From zero to a billion dispatches each week faster than a speeding whim, the pithy microblogging service that chronicles everything from your lousy breakfast to how to coordinate protests in Iran celebrates a kind of fifth anniversary today.
Crazy but true, it’s been exactly half a decade since Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey got the ball rolling unceremoniously at 4:50PM PST on March 21, 2006, tweeting that he was “just setting up my twttr.” Kind of quotidian, sure–and as it turned out, kind of revolutionary, too.
Twitter officially launched a few months later on July 15, 2006, and in that brief span it’s added an estimated 200 million users. What started as a kind of SMS service for small groups, conceptually fusing what Dorsey describes as a blend of “short burst[s] of inconsequential information” and “chirps from birds,” now averages about 140 million tweets a day. In fact Twitter says it recently set a record of nearly 7,000 tweets per second just after the 9.0-magnitude quake struck Japan on March 11.
To celebrate Twitter’s first tweet, here’s a quick list of five culturally memorable micro-memos to date.
1. On November 5, 2008, Barack Obama first announced he’d won the 2008 presidential election, not by stepping in front of a microphone flanked by TV cameras, but with the following 134-character tweet.
We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks
2. On January 15, 2009, commuter ferry passenger Janis Krums used Twitter to give us our first glimpse of US Airways Flight 1549, the bird-struck plane 57-year-old captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger managed to heroically ditch in the Hudson. All 155 occupants were safely evacuated.
http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.
3. On January 22, 2010, astronaut TJ Creamer said hello from about 220 miles above the earth. It turned out to be the first live 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
4. On September 4, 2010, nearly a year after leaping on stage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and snatching the mic from Taylor Swift in the middle of her acceptance speech, hip hopster Kanye West typed the following three words to his Twitter account.
I’m sorry Taylor.
5. On March 2, 2011, Charlie Sheen began the strangest descent into madness (or self-promotional brilliance) Twitter’s yet seen, tweeting the following after smashing a 24 hour Twitter follower record.
In all sincerity… Thank you Twitter community for the warm reception & the followers that helped get me to 1M in 24 hours!!! #teamsheen
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