|Founded||San Francisco, California, United States|
795 Folsom St., Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94107,
|Elon Musk (Owner)|
Elon Musk (Chairman)
Linda Yaccarino (CEO)
Evan Williams (Product Strategy)
Biz Stone (Creative Director)
|Services||Social networking, Microblogging|
|Revenue||US $5.081 billion (2021)|
Number of employees
|Website||X.com (redirects to Twitter)|
Twitter, currently changing its name to X[a], is a social networking and microblogging service. Users use any device with an internet connection and a web browser to send and to read messages, called "tweets". For years, tweets could be up to 140 characters long, then doubled to 280 characters in November 2017. Tweets appear on the user's profile webpage. Tweets can usually be read by anyone, but senders can also keep messages private. Private tweets only go to their list of friends. Users may subscribe to tweets from other people. This is called following, and subscribers are known as followers. As of late 2009, users can also follow lists of authors.
All users can send and receive tweets using the Twitter website. They can also use other applications that work with Twitter on smartphones. Twitter by Short Message Service (SMS) is available in certain countries. Using Twitter is free, but sending or getting tweets by SMS may cost money. The website is based in San Francisco, California. Twitter also has servers and offices in San Antonio, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts, and soon in Salt Lake City, Utah.
On April 25, 2022, the Twitter board of directors agreed to Elon Musk's US$44 billion offer to buy the company. On October 27, 2022, Elon Musk took control of the company and fired CEO Parag Agarwal along with other top executives.
History[change | change source]
Twitter started at a podcasting company Odeo. The company board members had a "daylong brainstorming session". During the meeting, Jack Dorsey introduced the idea of one person using an SMS service to communicate with a small group. At first, they called this project "twttr". It fit the five-character length of American SMS short codes and sounded like "Flickr". At first, the developers planned to use "10958" as a short code. Later they changed it to "40404" because it was easier to remember and type. Dorsey sent the first Twitter message at 9:50 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) March 21, 2006. The first tweet was, "just setting up my twttr."
[W]e came across the word "twitter," and it was just perfect. The definition was "a short burst of inconsequential information," and "chirps from birds." And that’s exactly what the product was.
The first version of Twitter was only for Odeo employees to use. They opened the full version for anyone to use on July 15, 2006. In October 2006, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo started a new company called Obvious Corporation. Obvious Corporation bought Odeo and all of its property–including Odeo.com and Twitter.com–from the investors and shareholders. Twitter became its own separate company in April 2007.
Twitter started becoming very popular after the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. The Twitter company set up two very large computer screens in the hallways at the conference. These screens only showed Twitter messages. Hundreds of people at the conference checked on what each other were doing by looking at the many tweets. Panelists and speakers talked about Twitter. Bloggers at SXSW described it to others in a very positive way.
Reaction at the festival was very good. Blogger Scott Beale said that Twitter "absolutely rul[ed]" SXSW. Social software researcher Danah Boyd said Twitter "own[ed]" the festival. Twitter staff won the festival's Web Award prize. They said, "we'd like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!"
On October 4, 2010, Evan Williams announced that he would not be CEO any more. Dick Costolo became the new CEO. He had been COO of Twitter. Williams will stay with the company and work on plans for the future of Twitter.
Overview[change | change source]
Technology author Steven Johnson described the basic way Twitter works. He called it "remarkably simple." Following is an important part of Twitter as a social network. Users' Twitter home pages show all of the tweets from people they follow. The tweets appear from newest to oldest. Johnson said:
If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets moving down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even thoughts on the future of education.
People who use Twitter[change | change source]
Twitter is mainly used by older adults who might not have used other social sites before Twitter. Jeremiah Owyang studies social media. He said, "Adults are just catching up to what teens have been doing for years." Only 11% of Twitter's users were 12 to 17 years old in September 2009. This may be because Twitter first gained popularity in businesses and news media that attract more older people. Many famous people such as Shaq, Britney Spears, and Ashton Kutcher are Twitter users.
This is a brief summary of Twitter users as of 3 September 2009.
- Total users: 27 million
- Age: 63% of Twitter users were less than 35 years old
- Race: 60% of Twitter users were Caucasian. 16% were African American. That is higher than other Internet sites. Hispanic users were 11%.
- Income: 58% of Twitter users had a total household income of at least $60K.
Popularity[change | change source]
Twitter is one of the 10 most visited websites in the world.
Logging in[change | change source]
People can use software from other companies to access Twitter. These programs are called third-party applications. The Twitter company changed the way this works on 31 August 2010. Now applications must use OAuth to connect to Twitter. This method means that users do not have to give their passwords to the third-party applications. Changing the login system to OAuth did cause some problems. Using OAuth had been optional and programs used to be able to ask for usernames and passwords. However, now third-party applications that try to use a username and password do not work at all. The Twitter company said that using OAuth will give users "increased security and a better experience."
