Last week Twitter celebrated its sixth birthday. Hard to believe, isn’t it. *pinches Twitter’s cheeks & ruffles its hair*.
Twitter has come a long way since it launched back in 2006, and has since then clocked up an impressive (and aptly numbered) 140 million active users, who now send 340 million tweets a day.
Without you, of course, there wouldn’t be a Twitter. We mark our sixth birthday with you in mind, and celebrate your myriad ways of engaging, enjoying, and emoting on our platform. As Jack noted when he posted his sketch of the service he envisioned, “I’m happy this idea has taken root; I hope it thrives.” Thanks to you, it is.
So as Twitter nurses its birthday hangover, I thought I’d take a look at some notable moments that Twitter has presented us with over the past six years. While it would take forever to list every tweet or piece of Twitter-related news that’s caught the world’s attention in one way or another, here’s a few that have stuck in my mind.
The first update
21 March 2006 – When Twitter was Twttr. This is the first tweet, sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
April 10 2008 – Journalism student James Karl Buck and his translator were arrested in Egypt while covering an anti-government protest. While being taken away by the authorities James was able to tweet a single word: “arrested”. This tweet sparked action from his followers and friends and helped lead to his release just days later.
Obama wins US election, thanks followers
5 Nov 2008 – Barack Obama elected the first black president of the United States. He took to Twitter offer his thanks via this tweet:
There’s a plane in the Hudson!
15 Jan 2009 – Within minutes of US Airways flight 1549 landing in New York’s Hudson river, Twitter was buzzing with the news. The image in the tweet below spread like wildfire across the web and was picked up by numerous blogs and news sites.
First tweet from space
22 January 2010 – NASA astronaut TJ Creamer made Twitter history by tweeting from outer space. He tweeted this from the International Space Station:
First footballer charged for improper conduct
January 2011 – Ryan Babel became the first (but not the last) professional footballer to be fined by the FA for improper conduct for his actions on Twitter. In response to some questionable decisions by referee Howard Webb, Babel tweeted, “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH [shaking my head]” and this mocked-up picture of Webb in a Manchester United Shirt:
Charlie Sheen wins Twitter
1 March 2011 – Charlie’s public breakdown made interesting viewing and attracted widespread attention from across the web. So much so that he set a new world record – fastest time to reach 1 million followers (25 hours and 17 minutes)… #winning
2 May 2011 – News of Osama Bin Laden’s death spread across Twitter 45 minutes before President Obama announced it officially. This tweet from Keith Urbahn was the first credible source of information:
Riot clean up
9 August 2011 – On the wake of the UK riots, Twitter was used to mobilise volunteers to help clean up the damage caused across London. The #riotcleanup hashstag quickly became the UK’s number one trending topic and this image tweeted by user @Lawcol888 went viral:
RIP Steve Jobs
5 October 2011 – The tragic passing of Steve Jobs provoked the biggest online reaction of any event in recent history. Figures were estimated to peak at 10,000 tweets per second.
Lady Gaga hits 20 million followers
March 4 2012 – The singer set a record, becoming the first person to attract 20 million followers on Twitter. While the singer didn’t seem to acknowledge this achievement, she did tweet this a month earlier: