Jack Dorsey wants to measure how Twitter affects society

Earlier this month, Twitter began soliciting proposals from the public to help the platform capture, measure and evaluate healthy interactions. Today, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and other members of the team held a public conversation via Periscope about the company’s new initiative to measure healthy interactions on Twitter.

As Twitter previously noted, the goal is to come up with metrics to measure the health of the interactions on Twitter. But Twitter eventually wants to take that a step further, Dorsey said today.

“Ultimately we want to have a measurement of how it affects the broader society and public health, but also individual health, as well,” Dorsey said.

Although Twitter does not have the tools to measure the effectiveness of longer content, Dorsey says increasing the character limit to 280 and implementing threads has been helpful.

“I do think the more space we give people to think and be critical about what they see and express,” Dorsey said, “that the more civil and civic these dialogues and debates become.”

Twitter upped its character count from 140 to 280 back in November. The following month, Twitter added a threads feature so that people could more easily get their tweetstorm on. So far, Dorsey said both of those tools have allowed more depth and more critical thinking.

“One of the things we’d like to see and enable a lot more of on our platform is exactly that,” Dorsey said.

As Twitter embarks on its journey to make its platform a safer, more productive place for everyone, it’s relying on third-parties to step in to determine the best ways to capture, measure and evaluate health metrics. Perhaps, more importantly, Twitter needs help determining exactly what those metrics entail.

While Twitter competes with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and the lot, Dorsey said this is not an area where Twitter plans to be competitive.

“We want to make sure we’re sharing our findings back with the research community,” Dorsey said. “We don’t want to compete with a Facebook or an Instagram or a Reddit on solving this problem. We want to make sure that everything we find they can also utilize.”

Twitter’s approach may be unique in how it implements some of these health measures, Dorsey said, but its mindset and intent is to give back and to contribute to “something much bigger than us.”

Dorsey added, “A lot of what we’re seeing is not just affecting us but affecting many folks and many services around the world.”

The topic of verification also came up, with Dorsey noting the idea is to eventually open up verification to everyone.

“And to do it in a way that’s scalable,” he said.