21 March 2016
Ten years ago today, this was the first tweet ever was sent.
Sent by Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the site, it is hard to imagine that he’d have known back then what an influential and almost essential part of modern communication the platform would become.
In 2007, Twitter’s user base were sending 5,000 tweets a day – just a year later that had grown to 300,000. Two years after that, in 2010, it was 50m tweets a day. In 2013, the latest figure was 500m a day. Whilst the company has quietened down with these figures in recent years, there’s no doubting the ongoing influence of the simple tweet.
From breaking news to connecting people from across the world, to developing as an essential business tool; the social network is now a staple part of modern life. Whilst many people, often celebrities, choose to stay away – perhaps the promise of constant updates on the world is too overwhelming – those who are connecting, are keyed into the pulse of anywhere on the planet.
People have met their husbands, wives, lost relatives and new employers through the platform. It is quite astonishing really how 140 characters can connect people in a way we never imagined. To think that people 10 years ago questioned Twitter’s purpose!
It’s a fascinating story of an idea evolving into something, I am sure that even the founders hadn’t imagined back then.
I remember during the Manchester riots, back when our office was at the top of City Tower, right in the heart of the city centre. Naturally, the team were nervous about the growing unrest in London spreading to Manchester. It was that day that I realised what a valuable tool Twitter had become. ‘Citizen journalists’ were able to post live updates, offering advice, warnings and updates as to what was happening and where.
We were able to manage our response appropriately, making sure that the team got home safely. Twitter was several miles, never mind steps, ahead of the local news outlets.
From a business point of view, we’re now able to connect with global audiences like never before. Can you imagine being tasked with sending a communication to 120,000 people with no budget back in 2005? How would you do it? Now, with a fast-growing following, we’re able to reach this many people and more; tapping into specific markets, hashtags, trends and locations.
Who knows what the future holds for Twitter, by current reports the boardroom there isn’t a great place to be at the moment. I am excited to see it respond to new challenges, evolve and grow. However, I do hope that the temptation to merge into other popular sites never takes hold. Twitter is Twitter, not Facebook or Instagram – it’s 140 characters with a chronological feed.
What do you think? What does the future hold for Twitter?