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Dick Costolo: Twitter Is a Reinvention of the Town Square—But With TV

CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo delivers a speech during The Twitter Seminar as part of Cannes Lions 59th International Festival of Creativity on June 20, 2012 in Cannes, France
CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo delivers a speech during The Twitter Seminar as part of Cannes Lions 59th International Festival of Creativity on June 20, 2012 in Cannes, FrancePhotograph by Francois G. Durand/Getty Images

Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo gave a lecture earlier this week at his alma mater—the University of Michigan—where he talked to a crowd at the Ford School of Public Policy about how the real-time information network has changed the nature of communication and media in the 21st century. Costolo spoke a lot about how Twitter has leveled the playing field for celebrities, many of whom can now talk directly to their fans without having to go through a media outlet or other intermediary. But he also talked about Twitter’s relationship with existing media, and it was clear from his speech that he sees it as a very symbiotic one—especially when it comes to broadcast television.

Much of the coverage of Costolo’s talk has focused on the numbers he provided during the speech, including the fact that Twitter now handles more than 1 billion tweets every couple of days (it took more than three years for the service to hit its first billion) as well as the promise he made that users would be able to download their entire archive of tweets by the end of the year—although Costolo hedged his bets about whether the company would be able to meet his deadline.