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Happy birthday Twitter

March 24, 2011

“As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers. When you choose to follow another Twitter user, that user’s tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page. If you follow 20 people, you’ll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education.” – Steven Johnson, Time, 2009.

Twitter celebrated its 5th birthday last Monday, 21 March – and it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
For one, I only ‘got into Twitter’ because I had to for my course, as a means of promoting a ‘professional online presence’ – and so I’ve only actually been using it for a few months.  (Twitter, I’m not dissing ya, I actually adore you. But admittedly it takes a while to get used to you.)
Now is the perfect opportunity for a retrospective twitter-through-the-ages post.
From its humble beginnings on a tiny team comprised of co-founders @jack (Jack Dorsey) @ev (Evan Williams) and @biz (Biz Stone), Twitter is now an essential component in the world as we know it, impacting areas of social responsibility, politics, sports and media.
@jack posted the first tweet, ‘just setting up my twttr’ on March 21, 2006, at 9.50 pm Pacifiific Time.

2006 Twitter study by Pear Analytics

After spinning off into its own company in April 2007, and gaining considerable coverage at the 2007 South by South West (SXSW) festival, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.
The first off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on January 22, 2010 – now @NASA_astronauts.
Now, Twitter users send more than than 140 million Tweets a day, with 500,000 accounts created every day.
And according to research in 2009 by San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics, 40per cent of tweets are ‘pointless babble’, whereas 4 per cent are ‘news’ – the same amount as ‘spam’.

All in 140 characters or less.

What do you use Twitter for? Take the survey here(Photo: via Pear Analytics)

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