5 Milestones From the Rise of Twitter

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A few short years ago Twitter seemed like something of a passing fad; it was a simple, cute social networking platform great for sharing trivial details of daily life or clever quips, but it seemed unlikely that a service based on 140 character “tweets” would ever catch on as a global phenomenon. But that’s exactly what happened. The idea for the platform was conceived in early 2006 by tech entrepreneurs Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Noah Glass and Jack Dorsey. By the middle of that summer, it was live. Less than a decade later, it was huge.

5 South by Southwest, 2007

If there was one make-or-break moment in the fledgling days of Twitter, it came during the annual Austin, TX music and culture festival South by Southwest, usually known as SXSW. During the SXSW Interactive Conference event, Twitter employees installed huge plasma screen TVs around various event halls on which Tweets were constantly posted and updated. In a single day, Twitter tripled its user base, from 20,000 all the way to 60,000+. Twitter was on the map.

4 Twitter and the Iranian Revolution

Even well into its third year of existence, Twitter was still seen by most tech watchers and casual users alike as a superfluous service, one capable of charming but never truly aiding. All that changed with the disputed reelection of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 0f 2009. Shocking both the conservative establishment of Iran itself and astounding the world at large, millions of Iranians rose up in protest against the dubious election results. The Iranian Green Revolution had begun, and Twitter would be one of its guiding lights. Suddenly, thousands of Tweets flooded cyberspace having less to do with celebrity foibles and more to do with coordinates for protest assemblies and reports of government brutality, and of the heroic—though doomed—resistance against it.

3 Almost One Fifth of American Internet Users Tweet

As of the late summer of 2013, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that more than 18% of American internet users are using Twitter. Their research shows that slightly more men are Tweeting than Women, and that, not surprisingly, those twenty nine and younger are Tweeting almost twice as frequently as those over the age of thirty. Twitter is also twice as popular with urban and suburban citizens as it is with those from rural regions.

2 The Twitter IPO

Twitter is expected to officially go public in mid-November, and the company has elected to buck the trend of tech companies listing themselves on the NASDAQ exchange, opting instead for the more traditional New York Stock Exchange. And even with its debut on the NYSE still weeks away, already Twitter is said to have levied more than a billion dollars in credit from backers such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and other giant banks.

1 Twitter Surpasses Facebook With Teen Users

It might seem hard to believe, but apparently Twitter is now more popular than Facebook with teen age social media enthusiasts. According a survey of teenage internet users by the company Piper Jaffray, 23% of teenage respondents named Facebook as their “most important” social media platform, while 26% identified Twitter as occupying that role. The teenage tech user is prone to sudden shifts in fealty, of course, as evidenced by the rise and fall of MySpace and the current ascendance of Instagram, but for now Twitter wears the youthful crown.

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