On March 21, 2006, six years ago today, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sent the first public tweet into cyberspace. It took the 140-character social networking site three years to reach its first billion tweets and 18 months for the first 500,000 users to sign up, according to USA Today. In April 2011, Twitter announced it had 200 million users. Some estimate that Twitter has 500 million people using its real-time social networking service today. And last October, Twitter said it was reaching 250 million tweets per day, and that number is likely much higher now.
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The social networking service started out as an off-hand project from the creators of podcasting company Odeo, reported Mashable, but it was often plagued by slow periods in its first couple of years. Now stable, Twitter handles and hashtags have become a part of our culture — they're seen on TV and in movie trailers, and they've also helped organize some of the most important revolutions of our time.
So what were the words that launched Twitter to the top of the social networking stratosphere? "just setting up my twttr."
Although they were the first, Dorsey's words might not be as original as we once thought. His fellow Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone were also "just setting up my twttr" when they tweeted their first words. The same goes for many others, including @meredith, whose first tweet used the same words, but whose second tweet was "typing my first message." It seems Twitter's first words were auto-generated or cut-and-pasted by the founders and the company's first round of employees, according to CNET.
Today, Twitter is looking to move beyond its current social network status to become a viable business. According to USA Today, Twitter's advertising revenue will triple by 2014, going from $260 million this year to over $540 million. But even with revenues rising, the company is still reportedly losing money, with employees more than doubling over the last year (from 400 to 900) and infrastructure and operations becoming costly. With its recent push to create more advertising products and fatten its wallet, Twitter is giving its all to stay on top.
So a happy birthday to you, Twitter, as you continue your voyage on the internet superhighway and try to make it to seven years on top.