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Twitter Tries To Make It Easier to Tweet, Shows Off Your First Tweet

Stocks in this article: TWTR

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As Twitter (TWTR) looks to make it easier for users to understand its service, it's introducing a tool that allows people to discover their first tweet.

San Francisco-based Twitter launched a new site, Discover.Twitter.com, allowing users to see what their first tweet was, as well as anyone else's account that isn't locked or still exists.

"There's a #FirstTweet for everything," the website states. "Find anyone's first Tweet. Just enter the @username below to get started - where it all started."

Twitter, led by CEO Dick Costolo, has been experimenting with ways to add users to the micro-blogging service, following fourth-quarter results that disappointed investors. The company ended the December quarter with 241 million monthly active users (MAUs), up 30% year over year, with the majority, 184 million, via mobile. The 241 million users was up just 9 million from the prior quarter, not a terribly strong growth rate.

Even worse was the fact that Twitter ended the quarter with 54 million users in the U.S., up just 1 million from the third-quarter.

The company noted that it reached 148 billion timeline views, a year-over-year increase of 26%, as advertising revenue per thousand timeline views reached $1.49 in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 76% year over year.

For the quarter, Twitter earned 2 cents a share on $242.7 million in revenue during the quarter, as advertising revenue surged 121% year over year to $220 million. Data licensing rose 80% year over year to $23 million.

On the company's earnings call, Costolo noted that some users were having a hard time figuring out the service, and that over 1 billion people had tried the service, and stopped using it.

"For users, we will continue to make the product easier to use and introduce new capabilities that we believe will preserve the experience that core users love while making it easier for new users to understand the product and experience the unique content on our platform right away," Costolo said on the call.

On the call, Costolo laid out four platforms that separates Twitter from other social networks, including the fact that it's the only platform that is "simultaneously public, real-time, conversational and widely distributed."

In order to continue enhancing those themes, Costolo noted that Twitter already had a number of initiatives underway to improve them, and make it a more user friendly experience. He mentioned the sign-up process as something that needed work. Once users have signed up, the "onboarding process" needs to be better, which Costolo noted leads to "significantly higher growth over time."

Twitter has by and large been a text-based social network, but the company is working on making it more visually engaging, and has done so by incorporating pictures into tweets to help drive timeline view growth.

Other initiatives include making Twitter easier to communicate on, both public and private, as well as organizing content. Recent users have noted that the @ signal, long a core of how people use Twitter to respond to others, has been going away in their responses. Perhaps this is what Costolo meant about making Twitter easier to communicate on. Twitter could not be immediately reached for comment to confirm this.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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