It has been exactly six years since little known Jack Dorsey tweeted ‘Just setting up my twttr’ and every since that fateful March 21 in 2006, Twitter has exploded as a 140 character micro-blogging platform. Admittedly, the first tweet came while the service was still being setup but it did not take very long for the service to hit the eyes of the public as it did so on July 15, 2006. Looking back at the fateful day, today, Jack Dorsey tweeted ‘6 years ago today we started working on Twitter. Also, hello Paris!’. Also Read - Explained: Can Twitter get banned in India?
Looking at Dorsey’s first tweet, it should be noted that originally the service was spelt as ‘twttr’ not ‘Twitter’ what it eventually became. While setting up the service, Dorsey famously tweeted ‘inviting coworkers’ then tweeted ‘ waiting for Dom to update more’ and finally ended his sequence of eight tweets at ‘drawing naked people’. Also Read - Twitter vs government: Twitter India loses legal protection for not complying with IT rules on time
Frankly, no one could have predicted that such a micro-blogging service could become such ubiquitous service. With over 300 million users, today Twitter is every where and is used in a myriad of ways. Users use it as a social network, to micro-blog, and also as an information source as often news breaks first on Twitter, before any other media. Also Read - Twitter friends/followers seeking your unwanted attention could be Unmentioned
In fact, the use of Twitter as a source of breaking news is so impactful that it fast becoming a threat to popular sources of media. Classic examples of this can be seen in some of the bigger news pieces of the last year. For instance, Shoibh Athar unwittingly live blogged the assassination of Osama Bin Laden on Twitter, in the process the news broke first on twitter. Even the news of the devastating Japanese earthquake and Tsunami broke first on Twitter. Other examples of Twitter as the master of breaking news include the death of Amy Winehouse and more recently the death of Whitney Houston.
In relation to the death of Whitney Houston, Mashable noted that ‘ While nearly an hour passed between the first known mention of Houston’s death and the AP’s report, Twitter’s timeline clearly shows that the story flatlined until the AP tweet. It was that properly attributed post by a credible news organization with a broad following that broke through the noise’.
Its popularity has even been ratified by the world’s most popular operating system, iOS, in which the service has been integrated. Heck, it was chosen over Facebook which has over 800 million users. Normally a closed OS, Twitter is among a select few third party services that enjoy special integration in Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and will soon be integrated in the upcoming Mac OSX Mountain Lion. Besides this, access to Twitter is uninhibited with apps being available on a myriad of platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Mac OSX, Windows, Symbian and of course the web. Undoubtedly, it is fast becoming an information source which intertwines the fabric of the world wide web.