December 2012) sharing 140 characters news updates, insights, and, of course the odd random musing.
The social network has been used to help co-ordinate uprisings, such as the Arab Spring, and spread news of these uprisings to the western world. It has played a major role in predicting political campaigns, such as the recent US elections; spread news of natural disasters and helped people coordinate in such circumstances; and of course, for better or worse, helped propel a whole new generation of artists, such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to fame and fortune.
It all began for the giant social network seven years ago on March 21, 2006, when Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and later of mobile payment system Square, published, at 9:50 PM PST the world's first Twitter message, which read "just setting up my twttr" from his account @Jack.
Initially Dorsey approached Odeo, a podcast and aggregation company co-formed by entrepreneur Evan Williams, where the first Twitter prototype was simply used internally by employees. However in October 2006 Dorsey, along with Twitter co-founder and software engineer Biz Stone, formed Obvious Company and took over Odeo and all its assets, including Twitter. Then later, in March 2007, Twitter became a company in its own right.
However despite the positive initial reaction to Twitter and the co-founders' firm belief in the company, it was only at music and tech event SXSW -- held annually in Austin, Texas -- that the service really took off.
According to a Gawker report, dated March 12, 2007, when the 140-character messaging service was showcased at SXSW the number of tweets being sent each day increased from 20,000 to 60,000, leading Gawker, to rather prophetically write "In the next year, Twitter could make a Facebook-sized blowup among the general public."
With Twitter now entering its seventh year and having, arguably, realized Gawker's 2007 prediction, many analysts are now arguing that all that remains for Twitter to do is monetize its product -- though experts remain divided on how this may be achieved.
But for now #HappyBirthdayTwitter