Little Bits of History

July 15

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 15, 2017

2006: Twitter launches. Odeo, a podcasting company, held a daylong brainstorming session with board members. Jack Dorsey, an undergrad student at New York University, brought up the idea of using a SMS service to communicate with a small group. They went with the idea and the original project code name was twttr, a name inspired by Flickr (an image hosting site) and using the five character length of American SMS short codes. At the time, twitter.com was already registered elsewhere and it would take six months after the launch on this date before the new company could purchase the name and change the name of their service/product to Twitter. Work on the project began on March 21, 2006 with Dorsey’s first tweet. He posted, at 9.50 PM Pacific Standard Time, “just setting up my twttr”.

The first prototype, developed by Dorsey and Florian Weber, was for internal Odeo employees only. The full version became available to the public on this day. In October Biz Stone, Evan Williams, and Dorsey along with some other Odeo staff formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo and its assets which included odeo.com and twitter.com. in 2007, the product was featured at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) which boosted use by three times. The following month, Twitter spun off as its own company. Part of the original problem was the vague idea of what Twitter actually was.

The SMS concept allows people to post and read “tweets” but there were constraints. The most obvious one was the length permitted for any single tweet – 140 characters. Twitters wasn’t exactly like anything that had gone before. It was listed as a social media and a microblogging site. It was simply a new idea and users began tweeting more and more. Twitter grew dramatically. In 2007, it hosted 400,000 tweets per quarter and by 2008 it had grown to 1,000,000. In February 2010, there were 50 million tweets per day. A year later, 140 million tweets per day were posted.

Twitter held its IPO in 2013 and claimed more than 200 million monthly users and over 500 million tweets daily. Their first day of stock trading began at $26 and ended at $44.90 which valued the company at $31 billion. In January 2016, it was announced that more characters would be added to tweets, but only the first 140 would show and any extras would need to be asked for. While the majority of tweets are “pointless babble” or “conversational” there is great potential for the site to be used for actual news transmission. During the 2016 US Presidential election, Twitter was the largest source of breaking news with 40 million tweets sent by 10 PM Eastern Standard Time. Today, there are about 320 million active users and the company has 25 offices around the world.  They have about 4,000 employees.

Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand. – Amy Jo Martin

There are a lot of pros and cons about social media; it’s just how you choose to handle it and how you have to be prepared for the negatives as well. – Aubrey Peeples

The dark side of social media is that, within seconds, anything can be blown out of proportion and taken out of context. And it’s very difficult not to get swept up in it all. – Nicola Formichetti

What’s interesting about Twitter and the influencers that someone follows – like, say, Shaquille O’Neal – is that they see someone who is using the exact same tools that they have access to, and I think that inspires this hope to be able to really engage with someone like him. – Jack Dorsey

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