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The history of twitter
Twitter, online microblogging service for distributing short messages among groups of recipients via personal computer or mobile telephone. Twitter incorporates aspects of social networking websites with instant messaging technologies to create networks of users who can communicate throughout the day with brief messages, or “tweets.” A user types a tweet via mobile phone keypad or computer and sends it to Twitter’s server, which relays it to a list of other users (known as followers) who have signed up to receive the sender’s tweets. In addition, users can elect to track specific topics by clicking on hashtags (e.g., #movies), creating a dialogue of sorts, and pushing the number of followers in a given Twitter feed into the millions. Tweets may be on any subject, ranging from jokes to news to dinner plans, but they cannot exceed 280 characters.
Twitter began as an idea that Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (@Jack) had in 2006. Dorsey had originally imagined Twitter as an SMS-based communications platform. Groups of friends could keep tabs on what each other were doing based on their status updates. Like texting, but not.
During a brainstorming session at the podcasting company Odeo, Dorsey proposed this SMS-based platform to Odeo's co-founder Evan Williams (@Ev). Evan and his co-founder Biz Stone (@Biz) by extension gave Jack the go-ahead to spend more time on the project and develop it further.
In its early days, Twitter was referred to as twttr. At the time, a popular trend, sometimes to gain a domain-name advantage, was to drop vowels in the name of their companies and services. Software developer Noah Glass (@Noah) is credited with coming up with the original name twttr as well as its final incarnation as Twitter.
The First Tweet
Jack sent the first message on Twitter on March 21, 2006, 9:50 p.m. It read, "just setting up my twttr."
During the development of Twitter, team members would often rack up hundreds of dollars in SMS charges to their personal phone bills.
While the initial concept of Twitter was being tested at Odeo, the company was going through a rough patch. Faced with Apple's release of its own podcasting platform — which essentially killed Odeo's business model — the founders decided to buy their company back from the investors.
Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and other members of Odeo staff facilitated the buyback.
By doing this, they acquired the rights to the Twitter platform. There is some controversy surrounding how this all took place. It's questionable whether Odeo investors knew the full scope of the Twitter platform.
Also, key members of the Twitter development team were not brought on to the new company, most notably, Noah Glass.
As a formality, Obvious Corporation (@obviouscorp) was created after the investor buyback of Odeo in order to house Twitter.
Twitter Achieves Explosive Growth
Twitter was now on the cusp of its biggest growth spurt. The 2007 South By Southwest (@sxsw) Interactive conference saw a huge explosion of Twitter usage. More than 60,000 tweets were sent per day at the event. The Twitter team had a huge presence at the event and took advantage of the viral nature of the conference and its attendees.
Twitter had its fair share of growing pains during its formative years. Twitter's user base grew at astounding rates and quite frequently the service would be over capacity.
When servers overloaded, an illustration by artist Yiying Lu (@YiyingLu) appeared on the screen. The illustration featured a whale being lifted out of the water to safety by eight birds. The Twitter team used this image because they thought it symbolized the acknowledgment of the problem and that they were working on it. This error page went viral within the Twitter community and soon was dubbed the "Fail
User Innovation on Twitter
As Twitter's user base started growing, a funny thing started to happen: Users created new jargon and different ways to use the service. Think of it as innovation borne of necessity.
Initially, users had no way of replying to one another on Twitter. Some users would include an @ symbol before a username to identify another user within a Tweet. This became such a prevalent way to acknowledge another user that the Twitter team added the functionality natively to the Twitter platform. The same thing happened with hashtags, which are now an integral part of the Twitter ecosystem.
This user-driven functionality is also the source of retweets. Users wanted a way to re-post a message from a Twitter user while including credit to the user who originally tweeted it. Users started to add RT before sending the message, signaling to their followers that the following tweet was a report. In August 2010, this functionality was officially added to the platform.