The future of Twitter

The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device in this photo illustration, as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange, November 7, 2013.
Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

(CBS News) Twitter is a way to transmit brief messages to people around the world. And this past week investors sent their own sort of message . . . bidding up the opening price of Twitter stock a full 60 percent in just its first two days of trading. So why are so many people so bullish on Twitter? Tracy Smith takes a look now in our "Sunday Morning" Cover Story:

At Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, even the folks who didn't make millions in this past week's IPO are treated like they did. They get all the typically enviable dot-com company goodies: a relaxed work environment . . . free gourmet meals . . . and the knowledge that they've helped change the way the world communicates.

President Obama tweets. So does the pope, CBS News, and just about every celebrity you can name.

In case you don't tweet, it works like this: on Twitter, users can send messages through a global online network -- ANY message, as long as it's 140 characters or less.

In two seconds or less, your tweet goes out to everyone who's signed up to see it, and they can send it on (or "re-tweet") to all of their users, and so on, until your tweet makes its way around the Twitter network, and the world, to be seen or answered by anyone.


"I'm always surprised to see people that are talking with one another that you'd never expect to be talking with one another," said Michael Sippey, Twitter's product VP.

Like? "So, Drake, Canadian rapper, drops a tweet that says:

And T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil magnate, replies and says,

And you're sure they were the real Drake and Pickens?

"It was the two real people, Drake and T. Boone Pickens, having a conversation on Twitter," replied Sippey . "And that's amazing."

Jack Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006, when he and a few pals started sending messages to each other.

"Your original tweets were a lot about, like, what you were eating for lunch," said Smith.

"Yes, they were," Dorsey said. "And my mom really appreciated that, 'cause she knew I was eating, and she knew I was alive."

Before long, Twitter took off . . . and so did Dorsey's profile, though he's been accused of taking too much credit for what was really a group invention.

Smith asked, "What's your version of the creation?"

"You know, there's so many different stories, but it's not really the most important thing anymore," he replied.

"So, would you say now, 'I founded Twitter,' or, 'We founded Twitter'?"

"It's always been we," he said.

"Was that frustrating to you, though, to hear other people have different versions of the Twitter creation?"

"I mean, it's not surprising. But you know, if we focus too much on that, we're not going to move forward, right? The past is the past. Stories will be written."

Whatever the story, there's still a lot of room for growth.

In a CBS News poll, only 16 percent of American adults age 18 and over say they use Twitter.