Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter at $61 billion might be one of the most newsworthy things to happen to the microblogging website since its inception, but its 16-year history also holds several other interesting facts, moments, and statistics.
With around 206 million daily active users, Twitter is one of the most talked-about and widely used social media websites, but there are many details about the platform even the most active tweeters are probably not aware of.
For instance, Musk published his first tweet on his personal Twitter account in June 2010.
Here are 10 more interesting and lesser-known things about Twitter.
Twitter would’ve been called ‘Friendstalker’ or ‘Vibrate’
While Jack Dorsey is a widely known name, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams are also co-founders.
According to Business Insider, when thinking up names for the unique project proposed by Dorsey, Glass and Williams toyed around with many names, including ‘Friendstalker’, ‘Vibrate’ and ‘Twitch’. But they were all nipped in the bud.
Glass continued through the “Tw” section of the dictionary, which threw up many related words like twist, twit, twitcher, twitchy, until he finally settled on Twitter.
Dorsey later explained: “We came across the word twitter, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’, and ‘chirps from birds’.”
Since the domain twitter.com was already in use, it was decided the project would be called twttr.
Six months after the launch of twttr in 2006, the crew purchased the domain and changed the name of the service to Twitter.
Twitter responsible for popularising hashtags
The first hashtag was seen on Twitter in 2007.
Initially, there were apprehensions about whether the hashtag would catch on with internet users because it appeared nerdy and technical.
The concept of tagging social media groups or topics with a hashtag is credited to a man named Chris Messina, a product designer who had been using Twitter in its early days.
He believed Twitter needed some kind of ‘group organising framework’ and proposed to Twitter the use of a hashtag. He was turned down.
In October of 2007, one of Messina’s friends was tweeting about a San Diego wildfire. Messina who believed in the potential of the hashtag asked him to add #sandiegofire to his tweets. It didn’t take long for others to start using the same hashtag.
“It turned out that lots of people wanted to have their voices heard and participate in a global conversation,” Messina told CNBC.
Hashtags were designed to help existing users connect with a particular theme and they were mostly used during events and other conferences to help people find other relatable posts about a similar thing.
In 2009, Twitter added an option for users to search for hashtags due to its growing popularity. The rest is history.
Bird in Twitter’s logo was called Larry
Twitter is internationally identifiable by its signature bird logo, now called the ‘Twitter bird’.
The original logo, which was the word Twitter, accompanied by an image of a bird, was in use from its launch in March 2006.
A new logo was redesigned in 2009 and this version was named ‘Larry the Bird’ after Larry Bird of the NBA’s Boston Celtics fame.
A further simplified version of Larry the Bird, with the solid silhouette but similar to a mountain bluebird, came to be known as the ‘Twitter Bird’ in 2012.
Jack Dorsey posted the first tweet
The co-founder’s first tweet was posted on March 21, 2006, and read: “just setting up my twttr’.”
The crypto advocate who is now called ‘Block Head’ rather than CEO of Block (the company he co-founded as Square), sold his first tweet as an NFT, (non-fungible token), for more than US$4 million on March 22, 2021 to a Malaysia-based businessman.
According to CNBC, the tweet itself will continue to live on Twitter, but the winning bidder would own the NFT, signed and verified by the creator like a virtual autograph.
500 million tweets made every day
On average, a whopping 500 million tweets are made every day, according to media marketing agency Social Shepherd.
If you break that down further, it equals 6,000 tweets per second, 350,000 tweets per minute, and around 200 billion tweets per year.
Twitter named Best Startup in 2007
The microblogging site got its first mainstream break after it won the Best Startup award in 2007 from South by Southwest (SXSW).
During the event, Twitter use increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.
Traditionally, Twitter use spikes during prominent events.
Google considered buying Twitter
Loss of profit sparked rumours in 2015 that Twitter would get acquired by another company.
Word on the street was that Google was about to buy out the social media giant in a deal upwards of $70 billion.
The rumour died but pushed the platform’s shares up 23 per cent in just two weeks and, by late April, Twitter turned out to be the 5th-most-expensive internet stock, according to Facts.net.
Soccer the most tweeted-about sport
According to Hootsuite, as of January 2022, 70 per cent of Twitter users said they regularly watched, followed, or were interested in soccer more than any other sport.
With the upcoming FIFA World Cup in late 2022, the world will be gripped by a football frenzy, and Twitter will be a major channel of real-time information.
Donald Trump banned for violating Twitter policy
Twitter suspended former US president Donald Trump from its platform in January, 2021.
That decision was made in light of his encouragement of the violent invasion on January 6, 2021, when a mob consisting of his supporters attacked the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
The company said: “After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
After Twitter banned Trump, the platform’s user base jumped by 21 per cent.
It’s also interesting to note, in 2017, Trump’s Twitter account was deactivated by a Twitter employee.
Gone rogue on their last day on the job, the employee thought the deactivation wouldn’t go through. The error lasted for 11 minutes before Trump’s account was reactivated.
Though Trump did not comment upon his account being reinstated, co-founder Dorsey apologised for the incident.
South Korea’s BTS most followed music group on Twitter
According to Facts.net, the chart-topping group had registered 422,228 engagements on the platform as of April 29, 2019.
All four accounts are among Twitter’s top 100 users for average retweets.
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