The 140 character phenomenon known as Twitter celebrated its 6th birthday yesterday, having come a long way from what was just a mere concept six years ago (see a sketch below by co-founder Jack Dorsey).
In an official post on the Twitter blog, the team thanks their 140 million users for their support in making the service grow into what it is today:
“Six years may not be very long in human terms, but it’s been quite an enormous span for the thing we know and love as Twitter. When @jack first sketched out his notion in March 2006, no one could have predicted the trajectory of this new communication tool.”
On Jack’s flickr page where the sketch was originally uploaded, he posts about his idea for ‘twttr’, a service to regularly post updates on LiveJournal pages.
“On May 31st, 2000, I signed up with a new service called LiveJournal. I was user 4,136 which entitled me a permanent account and street cred in some alternate geeky universe which I have not yet visited. I was living in the Sunshine Biscuit Factory in Oakland California and starting a company to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the web.
One night in July of that year I had an idea to make a more “live” LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from wherever you are, and sharing it. For the next 5 years, I thought about this concept and tried to silently introduce it into my various projects. It slipped into my dispatch work. It slipped into my networks of medical devices. It slipped into an idea for a frictionless service market. It was everywhere I looked: a wonderful abstraction which was easy to implement and understand.
The 6th year; the idea has finally solidified (thanks to the massively creative environment my employer Odeo provides) and taken a novel form. We’re calling it twttr (though this original rendering calls it stat.us; I love the word.ed domains, e.g. gu.st/). It’s evolved a lot in the past few months. From an excited discussion and persuasion on the South Park playground to a recently approved application for a SMS shortcode. I’m happy this idea has taken root; I hope it thrives. Some things are worth the wait.”
Twitter has become the go-to tool for news, updates, and conversations on almost any topic, with more and more users signing up each day. It’s interesting to ponder if the world would be any different without Twitter or if there would just be some other social network to take its place.
In fact, let’s see what my followers think of that.