Twitter's Jack Dorsey: We know we must be easier to use

Twitter takes on a life of its own
Twitter takes on a life of its own

Twitter's main problem has been, in a nutshell: People who know how to use it, love it. Everyone else kind of scratches their heads.

Jack Dorsey, the company's co-founder and interim CEO, acknowledged this sentiment during a Twitter earnings call, and promised he would try to get Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) to do better.

Late Tuesday, Dorsey said Twitter's recently launched features had little impact on getting new users to join and stay active.

"This is unacceptable and we're not happy about it," he said. Twitter stock continued to sell off Wednesday.

To turn Twitter around, Dorsey said the company needs to do three things: have more "disciplined execution," simplify the service so people can learn how to use it faster, and market the platform better so people understand why it's important to use Twitter.

"'Why Twitter' must be articulated clearly," Dorsey said. "What should you expect from Twitter? To be as easy as looking out your window to see what's happening. To show you what's happening in the world [first], directly from the source."

He also added that Twitter had to be "the best microphone" in the world to help people voice their opinions and expand their networks.

Descriptions like this aren't new. Company execs have been finding ways to talk about how great Twitter is for years. But Dorsey's comments on the call were better than previous refrains we've heard.

Ultimately though, it's the "mass market" that needs to understand it and experience it first-hand. Significant growth can't be expected otherwise, Dorsey warned.

Twitter will now have to make more drastic changes to the way it works, and spend more time and money explaining the benefits of a 140-character limit.

In the future, this might mean that timelines won't show posts based on reverse chronology. And that Twitter will introduce more human-curated trending topics and tweets.

To create an easier to understand, easier to use platform, Twitter CFO Anthony Noto summed up the solution this way: "This is both a product issue and a marketing issue."

During the last three months of the year, Twitter actually had a pretty good quarter. It added 2 million new users -- better growth than expected -- and made a lot more money than investors predicted.

Sales climbed 61% to $502 million, while the consensus had been $481 million.

Tuesday's earnings report was notable in two other ways: The call was broadcast on Periscope, the company's live-stream service, for the first time. And it was Dorsey's first earnings call since taking over as interim CEO earlier this month.

He replaced Dick Costolo, who served as chief executive for almost five years.

It's still unclear if Dorsey will remain at his post permanently. He also runs mobile payments startup Square, which could file for an initial public offering soon, according to a Bloomberg report last week.

When Twitter set up a CEO search committee a few weeks after Costolo's depature, the company said it will only consider "candidates who are in a position to make a full-time commitment to Twitter."

More than 20,000 people watched Dorsey lead the call from their phones and computers, according to stats from the Periscope app, and sometimes users got a message that the "broadcast was too full" to add new viewers.

Social Surge - What's Trending

Mortgage

CNNMoney Sponsors