The logo of social networking website Twitter. Photo: AFP / Leon Neal
To celebrate its eighth birthday, Twitter has updated its Discover section so that typing in a user's Twitter handle will immediately pull up that person's first tweet.
The tweet appears with the exact date stamp and of course, this being Twitter, there's the option to retweet said missive too.
The first ever public tweet was sent by the company's co-founder, Jack Dorsey, and his initial utterance "just setting up my twttr", released to the world at 12:50 on March 21, 2006, gives absolutely no clue as to how big, or disruptive or influential the microblogging social network was set to become.
And initial growth was slow. It took until May 2009 for the site to generate its first 1 billion tweets and a year and a half before it had managed to attract its first 500,000 users.
Today, the service generates 1 billion tweets every five days -- that's 9100 a second -- and attracts 190 million active users a month, even if the total number of registered users is estimated at well over 645 million (Twitter won't give an exact figure).
The average active Tweeter has 208 followers and 77 % of all Twitter users are now based outside the US. Only 46 % of Twitter users tweet on a daily basis and 40 % of the user base don't tweet at all, preferring to simply follow others.
Currently, the most popular Twitter user to follow is Katy Perry. The US singer has 51.78 million followers, but in a close second place is Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, who with 50.39 million followers boasts over 8 million more than the US President, Barack Obama in third place.
However, none of these celebrities can come close to @Yougakudan_00, the Japanese anime and manga fan when it comes to actually engaging with followers. He has to date sent an incredible 37,392,300 tweets (that averages out at 21 a day) and counting since joining the site, making him by far Twitter's most avid active user.