TEN YEARS OF TWITTER – BUILDING BUSINESS 140 CHARACTERS AT A TIME

When co-founder Jack Dorsey posted the first tweet: “just setting up my twttr ”, who knew that ten years later it would generate 200 billion tweets per year – all within 140 characters.

Named Twitter because the founders thought the definition, ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’, summed it up perfectly at the time.

It was 2006 then, when Uber, WhatsApp and Tinder were unheard of, and Myspace was the most popular social network.

Born at a startup named Odeo, Twitter was created during a workshop where an engineer came up with the idea to post status updates via the internet. The team soon hacked away at a prototype and came up with the service we know as Twitter, boasting an innovative way for people to communicate online.

It became a magnet for the tech-savvy. Drawing a crowd of followers which quickly grew into the millions. People were obsessed with Twitter’s real-time capabilities and freedom to post whenever and wherever.

Twitter quickly became a potent platform for breaking news. People could get the blow by blow of global events – It brought citizen journalism to the masses, with millions of users posting eye-witness videos and updates. Twitter brought big audiences and even greater marketing opportunities for businesses.

Corporate firms were slow to adopt

Fast forward to 2016, Twitter has hugely impacted the way businesses communicate. Over the past decade, we’ve seen millions of professional and financial services firms adopt the channel – with over 83% of companies tweeting to the world, hashtag by hashtag.

For many businesses, it’s been a long, tough road. Financial and professional services firms were slow to join the party with many in a sweat over regulatory restrictions. But they soon found their feet and their voice, with Twitter feeds full of verve and vigour.

 

 

The future of Twitter

Monetisation of Twitter continues to be a vexing challenge for the firm, having failed to make a profit since it began. Tellingly, it’s churned through four vice presidents of product in five years, something that’s vanishingly rare. Although Twitter has amassed millions of users, it’s not the billions that advertisers expected. After widespread concerns about its future and its lack of financial success, Dorsey returned to the CEO role last year in a bid to jumpstart growth.

Ten years later, Jack is still setting up his Twitter. But now it’s a platform that’s unrecognisable to the one he launched in 2006. With longstanding rumours the 140 character limit is set to be removed, could the change provide a jumpstart to the firm’s success?

“It stays” was the response from CEO Jack Dorsey, when he quashed rumours about the change earlier this week. It’s an announcement that’s pleased millions of Twitter purists, who cite the character limit as the platform’s sweet spot.

Twitter’s bank balance may be small, but the platform’s impact on society is bigger than most firms could ever attest. Here’s to another ten years of tweets and hashtags with companies using the channel to forge connections with their customers.

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