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10 years ago the # came on to screens across the globe. It has become the world's most common symbol on all social media platforms. In the past year, Twitter has been defined as the platform ‘where you get to see what’s happening everywhere in the world right now’, it’s the ‘people’s news network’.
The # was introduced in 2007 by former Google employee Chris Messina, now lead developer of Uber. Messina proposed a way to put together related tweets to create instantly searchable tags. This allows news and discussions to be found when you simply search the hashtag or click on a hashtag used within a tweet.
About 55% of tweets contain a mention of another user, with only 10 to 15% contain a link. Same with hashtags, but those who hashtag usually add more than one.
More than 50% of Tweets come from mobile devices and is where the limit of 140 characters originated from. Old mobile phones use to have a max length of 160 characters as that used to be the max length for text messages.
The idea of Twitter was first thought of on a slide at a playground. Co-founder Jack Dorsey originally thought of Twitter as an SMS-based communications platform. Groups of friends could keep tabs on what each other were doing. Like texting, but not. The first message was sent March 21, 2006, 9:50pm by Dorsey himself. It read; ‘just setting up twttr’.
Twitter had a huge presence at South By Southwest Interactive conference which saw a huge explosion of Twitter usage. More than 60 thousand tweets were sent per day at the event. The Hashtag # was introduced.
Astronaut TJ Creamer sent the first Tweet from space. It read; ‘Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station – the 1st live tweet from Space! More soon, send your ?s’ @Astro_Tj
President Obama gained the most retweeted Tweet at the time after he tweeted to mark his presidential win.
Tweets about the death of Nelson Mandela flooded in with 95,00 Tweets per minute.
In response to the mass kidnapping in Nigeria caused million of Tweets with the #BringBackOurGirls
In less than four hours, Caitlyn Jenner reached 1 million followers after she joined Twitter.
The same year, the horrific attack on Paris left the world united to support the people in the City of Light, using #PrayForParis.
Like every other social media platform, Twitter has changed since it was first developed. As users started growing, they started to create a new jargon and different ways to use the service.
Initially, users had no way of replying to others on Twitter. Some users would include the @ symbol in order to identify another user within their Tweet with their response. This is now how conversations and discussion are conducted on Twitter. The same goes for hashtags, as they are now part of the ecosystem.
The same process created retweets, users wanted to re-post messages from others while still being able to credit them. By adding RT to the beginning of their messages, they signalled to their followers who they were retweeting.
The design of Twitter has changed somewhat. From the fresh green of 2006:
To the introduction of the Larry the Bird:
Alongside Larry they got rid of the green and introduced the now well-known blue:
Can you believe this Twitter feature is now a decade old? We take a look at the rise of the world's most popular symbol.
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