Twitter, the popular microblogging and social-networking service whose revenue strategy remains largely a mystery, is looking for people who know a thing or two about making money.
The company is listing four open positions with the word "monetization" in their title, as well as several others related to business development.
The job listings suggest Twitter is paying increased attention to ways in which it can rev up its revenue engine, now that it has evolved from a curio for techies to a mainstream communication tool used by millions of regular folks, as well as celebrities and large companies.
While the San Francisco phenom has been generously funded by its backers, industry observers have insistently questioned whether the company will be able to establish a sustainable business model. If not, speculation has been that it could be acquired by the likes of Google or Microsoft.
Twitter lets its users post text messages of up to 140 characters, a deceptively minimalistic feature that millions of individuals and thousands of organizations and external developers have found myriad ways to leverage.
The four "monetization" jobs Twitter has open are: front-end engineer, monetization; software engineer, monetization infrastructure; systems engineer, monetization; and product marketing manager, monetization.
The job descriptions for the three engineering positions don't offer many clues as to what the company's strategy will be, stating only that the chosen candidates will work in small teams in "cutting edge monetization projects" and "own the projects that you work on." Candidates are also promised "direct input into the business decisions of the company."
The marketing job posting includes more color. The person chosen will be tasked with "enhancing business users’ understanding of the value of Twitter." This can involve marketing new and existing features and products to businesses, as well as analyzing customer needs to enhance products.
David Van De Voort, a principal at Mercer, a large provider of human resources consulting services, finds interesting and potentially effective the decision to slap the term "monetization" on these job titles.
"Anyone who follows Twitter knows that this is their number one issue, so the term actually communicates very clearly what these jobs are all about," he said via e-mail.
"I can’t think of another example where a term that was not in common parlance was applied in this way, but the unique circumstances of Twitter should make this a pretty effective job title in terms of communicating to the likely talent pool what the job is," he added.
Those interested in applying shouldn't be discouraged if their current title doesn't include the M word. "Every online business has developers who have built ordering/fulfillment/payment systems, but Twitter needs to hire from the outside because, until now, they haven't had a money-making agenda," Van De Voort said. "I guarantee you that the people who will fill these jobs don't have the word 'monetization' in their job title or even in their entire job description."
Twitter is also looking to fill business development jobs focused on the media industry, which has embraced Twitter as a novel and effective tool to market its products and disseminate its content, such as articles, videos, promotions and the like.
For example, a member of the "media ecosystem" business development team will "stimulate and grow the ecosystem of third parties that facilitate meaningful Twitter integrations for media companies." These could include makers of data mining tools to surface breaking news or TV viewer reactions, or of "immersive ways" to display 'tweets' online or on-air.
"Your goal is to build up the marketplace of tools, solutions and service providers that help media companies harness the Twitter opportunity," the posting reads.
In other words, show Twitter the money.