Twitter Fun Facts

Compiled by Elizabeth Pullman who is doing an independent study on social media with me.

Twitter Facts

Fun Facts:

Inspiration for Twitter

–          Jack Dorsey had the realization that you could view your “buddy list” from Instant Messenger to find out what your friends were up to, but they were limited to their computer. Therefore, they weren’t providing constant updates. He also believed that being bound to the computer put a limitation on how stimulating a message could be.

–          In 2000-2001, he was very interested in Instant Messenger and Live Journal. He wanted Live Journal to “become more live,” where people could essentially see what was happening in real time by having the ability to update them anywhere.

–          Dorsey originally tried to establish this service in 2000 with the first RIM device, but it wasn’t as rampant, providing a setback until 2005-2006, when SMS became popular. SMS provided the future direction for Twitter.

–          Source: “Twitter creator Jack Dorsey illuminates the site’s founding document” (Feb. 18, 2009)

Inspiration for 140 Characters

–          As discussed in an interview with Twitter creator, Jack Dorsey, he describes the origins of the infamous 140 character limit in a tweet. The constraint is “borrowed” from SMS, where basic phones provided a limitation of 160 characters before the message would be cut off and begins a new text. To make Twitter user-friendly, the creators wanted to avoid splitting messages, and therefore make a 140 character limitation for content, and 20 characters for the user name.

–          Source: “Twitter creator Jack Dorsey illuminates the site’s founding document” (Feb. 18, 2009)

What about the name?

–          Working name was Status

–          Wanted to capture the SMS aspect of updating and receiving from anywhere in the name

  • “Wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you’re buzzing your friend’s pocket. It’s like buzzing all over the world. Se we did a bunch of name-storming and came up with the word “twitch”…but “twitch” is not a good product name because it doesn’t bring up the right imagery…Looked for words around it, and we came across the word “twitter”…The Definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds.’ And that’s exactly what the product was” (Jack Dorsey LA Times Article)

–          Source: “Twitter creator Jack Dorsey illuminates the site’s founding document” (Feb. 18, 2009)

–          Source:

Twitter Business Model

–          Four the first four years of existence, Twitter didn’t have a planned business model to create long-term revenue. Four years after the launch of Twitter, Biz Stone announced that the company would introduce their first attempt at long-term revenue through a new program called Promoted Tweets.

  • Promoted Tweets: A company would pay to have their tweens linked to the most popular search items. The company’s first introduction of advertising and paid content.

–          Despite being one of the most visited websites in the world, Twitter didn’t express a clear vision to the public as to how they expected to make money. In 2009 they turned a profit, but the Promoted Tweets program would allow for more sustainable revenue growth.

  • In 2009, they “signed nonexclusive agreements with Google and Microsoft to incorporate real-time Twitter updates into search results for Google Search and Microsoft Bing. These deals allowed Twitter to post it’s first-ever profit in late 2009.
  • Co-founders, who came from Google, chose to operate Twitter in a similar manner, as they created the foundation before monetizing it.

–          Twitter’s investors pride Twitter as being a very groundbreaking and revolutionary idea, an image the company had to strive to maintain when developing a revenue producing business model

  • Promoted tweets are in line with investor demands—they blend in with user’s Twitter feeds, unlike “clutter” that appears on the side of Facebook and Google
  • Limited introduction of Promoted Tweets—promoted Tweets follow what is trending on twitter

–          Source: “@Twitter Discloses Business Model #promotedtweets RT” (Baumann, M) 2010 (retrieved from ProQuest)

–          A more recent article has identified where Twitter’s business model currently exists: offers three types of ads (promoted accounts, promoted trends and promoted tweets, which all appear in users’ streams)

  • Marketers see a large return on investment through this type of advertising as they draw massive engagement by Twitter users, increasing the conversation rate

–          Source: “Twitter revenue chief: ‘This is going to be a massive business’” (CNN Money) November 2011

Twitter Founders

–          Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey (founder of Blogger)

–          Dorsey was original CEO of the company, but stepped down as CEO in 2008 to assume less demanding position of Chairman of the Board. Co-founder Evan Williams took over position until October 2010. Position is taken over by COO Dick Costolo

–          Source: “Twitter Rewind: Big Highlights from 2012 to 2006” (March 2012)

  • Great timeline with a variety of facts including history of structure of Twitter, as well as some of the most popular tweets and other relevant statistics

Medium/Obvious Corporation:

  • Medium is the newest venture (and part of Obvious) by Biz Stone and fellow Twitter co-founder Evan Williams
  • They wanted to build a content network for the technology that exists today, and incorporating their vision of what publishing should look like—more exclusive way for people to post
  • Will continuously roll out various parts of Medium because they believe they can learn by watching usage patterms
  • They are in some ways combating what they have created, as Evan Williams says:
Related articles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s