Twitter’s Eighth Birthday: The First Tweet, A Retrospective
In celebration of eight years of Twitter, the social media company launched a new website that gives users a look at their “First Tweet.” Let’s take an eight-year look back at Twitter to see what the first-ever tweet was, and what happened after.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter wrote the first tweet ever in 2006: “Just setting up my twtr,” was what it said.
In 2006, Dorsey and Twitter’s other co-founders were indeed just setting it up. The original idea for Twitter sprouted in February 2006 when Dorsey (still an undergrad at NYU) Noah Glass, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone began discussing the idea of using text messages to share statuses. The original idea is normally attributed to Dorsey, who called the idea “status” at the time.
Soon after, the name Twitter first appeared in connection to the status update idea. Attributed to Noah Glass, the original spelling of Twitter was twttr, aping the spelling of another successful website at the time, Flickr. The first news covereage of Twitter happened just a few months after the original conception, when Glass told Om Malik of GigaOm about twttr. By August of the same year, Twitter is used to report a mild earthquake in California, giving people a sense of what timely information sharing Twitter could be used for in the future.
The next big thing to happen for Twitter, which got is current name when the founders (now without Glass) organized and acquired Twitter.com, would be the next March — of 2007 — at the South by Southwest Interactive event. This is usually seen as the tipping point for Twitter, as attendees found Twitter a great way to keep in touch with each other and learn about things that were going on at SXSW. Twitter got a big bump in publicity and usage by the end of SXSW 2007.
After that, Twitter was spun off from a podcasting company into its own company, and soon the founders received a few million in venture funding, including Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos. Dorsey leaves as CEO within a year, and by 2009 Evan Williams is running the company.
Williams introduced Twitter to a much larger audience in early 2009, by going on Oprah with Ashton Kutcher (the first Twitter user to gain 1 million followers at that time).
The rest is pretty much history. Since 2009, Twitter has been one of the root causes of the Arab Spring and other demonstration-based political disruptions around the world, and the company continued to raise more funding in the next three years, while expanding its user base to over 100 million.
By the end of 2012, the year Facebook had its IPO, Twitter announced it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users, and soon after began acquiring smaller companies with valuable tools for the social media service. Finally, in late 2013, Twitter announced it was filling an IPO, which occurred at the end of last year.
For a short, illustrated version of Twitter’s eight year history, put together by Mashable, check out this video:
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