Twitter turns five!

Jesus Christ, how ‘did’ news spread virally and/or in real time before Twitter existed?

Did we use message boards? It’s difficult to imagine the pre-Twitterian era, but it’s been a scant five years since Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet ever over the now completely ingrained in culture microblogging network. Originally intended to be like a mass-texting service, Dorsey’s first group SMS simply said “just setting up my twttr.”

Later, of the now-iconic name, Dorsey said:

“We came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.”

Indeed, the service was initially heavily derided as vapid, encouraging of navel-gazing or consisting of people liveblogging lunch. But Twitter eventually came to serve many more purposes, disseminating information in times of crisis like the early 2010 earthquake in Haiti, as well as organizing large swaths of people during recent protests in the Middle East.

The bulk of tweets are generally not of consequence, but several businesses have successfully adopted the service into their day to day operations, and celebrities have parlayed their large number of followers into income-boosting opportunities involving endorsements.

Still, for the majority of tweeters, Twitter is a relatively integrated into daily life email-like tool to which not much thought is given. How do you use Twitter? Has it indirectly or directly affected your life?

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