The very first tweet saw the light of day in 2006. 15 years later, on March 21, 2021, Twitter celebrated its anniversary. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine public discussion culture without the platform. We take a look back at 15 years of Twitter.
On March 21, 2006, at 9:50 p.m., software developer Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet. He tweeted on a prototype of the short message service, which was still in its infancy at the time:
just setting up my twttr
— jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
One of the most popular social networks of all time was born, and at the time it was still known as twttr. A short time later, in April 2007, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams founded Twitter Inc. under the name by which we know the microblogging service today.
15 years of Twitter: Hashtags, tweets and retweets
Twitter is now one of the most influential social networks around. On average, the platform registers over 192 million active users every day. Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. employs more than 5,200 people worldwide.
Twitter is generally regarded as one of the most powerful media in the world. This is because the network is more popular than its rival Facebook, especially in politics, science and the media industry.
To promote a culture of public discussion, Twitter has therefore raised the maximum number of characters for a tweet from 140 to 280 over the years. But a few prominent users continue to cause a stir and present Twitter with unexpected challenges.
From microblog to political mouthpiece
In the recent past, Twitter has repeatedly been confronted with issues such as fake news, racism and freedom of speech. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, in particular, repeatedly made headlines and caused a furor.
Meanwhile, Twitter employees added various comments to Trump’s tweets. For example, in numerous posts, Twitter pointed out that they were not facts.
In the wake of the events on Jan. 6, 2021, when the U.S. Capitol was stormed, Trump was accused of inciting the mob with his tweets. Twitter subsequently suspended Trump’s account indefinitely.
Opinion poll just in time for anniversary
Just in time for its 15th anniversary, Twitter is now asking its users in a survey how they deal with top politicians. The goal is to adapt the guidelines to the political discourse and to guarantee a balanced exchange.
The main question is whether politicians should be subject to the same rules as other users and what sanctions are appropriate if they violate the guidelines. The survey started on March 19, 2021, runs until April 12, 2021, and is available in 14 languages.
Jack Dorsey sells very first tweet
One day after the anniversary, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he had sold his very first tweet. He auctioned off the 24-character post (including spaces) for 2.9 million US dollars via the Valuables platform.
The winning bid was won by Sina Estavi, head of blockchain platform Bridge Oracle. Dorsey, meanwhile, announced that he had transferred the proceeds in Bitcoins and donated them to the charity Give Directly.