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Twitter Birthday: 21 March

Happy Birthday Twitter - 21 March

Twitter was founded on 21st March 2006 and the first tweet was posted a day later by founder Jack Dorsey. The test message – “just setting up my twttr” – can still be found on the web site – Link.

The service was created by four young entrepreneurs – Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Noah Glass and Evan Williams – and, at the beginning, was confined to the people at Odeo, a podcasting company which two of the developers had founded.

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Twitter was originally called twttr as evident from the first tweet. This 5-letter name worked well with the American SMS short codes. Six months later, the domain name Twitter.com was purchased and service was renamed to Twitter.

The SMS-based communication service was officially launched on 15th July 2006. It was the first-of-its-kind service on the web – being social networking and microblogging rolled into one.

Twitter didn’t pick up immediately. However, after the 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference, the usage jumped manifold. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The ease-of-use and quick dispersal of information has made Twitter the go-to place to check for news and updates. And this is why Twitter usage spikes during prominent events. For instance, on Michael Jackson’s death (25 June 2009), people were posting tweets with the name of the deceased musician at the rate of 100,000 per hour.

Here are a few less-known facts about Twitter:

  • On 22nd January 2010, the first tweet was posted from space by T. J. Creamer. The NASA astronaut was aboard the International Space Station.
  • The world record for the number of tweets was set in Japan on 3rd August 2013 during the screening of Castle In The Sky movie on television. Viewers posted 143,199 tweets in a second.
  • The Twitter logo features a bird, now known only as, Twitter Bird. In it’s earlier form, the bird was called Larry – named after Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics.
  • In addition to the logo, Twitter is known for another iconic image – the fail whale. It used to be displayed when Twitter servers were overworked. The illustration was of a whale being lifted on a net by eight little birds. It was created by Yiying Lu of Sydney, Australia, independently of Twitter. In fact, the designer hadn’t known of microblogging service at the time of creating the fail whale. Lu had made it as a birthday e-card for a friend! She referred to as Lifting Up a Dreamer. Years later, the image was picked up by Biz Stone from iStockPhoto where Lu had uploaded. Check out WhatIsFailWhale.info for more information the site is run by the designer Yiying Lu.

Fail Whale illustration created by designer Yiying Lu

Image Source: Yiying Lu from www.whatisfailwhale.info

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