Twitter’s History as Told by #FirstTweets

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Did you know that there are over 500 million Tweets sent today?

That’s about 6,000 Tweets per second. Who knew an SMS-like platform could spurn such a following that will become one of the most invaluable – and influential – social media networks we know of today. What started as Jack Dorsey’s (Twitter co-founder) idea of keeping tabs on friends is now a worldwide phenomena. Twitter has certainly come a long way. In 2006, Jack wanted something to keep people in the loop that was like an SMS service – but isn’t. Back then, they were still at Odeo (a podcasting company) and co-founder Evan Williams gave the green light to Jack to spend more time on the project.

Software developer Noah Glass, was said to have given the names ‘twttr’ (its earlier form) and ‘Twitter’ to the future social media giant. It was cool then to drop the vowels for domain names. But the site’s supposedly original moniker was: ‘stat.us’.

Twitter’s moment in the sun came in 2007 during the South By Southwest Interactive conference. With about 60,000 Tweets a day during the affair, it went from being a simple social platform to a sort of news channel, with all the people wanting to be kept in the loop.

 

Although Twitter has grown in numbers (in terms of Tweets and subscribers), the premise remains the same: you only get 140 characters to type in your thoughts. This represents the limitation of mobile phones based on sending SMS standards. While it may look constricting, others have used it to their advantage by posting creative, witty, and ingenious Tweets. Like this first tweet from space, sent on January of 2010 by astronaut, Timothy Creamer.


With its ever growing population, it’s no surprise that Twitter will usually experience downtime. In 2008, something beautiful came out of this dilemma when co-founder Biz Stone found artist and designer Yiying Lu’s work. Known today as the ‘Fail Whale’, it was Yiying’s birthday icon she used to send to friends all over the world. The simple yet whimsical design comprised of a sleepy white whale being carried by eight birds on a huge net. Stone thought it was an awesome representation of what the site was going through: and so it was Twitter’s official downtime error screen up until 2013. And so we say goodbye to the Fail Whale – but not to Yiying’s awesome art, of course.

 

Like most social media platforms, Twitter was powered by users – in particular, user ideas. When people needed a way to reach others, they would use the [email protected] symbol and hashtag ‘#’ their way out of the chaos. What began as ‘inventions out of necessity’ became the Twitter language we know and love today. The ‘ReTweet’ function is another ingenious user addition into the platform. Before the function was formally integrated in 2010, users had been adding ‘RT’ or ‘ReTweet’ before their Tweets to signify that you are broadcasting someone else’s post to your followers.


According to online users, the first ReTweet came from Eric Rice, a Product and Marketing Exec. Meanwhile, the first hashtag belonged to Chris Messina on 2007; and the first [email protected] mention by Robert Anderson.

 

People weren’t too keen on the idea at first – but the public followed suit (and so did Facebook regarding hashtags) and a whole new culture evolved.

The Way We Tweet Today

The social media we know today certainly would feel empty without Twitter. Thanks to plenty of updates, we can now add pictures, emojis, and videos. The platform has been indispensable for keeping tabs on what’s hot and what’s not. Whether you’re in the digital marketing industry OR you simply want to spy on your friends, Twitter offers a quick, unique way to connect.


This year, Twitter will be upping its game yet again by giving search engine giant Google access to their database (also known as ‘Firehose’). This allows Tweets to be searchable on the search engine; giving non-subscribers a view of what the platform has in store for them. Developers are slowly updating their systems, but the launch isn’t for a couple of months. As both parties are tight-lipped on the matter, users and social media marketers just need to stay tuned for more details.

 


See our social media strategist’s #FirstTweet!

Hopefully, not only will future updates benefit the Twitter-verse, but the entire social media sphere as well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for all things good!

In celebration of Twitter’s 9th anniversary, do you remember your #FirstTweet?
Come join the conversation on Twitter!

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1 Comment

  • Milagros Reply

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