Technology[change | change source]
Interface[change | change source]
On April 30, 2009, Twitter changed the way it looks on the web. They added a search bar and a space on the right side of the page with "Trending Topics". That space shows the most common phrases appearing in messages. Biz Stone explained that all messages are instantly indexed and explained the results of the change. The Trending Topics has made Twitter something "unexpectedly important — a discovery engine for finding out what is happening right now."
Service problems[change | change source]
Twitter worked well approximately 98% of the time in 2007. That is about six full days of no service. The problems were particularly noticeable during events popular with the technology industry such as the 2008 Macworld Conference & Expo keynote address.
- May 2008, Twitter's new engineering team made changes to the structure of Twitter to handle the amount of growth. Problems with stability caused the service to stop working sometimes and forced Twitter to cancel some features for a short time.
- August 2008, Twitter stopped free SMS services for users in the United Kingdom and for approximately five months instant messaging support via a XMPP bot was listed as being "temporarily unavailable".
- June 12, 2009, there was a serious problem with the unique number that identifies each tweet. This was called a possible "Twitpocalypse". (This is a combination of Twitter and apocalypse). The number that labels each tweet went beyond the limit of 32-bit signed integers. That limit was 2,147,483,647 messages. While Twitter itself was not affected, some third-party clients could not access recent tweets. Software developers made Patches quickly. However, some iPhone applications had to wait for approval from the App Store.
- September 22, 2009, the identifier went past the limit for 32-bit unsigned integers (4,294,967,296 total messages). This broke some third-party applications again.
- August 6, 2009, Twitter and Facebook both suffered a denial-of-service attack. This stopped the Twitter website from working for several hours. The attacks were actually directed at one pro-Georgian user around the anniversary of the 2008 South Ossetia War, rather than the sites themselves.
- December 17, 2009, a hacking attack replaced the website's welcoming screen for almost one hour. Users saw an image of a green flag and the words "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army". So far there is no proof of any connection between the hackers and the government of Iran.
Open source[change | change source]
Twitter developed several software projects to improve their own service. The company shared these as open source software. Some of these software projects are related to databases, such as the Gizzard Scala framework and a distributed graph database called FlockDB.
t.co[change | change source]
t.co is a service created by Twitter to make URLs shorter. It can only be used for links that people post to Twitter. It is not available for other uses. Eventually all links on Twitter will use t.co. The company hopes that the service will protect users from harmful websites. They will also use it to keep a record of people clicking on links in tweets.
History of t.co[change | change source]
Twitter had used the services from other sites such as TinyURL and bit.ly. They began trying their own way of making URLs shorter for direct messages in March 2010. They used the domain, twt.tl, before they bought the t.co domain.
The company is using these accounts to test the service on the main site: @TwitterAPI, @rsarver, and @raffi.
On September 2, 2010, Twitter sent an email message to users to explain that they were starting to open the service to them.
Other[change | change source]
Twitter can also be used as an amateur and professional news source.
Related pages[change | change source]
Notes[change | change source]
- Twitter's rebrand is not fully complete. Twitter's main URL is still twitter.com, and the "Twitter" name and logo are still used in various locations, such as the help center and the developer platform.
References[change | change source]
- "Contact Us". Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
- Claire Cain Miller, Brad Stone (July 15, 2009). "Hacker Exposes Private Twitter Documents". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 14, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
- "Press Info" Archived 2012-03-22 at the Wayback Machine, Twitter. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Kurt Wagner (Nov 7, 2017). "Twitter is giving everyone longer tweets, but you probably won't use them". Those 280-character tweets are here to stay. Archived from the original on 2019-03-30. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
- "There's a List for That". blog.twitter.com. October 30, 2009. Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- "Twitter Lists!". help.twitter.com. November 9, 2009. Archived from the original on December 22, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- "Using Twitter With Your Phone". Twitter Support. Archived from the original on 2010-03-15. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
We currently support 2-way (sending and receiving) Twitter SMS via short codes and 1-way (sending only) via long codes.
- "Twitter snags over 100 million users, eyes money-making". Archived from the original on April 18, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
- D'Monte, Leslie (April 29, 2009). "Swine flu's tweet tweet causes online flutter". Business Standard India. Business Standard. Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
Also known as the 'SMS of the internet', Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service
- Feiner, Lauren (2022-04-25). "Twitter accepts Elon Musk's buyout deal". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2022-04-26. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
- Duffy, Donie O'Sullivan and Clare (2022-10-27). "Elon Musk has taken control of Twitter and fired its top executives". CP24. Archived from the original on 2022-10-28. Retrieved 2022-10-28.
