New Twitter Exec Fuels Speculation

Funnyman from FeedBurner could change Twitter from flimsy tool into communications backbone

What does it mean that Dick Costolo is Twitter's new COO?

Observers are hopeful that Costolo will transform the service into something useful and appealling. Before coming to Twitter, he was the CEO of Feedburner, a service that allows websites to syndicate content and track subscribers -- sort of like a Nielsen rating for websites' news feeds.

Those tools to measure readership and reach are exactly what Twitter lacks. Messages on the site are quckly absorbed into an ever-growing miasma of tweets, with little opportunity to reveal trends.

Costolo's plans for the site are still unknown, but the Internet is beside itself with speculation: monthly micropayments, better integration with third-party software, more personalized recommendations, and a fundamental shift in how people subscribe to information online.

Or he could just be milking the job for laughs: Costolo is known for his side gig as a standup comic.

Right now, the primary method for subscribing to vast amounts of information is RSS, a syndication technology that, despite its limitations, is robust and heavily-used. Or is it? With better Twitter tools potentially on the horizon, tech watchers are starting to smell death on RSS's breath.

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