Twitter’s 10th Birthday

11th January, 2016 by

As Twitter reaches its milestone 10th birthday we’re taking a look at some of its biggest moments.

Twitter exploded onto the social media scene, and has become one of the most prolific microblogging social media platforms in existence. In just 140 characters or less, Twitter allows its users to express their opinions and join widespread discussion about issues of pop culture, politics and everything in between. Twitter users can feel in close proximity with the celebrities and brands they respect and do business with, and thanks to the groundbreaking adoption of the hashtag they can engage with others who share their views.

Twitter has become a stalwart customer-facing business tool for brands around the world. On Twitter, brands can engage personally with their audience; it creates a direct channel between business and customer which – when utilised effectively – can work wonders when it comes to boosting brand popularity and managing public opinion. Many brands will know that with Twitter comes the risk of widespread complaint, as customers can voice their opinions on your service freely and publicly, connecting with other disgruntled clients. This in itself makes Twitter a vital avenue for brands who wish to contain any dissatisfaction among their clientele.

Worth a staggering $22 billion – and with 320 million worldwide users – Twitter has clearly spent the past decade becoming a global superpower. As the first social platform to allow users to search for likeminded posts via their hashtag, and the first to restrict content to its 140-character limit, Twitter have clearly been major innovators in the social space.

So what are some of the most memorable moments of the first decade of Twitter?

Humble beginnings:

The first ever Tweet sent over the platform came from Twitter co-founder and current CEO Jack Dorsey – whose Twitter handle is simply @Jack – and he wrote simply “just setting up my twttr” back on March 21, 2006. Perhaps surprisingly, Dorsey has only 3.3 million followers, a figure which pales in comparison to some of the more widely followed Twitter personalities.

The ultimate fail:

One of the biggest fails in the history of the Twittersphere was when fast food giant McDonalds attempted to harvest the hashtag to engage with their audience. Using their verified @McDonalds Twitter handle the company encouraged its followers to share their #McDStories. Unfortunately this conversation drew the attention of the Twittersphere for all the wrong reasons, with users sharing horror stories of mistreatment, bad service and even worse food. Not quite the response they were expecting!

The most prolific debut:

It was in 2015 that the record for reaching one million followers in the shortest amount of time was last broken, when Caitlyn Jenner – formerly Bruce Jenner – joined the social media platform on the same day that she announced her transition to become a woman. Jenner amassed one million followers in just four hours, snatching the record from US President Barack Obama, who hit the same milestone in five hours.

The most popular accounts:

Back in 2014 it was Ellen DeGeneres’ group selfie from the Oscars which took the ‘most-reTweeted’ crown, but DeGeneres has since been dethroned by Harry Styles of boyband One Direction, whose support for departing bandmate Zayn Malik earned him the accolade. Yes, pop stars are super popular on Twitter; the top three most followed accounts are Katy Perry in first place with 80 million, Justin Bieber in second place with 72 million and Taylor Swift coming in third with a meagre 68.5 million followers.

The shows of solidarity:

Twitter has become the go-to platform for expressing support of others during times of need, and for this reason we have seen as array of hashtags hit the public eye over the past decade. Some of the most memorable of these hashtags emerged over the past couple of years. #JeSuisCharlie allowed Twitter users to express their empathy with the employees of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following a terror attack which took place in Paris in January 2015, and this led to a string of similar hashtags, like the #JeSuisAhmed trend which saw users showing their support for a schoolboy who brought his homemade clock into school and was wrongfully arrested. President Obama himself got involved with the subject on Twitter, Tweeting “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”.

Other notable hashtags have included #PrayForParis, #IceBucketChallenge and the slightly more playful #vote5sos, which appeared in 78 million Tweets from fans of Australian band 5 Seconds Of Summer hoping to win the group an MTV VMA.

What’s been your favourite moment of the past decade of Twitter? Let us know over on our very own Twitter channel @UK2!

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