When Did Twitter Start? How Jack Dorsey Founded The Company
What Is It?
Twitter is a very popular social network that allows users to tweet short messages to online followers. Tweeting means sending messages. Twitter can be used to connect businesses with customers as well as a personal communication tool. The site was started in the San Francisco Bay Area, like so many big name websites of the early 21st century.
The site was created by engineer Jack Dorsey in March 2006 and launched the following July. Dorsey, who was hired by Evan Williams, said the purpose behind Twitter was to deliver “short bursts of inconsequential information.” The site debuted as Twittr and made its character limit of 140 a benchmark for short messages. Twitter, according to Williams, who had founded Blogger then sold it to Google, was built to be a broadcast medium. The original idea was to keep up with family and friends.
Dorsey came up with the idea of the site after being inspired by LiveJournal while studying at New York University. He wanted to create a system for dispatching a variety of local services, which he set in motion after moving to Oakland. In 2000 he created a website used for dispatching work for taxis and emergency services. Dorsey moved deeper into online communication as he became familiar with text messaging. He formulated an idea for open group communication, which could be useful for collaborators. By Twitter’s launch in 2006, the idea had evolved into micro-messaging.
The original three founders of Twitter as a company were Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. The site became a useful tool at Odeo, founded by Noah Glass. Both Stone and Glass had worked for Google. Glass had come up with a system for Odeo to transform phone messages into online MP4s. The three founders created a company called Obvious Corporation in October 2006 and acquired both Twitter and Odeo, with Twitter.com becoming its own company in 2007. Evan Williams was the CEO while Jack Dorsey served as Chairman.
Odeo had been a company aiming to popularize podcasting. By 2005 Dorsey realized that podcasting was not as big as he thought it would be. Dorsey and Williams began to focus on a real-time information service that could be accessed many different ways, including mobile devices. Twitter’s incredible growth in the years that followed was possible thanks to its engineering.
The South by Southwest Interactive Conference in 2007 marked a turning point in Twitter’s popularity. The site ended up getting talked about by panelists as well as bloggers. People who attended the convention realized that the site was a useful tool for staying connected with people. It’s easy for people to lose track of each other at a convention, but with Twitter, people let each other know about their whereabouts and latest experiences. At that event tweets per day jumped from 20,000 to 60,000.
Venture Capitalists pumped several multi-million dollar rounds into the company in 2008. During the next year, the site jumped from 1.3 million to 6 million registered users. In July 2009 the news of Michael Jackson’s death traveled at the rate of 456 tweets per second. By April 2010 Twitter had 105 million registered users. In the next few years, the user base doubled. Another early investor in the site was Spark Capital, who was interested in Twitter’s technical ability to meet consumer demands with apps. At the time the company only had eleven employees.
In 2010 Dorsey released a new product called Square, designed for making mobile online purchases. By February 2010 Twitter was facilitating 50 million tweets per day. About a year later in March 2011 the site hosted around 140 million messages per day. Sales revenue began to roll in starting in the second half of 2010. The first Twitter communication outside of Earth occurred in January 2010 when astronaut T. J. Creamer posted a message from NASA’s International Space Station.
A huge Russian investor stepped up in August 2010 as Digital Sky Technologies owner Yuri Milner poured $800 million into the site. At the time this investment was said to be the biggest venture capitalist round of funding in history. The previous year Milner made a multi-million dollar investment in Facebook. Twitter announced it entered an agreement with Russian search engine Yandex. In October 2010 Evan Williams resigned as CEO to concentrate on product strategy and was succeeded by COO Dick Costolo.
Hollywood celebrities and popular music acts found Twitter to be beneficial to their careers. Charlie Sheen made headlines in multiple ways in 2011 after he had been fired by the TV producers of the show Two and a Half Men. Despite the disappointment, Sheen proved that a fallen TV star can still be big on Twitter, as he set a record for the quickest rise to one million followers.
Small businesses began using Twitter’s self-serve advertising system, a partnership with American Express, in early 2012. The following September The company made it possible for advertisers to target people beyond followers with similar interests. The site also allowed advertisers to target users geographically.
In 2012 the site delivered more than 340 million tweets and 1.6 million queries per day. Yet, the company only had 900 employees, which helps define Twitter as a lean company. Twitter’s most popular place for the origin of tweets is Jakarta, Indonesia, according to a report by Semiocast, followed by Tokyo, London, Sao Paolo and New York City. Although Twitter started out in just English, by 2012 only 39 percent of all tweets were in English as the site had become widely used around the world.
Evan Williams launched a new online publishing service in August 2012 called Medium, which merged the best qualities of blog posts, putting topics in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Jack Dorsey was busy with mobile payments site Square.
Twitter has inspired countless spinoff sites such as Twitaholic, which lists the top 100 Twitter users with the most followers, a photo sharing site called Twitpic and Tweetzi, which helps users search news topics and trends on Twitter. In many ways, Twitter has become a barometer of popularity for big-name entertainers. In September 2012 Twitaholic listed the most followed celebrities on Twitter as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Britney Spears, ahead of President Obama, who was listed at number 6. Emarketer listed Twitter as having 27.7 million users in 2012, with a projection of 31.8 million users in 2013.