- Sagolla, Dom (January 30, 2009). "How Twitter Was Born". 140 Characters. Archived from the original on May 8, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
- Dorsey, Jack (2006). "just setting up my twttr". Twitter. Archived from the original on July 2, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
- Sano, David (February 18, 2009). "Twitter creator Jack Dorsey illuminates the site's founding document". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
- Malik, Om (October 25, 2006). "Odeo RIP, Hello Obvious Corp". GigaOM. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- Lennon, Andrew. "A Conversation With Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey". The Daily Anchor. Archived from the original on July 27, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- Douglas, Nick (March 12, 2007). "Twitter blows up at SXSW Conference". Gawker. Archived from the original on November 13, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- Levy, Steven (April 30, 2007). "Twitter: Is Brevity The Next Big Thing". Newsweek. Archived from the original on April 12, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- Terdiman, Daniel (March 10, 2007). "To Twitter or Dodgeball at SXSW?". CNET. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- Stone, Biz (March 14, 2007). "We Won!". Twitter. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- Cashmore, Pete (September 16, 2010). "'New Twitter' shows the Web isn't dead". CNN. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- Rodriguez, Salvador (June 6, 2012). "Twitter flips the bird, adopts new logo". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
- Gilbertson, Scott (June 8, 2012). "Twitter's New Logo Inspires Parodies, CSS Greatness". Wired. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
- "#newtwitterceo". blog.twitter.com. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "Elon Musk rebrands Twitter as X". CNN. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
- "Elon Musk Changes Twitter Logo to an X". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 25, 2023. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
- "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live". Time. June 5, 2009. Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- Miller, Claire Cain (August 25, 2009). "Who's Driving Twitter's Popularity? Not Teens". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved September 18, 2009.
- Lipsman, Andrew (September 2, 2009). "What Ashton vs. CNN Foretold about the Changing Demographics of Twitter". comScore. Archived from the original on September 7, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009.
- Cheng, Alex; Evans, Mark (June 2009). "An In-Depth Look Inside the Twitter World". Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- Bluff Brian (May 2010). "Who Uses Twitter?". Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved Sep 22, 2010.
- "Twitter.com – Traffic Details from Alexa". Alexa Internet. August 26, 2010. Archived from the original on November 4, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
- "Twitter Applications and OAuth". Twitter. August 30, 2010. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved Sep 13, 2010.
- Stone, Biz (April 30, 2009). "Twitter Search for Everyone!". Twitter. Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- Walker, Rob (February 15, 2009). "Fail Whale". Consumed. New York Times Magazine. p. 17. Archived from the original on March 11, 2021. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
- "Twitter growing pains cause lots of downtime in 2007". Pingdom. December 19, 2007. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
- Dorsey, Jack (January 15, 2008). "MacWorld". Twitter. Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- Kuramoto, Jake (January 15, 2008). "MacWorld Brings Twitter to its Knees". Oracle AppsLab. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- "Changes for Some SMS Users—Good and Bad News". Twitter (blog). August 13, 2008. Archived from the original on June 18, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
- Dorsey, Jack (May 23, 2008). "Twitter IM down May 23rd–May 24th". Get Satisfaction. Archived from the original on July 29, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2008.
- Siegler, MG (June 12, 2009). "Twitter Moves Up The Twitpocalypse. All Hell May Break Loose Today". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on July 16, 2009. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
- O'Brien, John (June 24, 2009). "The age of the Twitpocalypse". news.com.au. News Limited. Archived from the original on July 11, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
- Parr, Ben (September 21, 2009). "Twitpocalypse II: Twitter Apps Might Break Tomorrow". Mashable. Archived from the original on December 25, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
- Claburn, Thomas (August 6, 2009). "Twitter Downed By Denial Of Service Attack". InformationWeek. Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- "Web attack 'aimed at one blogger'". BBC News. August 7, 2009. Archived from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- "CNN: Twitter attacked". Edition.cnn.com. December 18, 2009. Archived from the original on November 15, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
- "Twitter / OpenSource". Twitter.com. Archived from the original on 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- "About Twitter's Link Service (http://t.co)". Archived from the original on 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- "Twitter Blog: Links and Twitter: Length Shouldn't Matter". Archived from the original on 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- "Twitter tightens grip on own firehose". The Register. Archived from the original on 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- "Twitter Switches From TinyURL To Bit.ly". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
- "I Can't Believe Some People Are Still Saying Twitter Isn't a News Source". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-21.