Twitter shows it is vulnerable - and has some very grand plans

Twitter suffered a security breach last week as an unemployed security hacker who lives in Europe broke into Twitter's online documents. The incident underlined the risk for people and companies who keep vital information on the Web.

Yesterday, a detailed story on how the hacker was able to break through Twitter's security, along with a personal apology from the hacker, was published by TechCrunch. Even more interesting than the security weaknesses, though, are the details of how just big Twitter plans to become in the near future.
The micro-blogging company wants to the first social-media site to reach one billion users, TechCrunch reported. If it reaches that level, the company says it will be the "pulse of the planet." Bold goal -- yet Twitter's growth has grown a multiple of five times since outlining those goals in February.

Twitter has been both friendly and cautious with Google (GOOG) because it sees the company as both an ally and a competitor, TechCrunch reported. Twitter is working on products, such as "Hosebird," which would deliver its full stream of Tweets to search partners and other companies. Twitter also wants to deliver better search results than Google's landing pages.

The success of Twitter was triggered by celebrities adopting the service, including Oprah Winfrey, who jumped on the Twitter bandwagon on April 17 now has about two million followers, even though she recently went 39 days without Tweeting. According to TechCrunch, Twitter may consider giving advisor shares to celebs including Shaquille O'Neal and Al Gore. Other tech companies are also important to Twitter's management team, including Microsoft (MSFT) and a "secret project with X-Box."

Finally, the report says that Twitter management seems to be want to be left alone, even wanting its board and investors to give them space. This may rule out a potential acquisition by the likes of Google, Microsoft or Apple (AAPL) because once Twitter is acquired, the management team would not likely be left alone by their new bosses. If an acquisition is off the table, then an initial public offering would be in the company's future. Indeed, the company has an "IPO bias," according to the information passed onto TechCrunch.

On June 3, Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey told DailyFinance that his company would have to consider selling itself, while in the information TechCrunch received, Twitter says it "always has to be open to exits," but only "ones where we stay in charge." The company thinks selling to Facebook was "the wrong destiny for Twitter," yet worries that as Facebook makes user status updates more publicly available, it will better compete with Twitter. Another threat for Twitter is not being able to keep up with its own "explosive" growth.

Those are Twitters plans as of a few months ago. Nothing there is too surprising, yet it's interesting to see the vision of the company that has captivated a growing audience and the internet world in 2009. The real story of Twitter's success plan remains to be told over the next couple of years.

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.
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