May 29, 2022

Video: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Delivers Lecture About the “Power and Purpose of Twitter” at U. of Michigan

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter and University of Michigan alum, spoke at his alma mater on Friday.

Archived video of the lecture (including Q&A) sponsored by at the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy is now available online. It runs 76 minutes.

Direct to Video of Costolo Lecture


From the U. of Michigan Daily:

The core of Costolo’s presentation discussed Twitter’s ability to reinvent the agora, a reference to the ancient Greek meeting place where citizens could gather to discuss the latest politics and news in their community.

Costolo described the benefits of the Greek agora in creating functional discourse within communities.

“It was multidirectional, it wasn’t someone standing on a stage as I am with you dictating, so it was a conversation and a real dialogue,” Costolo said. “It was unfiltered. The news was not interpreted and written down and handed to people. And it was real time, you were hearing what real people were talking about right there with each other.”

In a news report about the lecture Costolo confirmed that the ability for any Twitter user to download a complete archive of all of their tweets is coming in 2013.

From the Advisor and Source Newspapers

Costolo said the ability to download an archive of your past is coming sometime soon (by the end of 2012?)

He said the Twitter database and software of tracking tweets wasn’t built for archiving as much as built for exposure in chronological order.

“When I promised it publicly, they’re already mad at me so they can keep being mad at me,” he said. “Once again, I caveat this with the engineers, who are actually doing the work, don’t necessarily agree it will be done by the end of the year but we’ll just keep having that argument and see where we end up at the year end.”

He was also asked about why are Twitter is keeping tweets to 140 characters?

Turns out there’s two “beautiful” reasons why, according to Costolo.

“One, it makes it easier for everybody to tweet without having to feel like ‘Ah, I don’t have time to write a paragraph about this thing I’m seeing right now,’” he said. “The secondary part of it is there’s this poetry in the constraint of 140 characters that’s really remarkable and magical and we don’t know why it is so we’re not going to change it.”

Direct to Video of Costolo Lecture

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.