Twitter: a five year history in 140 characters

Twitter marks its fifth birthday today (21 March). Marketing Week looks at the rise and rise of the micro-blogging site.


Since its first ever tweet by co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2006 (“Just setting up my twttr”) the micro-blogging website has grown to become one of the most important online marketing and communications tools of a generation – that many people would say is second only to Facebook.

It now hosts more than 1 billion tweets a week and is estimated to be worth around $10bn.

Here Marketing Week takes a look at some of the most important landmarks in its five year history.

@Twitter #Timeline

  • March 2006 First tweet posted by co-founder Jack Dorsey
  • November 2008 Barack Obama thanks supporters via Twitter after winning the US presidential election.
  • January 2009 Twitter users break news about a plane crash landing in New York’s Hudson River, with pictures.
  • April 2009 Universal Pictures, Virgin Media and Gorrilaz among first brands to launch commercial services on the site.
  • June 2009 Furniture retailer Habitat comes under fire for spamming users through hash tags.
  • June 2009 Showbiz website TMZ breaks story about Michael Jackson’s death on Twitter.
  • September 2010 Twitter receives more UK visits than MySpace for the first time.
  • September 2010 Twitter overhauls home page design and partners with YouTube, Yahoo! and Flickr to embed content on site.
  • October 2010 Dick Costolo replaces co-founder Evan Williams as CEO.
  • December 2010 Twitter valued at $3.7bn (£2.3bn) after fresh investment.
  • December 2010 Twitter says more than 25 billion tweets were sent in 2010.
  • January 2011 Over 40% of all Twitter posts are made by a mobile phone, says Costolo.
  • February 2011 Twitter reportedly in sales talks with Google and Facebook.
  • February 2011 Costolo says Twitter is “already making money”.
  • February 2011 Charlie Sheen becomes the quickest tweeter to reach 1 million followers (achieving this in 25 hours, 17 minutes).
  • March 2011 Twitter marks fifth birthday. It now averages 140 million tweets a day.

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