Google announces Android Wear (March 18, 2014)
Far more users use Facebook than Twitter, but the importance of the blue bird in the social media landscape can not be ignored. On the one hand, Twitter is a great resource for tracking breaking news, discussing real-time cultural events, finding great memes, and generally keeping up with events around the world. On the other hand, this is a platform that has been armed by some of the worst people on the internet. They use them to spread false information and engage in malicious harassment campaigns against individuals and public figures. Most likely damned, Twitter took years to acknowledge the many issues that were obvious to its users. In fact, Twitter is probably best known for its problems and not for its product.
It did not start that way. Co-founder Jack Dorsey originally intended Twitter as an SMS-based service for sending short messages to a small group. The first Tweet was sent on March 21, 2006 by SMS from Dorsey. it was "just set up my twttr". The lack of vocals on behalf of the tool was intended to be an allusion to other popular services, such as Flickr, that solved vowels from their names, as well as the restriction to five US SMS short codes used to send Twitter messages. While Twitter was originally used as an internal tool in the company where Dorsey had the idea for the first time, it was publicly launched in July 2006 and spun off as a separate company the following year.
First, the popular notion of Twitter recalled other social networks: Here you can tell people what you eat and share other pointless status updates. However, it did not take long for it to establish itself as a platform for real-time communication about current news. Celebrities and politicians also used the platform as a way to communicate directly with their growing user base. Of course, as the platform grew in importance and influence, so did the number of bad actors who abused it. The harassment and the role of Twitter in disseminating false information – even in the recent elections – remains a major problem. However, it is not yet clear whether the company is willing or able to take the necessary measures to address these issues.
Perhaps the most comprehensive look at Twitter's seizure of power is Nick Bilton's Hatching Twitter: A True Story About Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal is a must-read.
Friendster (March 22, 2002)
Photos: Jason Doiy on Getty Images (Twitter); Cooks & Sangria (Friendster)