Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows users to send short instant messages also referred to as “tweets”.
What started as a side project for a former Odeo employee Jack Dosey has gone on to become one of the largest social networks on the internet.
Today, Twitter has more than 330 million active users, and it’s hard to imagine that this growth has been achieved in less than 20 years.
So, would you like to know what is and who created Twitter?
Well, we intend to answer these and more questions including when was Twitter created and what was the first tweet.
And when you’re done check out our other helpful Twitter guides:
- Twitter Logo History: Evolution and Meaning
- Who Owns Twitter, When Was It Founded, History, And Timeline
- Who Is on the Twitter Board of Directors?
- Who Is the Owner of Twitter in 2022?
- How Much Is Twitter Worth 2022?
Table of Contents
What Is Twitter?
Twitter is an online platform that allows users to communicate using tweets. Tweets are short instant messages that are limited to 280 characters.
A Twitter user’s tweets are visible to anyone who is following them. Users can also embed a video or article link to their tweets. They can also add GIFs, pictures, polls, and other content to their tweets.
Twitter due to its microblogging characteristic is easy to scan and read at a glance. It also encourages the purposeful use of language to pass a message across. These are some of the few reasons that make this platform so popular.
To get started on Twitter, users need to create a Twitter account and follow the community rules. With an account, one can post, share, and like tweets. Users can also use an organic Twitter growth service to increase their followers.
To post a tweet, the user clicks on the text box that reads “what’s happening.” Once done drafting their message they can now click on “Tweet.”
To engage with other users on the platform, one can retweet a tweet, which is the same as sharing or agreeing with another person’s tweet. You can also comment on the tweet or like the tweet by clicking on the “heart” button. To direct message the tweet to one person or group, you can use the mail icon.
How Twitter Was Founded
The history of Twitter dates back to 2006 when Evan Williams, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey came together and founded Odeo, a podcasting platform.
Unfortunately, the launch of iTunes by Apple saw Odeo become obsolete as the former came with a podcasting feature.
Seeing that Odeo was on its deathbed, Evan Williams who was Odeo’s CEO set up brainstorming sessions. The sessions were meant to come up with a way forward for the dying company. During one of these sessions, Jack Dorsey came up with an idea for a platform that could offer SMS status updates. He shared the idea with Williams and Biz Stone and the two encouraged Jack to develop the idea further. Noah Glass who was also Odeo’s cofounder is said to be the one who gave this project the name “Twttr.”
Twitter allowed users to send their status updates to small groups using the SMS code 40404. Using the platform, users could send a text message to one person and the text would be shared with other contacts as the user desired.
Who Invented Twitter
Twitter was invented by four people namely, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone. The four were part of the podcasting venture Odeo.
Jack Dorsey, an engineer, was the one who proposed the idea of an SMS platform that could be used to send short blog-like updates to friends. Dorsey had come up with a concept that he named “status” that would allow people to send status updates to their friends. He shared the idea with Odeo board members during one of the hackathons organized by Odeo’s CEO Evan Williams.
Williams bought the idea and decided to invest Odeo’s resources in it. Noah, who had loved the idea from the start, came up with the name Twttr for the platform. Noah later changed this name to what we know today as Twitter.
When Twitter Was Created
Twitter was created on 21st March 2006. The platform was founded from the ashes of San Francisco-based podcasting firm Odeo.
The early version of Twitter which was known as Twttr was used solely by Odeo employees but on 15th July 2006, the platform was officially launched to the public.
In a strategic move, Evan Williams and Biz Stone who owned shares at Odeo offered to buy other assets of the company from the startup investors. The buyback was facilitated by the two plus Jack Dorsey and other Odeo employees. This move allowed the young entrepreneurs to gain a controlling interest in the company.
Evan Williams later renamed the company “The Obvious Corporation”. It’s also at this time that he fired Noah Glass.
Other Twitter developments that are worth noting from 2007 to today include:
- 2007– Jack Dorsey is named Twitter CEO in April 2007
- 2008 – Evan Williams replaces Jack Dorsey as Twitter CEO
- 2010 – Twitter launches promoted tweets, a feature meant to increase the company’s profitability
- 2011 – US president Barack Obama becomes the first president to host a Twitter town hall at the White House
- 2012 – Twitter acquires the short video hosting platform Vine
- 2013 – Twitter releases its IPO valued at $31billion
- 2015 – Tweets are included in Google search results
- 2016 – Twitter shuts down the Vine video service
- 2018 – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testify before the senate
- 2020 – Twitter added Fleets, which is a collection of tweets designed to disappear within 24 hours
- 2021 – Fleet is discontinued, and Twitter Spaces is introduced. The latter allows users to host live audio conversations
- 2022 – Twitter announces that entrepreneur Elon Musk was set to purchase the platform for $44 billion. Musk would later withdraw his bid three months after the announcement
The First Tweet
The first Tweet was sent on 21st March 2006 at 9:50 p.m. by Jack Dorsey. The tweet was “just setting up my Twttr.”
In the first few months, Twttr saw a growth in the number of tweets to around 20,000 daily. By 2007, the number of daily tweets had grown to around 60,000.
In April 2007, Twitter had grown so much that it separated from its parent company Odeo. It was during this period that the founders also decided to increase the platform’s 140-character limit to 280 characters. The higher character count was more relevant in the smartphone age. Besides, it helped users spend more time communicating rather than condensing their thoughts.
The platform’s popularity further grew when it received notable recognition at the Austin Texas based South by SouthWest Interactive Conference. During the conference, Twitter founders heavily promoted the platform which prompted many of the conference goers to send and share tweets.
By 2008 the number of tweets per day had grown to 300,000 and this number rose to around 50 million by early 2010.
Despite its impressive growth, Twitter did have its issues, especially in its early years. For instance, its servers would often become overloaded due to the high user base. During such instances, an illustration by artist Yiying Lu of a whale being lifted out of the water by eight orange birds would appear on the screen. This illustration would later be named the “Fail Whale” by the Twitter community.
Today, most users use Twitter to stay in touch with their family and friends. The platform is also an important networking tool as professionals use it to network with those with similar interests as them.
The platform is also used to:
- To share breaking news – Twitter has often been used to share breaking news. For instance, when a US Airways plane crashed in 2009, Janis Krums used Twitter to spread the news before other media outlets could do the same. The platform is an up-to-date news source that transcends borders.
- Disseminate insider information – The platform is also used to disseminate political and business insider information across political borders. For instance, during the Iranian election in 2009, the topic #IranElection became one of the most popular subjects on the platform. In 2009, an economics professor from Georgia sent a series of tweets recounting the days that led to the 2008 Russia and Georgia military conflict. Twitter also became a powerful high-tech news tool during the Haiti earthquake in 2010 which prompted the Red Cross to use it as a fundraising tool.
- Promotional platform – Following the growth of Twitter, brands also started sending tweets to promote their events, giveaways, and products. Additionally, celebrities and PR teams are using the platform to post announcements and advertise their services.
- Political communication tool – Twitter is not only used to communicate among friends but also as a political campaign communication tool. For instance, in 2008 US president Barack Obama used Twitter among other social media tools to gain followers. This saw other politicians follow suit as they also started using social networking platforms such as Twitter to campaign
Over the years, Twitter has become one of the most popular social media platforms. The site that is both an instant messaging and a social networking site receives more than 500 million tweets daily.Undoubtedly, this site that was started as a simple messaging app has gone on to become more than a social networking platform. Today individuals and businesses alike are using Twitter for entertainment, to promote their products, and to share news and business insider information.