140 or Less: Happy Birthday, Twitter

By Michelle Amodio March 21, 2011

For those of us who are now accustomed to thinking and speaking in 140 characters or less, we can thank Twitter and celebrate with them today as they mark the fifth anniversary of that fateful first tweet. 

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder sent the first tweet on this day in 2006 that said “inviting coworkers.” Since then, many have amassed their thoughts and words into the microblogging site, following every day friends and sometimes famous people, typing out the minutiae of their day, experiences and deep philosophies in very few key strokes.

To date, there have been billions of these chirps and tweets globally. Recent figures released showed that more than 140 million tweets are sent daily - about one billion a week.

Back when it first arrived, Twitter was actually called Twttr. Now known by its current moniker, the site staff includes about 400 people according to its statistics blog.

Dorsey revealed the thinking behind the quirky name Twitter in a series of tweets he was re-sending from the trial days. "The name Twitter came from @Noah Glass & the Oxford English: "a short inconsequential burst of information, chirps from birds." And so a star was born.

These days, people flock (no pun intended) to Twitter for information, to chat about their up-to-the-minute experiences, and now companies rely heavily on the site to delivery information to its customers. Celebrities have hopped on the Twitter bandwagon, tweeting their whereabouts and such to their fans. Most notably, Charlie Sheen has broken a new record, and it’s not for winning. Sheen now has three million followers on Twitter.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, this milestone has landed the self-proclaimed "unemployed winner" a spot in the Guinness World Record for being the quickest tweeter to reach one million followers earlier this month.

Trival matters aside, people have also harnessed the power of Twitter for good. With Japan experiencing its worst earthquake in years, the entire world has tuned into social media feeds like Twitter for updates and information about people affected by the quake.

Twitter has allowed the world to not only stay up to date with the crisis, but it has also been used to show maps to hospitals and shelters and even serving as a form of direct communication between journalists on the ground and people across the world wanting to ask questions.

''Twitter is open to everyone who wants to use it,'' co-founder Biz Stone said on NPR last month. ''It's open to all, and that means it's open to both good and ill. The key thing we've learnt over the years … is it's important to allow everyone access.''

Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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