Dorsey is currently the CEO of Square, the online payment service, and will continue to serve in both roles. He will reportedly not be taking a salary as CEO of Twitter.
Dorsey takes the reins at Twitter in a moment of crisis for the company, with Wall Street in doubt about the service’s future as it fails to keep up with Facebook and Instagram in terms of exponential growth. According to the NY Times, in the second quarter of this year, Twitter had 316 million users, a number that has been “largely flat for some time.”
Twitter has been slow to embrace video and messaging, two features many believe to be the future of online communication. It has also struggled to find a mobile advertising scheme that works.
In one of his first moves as CEO this week, Dorsey is rumored to debut Project Lightning, a feature that would combine the powers of Twitter’s livesteaming app Periscope with news aggregation, presenting curated collections of photos, video, and tweets relevant to breaking news as it develops on the spot. It will also help advertisers who have been looking for a way to autoplay their video ads on the network.
Historically, Dorsey has had what some might describe as an on-again off-again with Twitter, a company he founded, along with Biz Stone and Evan Williams, in 2006. Originally inspired by experiences listening to police scanners as a childhood obsession, as well as his work as a taxi dispatcher, Dorsey brought microbursts of information to a whole new audience. He served as Twitter’s CEO in 2006, but was essentially forced out in 2008. He later became the CEO of Square, in 2009. His recent appointment as permanent CEO will largely revolve around the question of how Dorsey, one of Twitter’s original visionaries, will move the platform into longform publishing, competing with Facebook.