Happy birthday, Twitter! The micro-blogging network celebrated its 10th anniversary this week. Over the past decade, the little bird has seen a lot, and in honor of this momentous occasion, we’re going to take a look back at some of the milestones and innovations brought to us by Twitter:
From the first tweet to the advent of the hashtag and beyond, it’s been an eventful decade to say the least. While we can’t run through them all, there’s still much to talk about. Without further ado, here are some of the biggest milestones in Twitter’s history:
1. The First Tweet: Everything has to have a beginning, and Twitter’s began March 21, 2006. Who sent it? None other than Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. Note the spelling.
just setting up my twttr
— Jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
2. #Hashtag: The thing that has become a staple in almost every social media profile was introduced by Chris Messina in 2007. Its purpose? To help unify conversations around big topics. Since then, it has become a fixture for most media, from pop culture phenomenon (#TheDress, television shows) to major news stories (#BringBackOurGirls, #BostonStrong, #JeSuisCharlie).
3. Citizen Journalism: “Citizen journalism” is defined as a collection of information by the general public. In 2009, we got a taste of that when a US Airways flight made an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
This wouldn’t be the last time. Local news and even national media outlets have taken to using tweets to gather information. In 2011, one user even inadvertently live-tweeted the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound.
4. The First Million: Many people reach milestones when it comes to how many followers they’ve amassed. As for who was the first to reach 1 million followers? That honor goes to Ashton Kutcher, who hit the mark in April 2009.
Who was the fastest to get to 1 million? Caitlin Jenner joined in 2015 and reached the milestone in less than four hours, breaking the record when Barack Obama (@POTUS) joined.
As for who has the most presently? Pop star Katy Perry sits atop the mountain at over 84 million followers, with Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Barack Obama, and YouTube rounding out the rest of the top 5.
And for the account that started this whole thing? Twitter sits at #9 with 53+ million followers.
5. Tweets From Space: Tweets are no longer contained to just the earth, and we found that out in January 2010 when Astronaut TJ Creamer sent the first tweet from space.
Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station — the 1st live tweet from Space! More soon, send your ?s
— TJ Creamer (@Astro_TJ) January 22, 2010
Today, you can find astronauts providing their own updates and photos, and even one for the International Space Station.
6. Arab Spring: Users saw a first-hand look at the pro-democracy protests in Cairo, Egypt in January 2011. Citizens who wanted to have a voice took to platforms such as Twitter to sound off. Other protests and ways to raise awareness of what was going on were organized all throughout social media.
7. “Four More Years”: November 2012 marked more than just a second consecutive presidential term for Barack Obama. A single tweet reading “Four more years” with a photo of him embracing his wife, Michelle, became the most retweeted tweet of all time.
Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
This record stood for roughly a year-and-a-half, when it was broken by Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the Oscars.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
8. The Pope: Pope Benedict became the first Pope to join Twitter. Eight different accounts were created so he could tweet in different languages.
9. Not Alone: Twitter isn’t shouting things into a vacuum. It can be used to lift people up and support those around them. This was evident when the world was rocked by tragedy, including the Boston Marathon Bombing (#BostonStrong), the Paris Bombings (#PrayForParis), Boko Haram kidnapping girls from a Nigerian village (#BringBackOurGirls), to more recent news like the attack on Brussels. Millions of tweets were sent following each, ranging from those offering updates (see #2 and 3), to messages of support.
10. Leo’s Big Night: Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his illusive Oscar in 2016, and not surprisingly, the internet reacted. News of his win spiked 440,000 tweets per second, breaking a record previously held by Ellen DeGeneres just a few years prior.
What does the next decade hold for Twitter? Only time will tell. Here’s to 10 years, and many more.
Mastroianni, Brian. “Tweet-worthy milestones from Twitter’s first 10 years.” CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/twitter-celebrates-its-10th-anniversary/ March 21, 2016
Hutchinson, Andrew. “Twitter Showcases Key Milestones and Data on 10th Birthday.” Social Media Today. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/twitter-showcases-key-milestones-and-data-10th-birthday-infographic?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Social%20Media%20Today%20%28all%20posts%29 March 21, 2016
“Twitter Top 10 Most Followers.” Twitter Counter. http://twittercounter.com/pages/100?utm_expid=102679131-70.Cf2Z6uGtR42NAFBYKQT74A.0&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
“Top 5 Most Retweeted Tweets In History.” WeRSM. http://wersm.com/top-5-retweeted-tweets-in-history/ March 5, 2014