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Twitter: A History

Twitter was born in 2006 when a podcasting company called Odeo realised it was about to be sunk by Apple and others. So they brainstormed for another idea.

One of the ideas was this: a way to send SMSes to small groups about what you were doing. Jack Dorsey, whose idea it was, described it thus:

“I want to have a dispatch service that connects us on our phones using text.”

The first version of the software, however, was entirely web-based—meaning it sat in the browser.

It was called stat.us, for a while, and that was the basic idea. A message which answers the question:

What are you doing?

In early 2006 twttr, as it was then called, was launched to the public.

Still, very few people understood its value. At the time most people were paying per SMS message, and so wouldn’t Twttr run up our bills? Also, how were we supposed to use this thing and who cares what I’m doing?

They cut the message length back to 140 characters—20 shy of an SMS message—so there was room for a username and a colon in front of the message.

Geeks turned the small service into a hit at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. During the event, usage tripled from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. The Twitter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages, according to Newsweek:

Hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it. Soon everyone was buzzing and posting about this new thing that was sort of instant messaging and sort of blogging and maybe even a bit of sending a stream of telegrams.

But it broke out into the mainstream in 2008.

One Response

  1. […] To start off, here is a post on Twitter explained and some Twitter history. To learn how to set up an account, go […]

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