, Tweetdeck, etc. Retweets, favorites, etc. all right there. Additionally, click on tweet, copy embed code, stick in the story. Everything follows it in. Wasn’t just a change in the interface. Not just adding a couple features to Twitter. Product engineers, infrastructure engineers focused on making it as fast as possible. Reach everyone?

Connect (@ symbol). We wanted to create the easiest way to reach others. Enter username. Or retweet. Where you’re being mentioned. Any conversations that you have. Everything that you’re doing socially on Twitter is in here.

Discover (# symbol). The newest navigation element. When people see a hashtag on a billboard, can click on the symbol, enter the tag they say, and relevant conversations will surface. Come to Twitter and want to see what’s happening in your world. More than 250 million tweets per day, we’ll surface whatever seems relevant to your world. Discover experience is personalized, so the more you engage, the more personalized they’ll become.¬†Activities. What tweets are my friends following. Who are friends following.

Me (profile outline icon). We wanted to group everything that happens about you in one specific area. Favorites, media, tweets. Wanted to tell more compelling stories. Profile pages for individual users much richer. Media: pictures, videos, etc. Best place to represent yourself on the internet. Also for brands.

9:30 Also launching select profile pages for some partners. Bigger canvas. Much richer interaction. (Looks like Facebook Pages or MySpace profiles.) While other services add feature after feature after feature on top of each other. We’re going in the opposite direction, we’re offering more simplicity.

This new Twitter is really a foundation for us. Just like the new building isn’t just a new building, it’s the base for our future growth. Like these new products. Innovate really quickly to change the world. We’ve pushed it up even more. Tweet button everywhere in navigation, including top level. Every time you have something to tell the world, you can do it instantly. We believe and honor the power of small and simple messages to move the world. If you look back in history, some of the most moving and inspiring things have been said in less than 140 characters.

Twitter for iPhone and Android also available right now. Downloading app unlocks new version on web site. Roll out new version to 100% of users in the next few weeks.


Pre-live blog notes.

Yes, it’s at the new building on Market Street. Hilarious pun. The press conference hasn’t started so right now it’s just a bunch of Twitter employees running around chatting with press but not telling us much.

Hopefully the event isn’t just a building tour, although I have to say the company has made their sections of this old furniture warehouse are starting to look nice. The floor is still pockmarked concrete, presumably left over from the days when this was a furniture warehouse. But the windows have sleek new frames. And a cavernous middle section of the floor is all lit up in blue lights, with a fancy illustration of what it’ll look like one day in the middle.

To keep you entertained in the meantime, here are some photos I snapped when I was wandering around looking for the coffee a few minutes ago (they came out blurry because my hands haven’t had any caffeine to calm the jitters). I’ll update the post once there’s news to share.

One day this will all be yours, chief executive Dick Costolo.

Pretty lights.
Room for uptime.
Le Press Corps.