Tech rewind: How Twitter came to be

Jul 15, 2015, 08:00 IST | A Correspondent

Microblogging website Twitter has been on a roll since it's inception nine years agao on this day, with celeb users, controversies and much more. But, what started it all? We turn the clock back to revisit the origin of the online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages....


Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Christopher Isaac "Biz" Stone and Evan Williams. Co-founder Noah Glass has been credited for the name 'Twitter', which was initially 'twttr' during the project development stage. The initial idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group was proposed by Jack Dorsey. The reason for using an abbreviated name for the project was due to the domain '' being unavailable at the time.

Work on the project officially commenced on March 21, 2006. Jack Dorseypublished the first Twitter message at 9:50 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST): "just setting up my twttr".

(Clockwise from left) Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass. Pic/YouTube
(Clockwise from left) Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass. Pic/YouTube

Twitter was initially used as an internal service for employees of the podcasting firm Odeo of which co-founders Noah Glass and Evan Williams were owners. The developers initially considered "10958" as a short code, but later changed it to "40404" for "ease of use and memorability."

Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo, formed Obvious Corporation in October 2006 and acquired Odeo, together with its assets, which included and Noah Glass was fired by Evan Williams following this and would remain silent about his part in Twitter's startup until an interview in 2011. In the book, Hatching Twitter, author Nick Bilton, Glass is given credit for having helped realize the idea, and designing some of its core features. By April 2007, Twitter spun off into its own company.

Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000 during 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. This is considered the tipping point for the microblogging site's popularity. According to mediapersons who covered the event, Twitter messages were exclusively streamed on two cleverly placed60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, which enabled hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it.

Did you know?
NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer posted the first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message on January 22, 2010. By late November, an average of a dozen updates per day were posted on the astronauts' communal account, @NASA_Astronauts.

Twitter and world leaders
>> US Ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul used Twitter after becoming ambassador in 2011, posting in English and Russian. He is considered a pioneer of international Twitter diplomacy.

Queen Elizabeth tweeting

>> Queen Elizabeth II sent her first tweet to mark the opening of the London Science Museum's Information Age exhibition on October 24, 2014. (Read more)

Go to top