Ten years ago today Jack Dorsey fired off the world’s first tweet. Scooping co-founder Biz Stone by a full minute, little did he know the automated five-word message would later set fire to a communication revolution, 140 characters at a time.
Today, around 500 million tweets are dispatched into the Twitterverse every 24 hours from all over the globe. To mark its 10-year anniversary, the social media giant tweeted out a stirring highlight reel. The #lovetwitter-hashtagged trip down memory lane features some of the most memorable Twitter posts yet, sweet cosmic tweets from space and Mike Tyson’s epic hoverboard fail included.
To mark the popular microblogging platform’s 10th birthday, here are 10 interesting facts about Twitter that you might not know:
- 1 1. Twitter was almost called “Friendstalker.”
- 2 2. Twitter’s iconic bird logo is named after a sports legend.
- 3 4. Katy Perry boasts the most Twitter followers.
- 4 5. The idea for Twitter was hatched on a slide at a playground.
- 5 6. Ellen Degeneres sent the most retweeted tweet.
- 6 7. The 140-character limit is because of mobile phones.
- 7 8. Twitter co-founder Noah Glass got booted from the company.
- 8 9. Twitter has yet to turn a profit.
- 9 10. Being “Twitterpated” is a thing.
1. Twitter was almost called “Friendstalker.”
No joke, had Evan Williams had his way, we might all be “Friendstalker”-ing instead of tweeting. Thankfully the Twitter co-founder’s tongue-in-cheek name suggestion was cast off as “too creepy,” reports the New York Times.
The platform could have also been dubbed “Twitch,” “Twitcher” and “Jitter.” Twitter was eventually settled on after one of the co-founders read the word’s definition aloud from a dictionary: “The light chirping sound made by certain birds; agitation or excitement; flutter.” And — chirp, chirp — history was made.
2. Twitter’s iconic bird logo is named after a sports legend.
Nope, that cute little birdie blue is not named after Larry Page or Larry King. Turns out it’s named after basketball legend Larry Bird, a famous former Boston Celtics forward. Biz Stone confirmed this fact after Celtics vice president of digital media Peter Stringer asked him about the rumored tidbit, fittingly on Twitter. His guess was a slam dunk.
NoSeriously, it didn’t. Hashtags date back to 1988, when people communicated via chat rooms called Internet Relay Chats (IRCs). The first hashtags made their way to Twitter in 2007, when Chris Messina, formerly of Google and now a lead developer at Uber, proposed using them as a way to lump together related tweets. The simple searchable tags instantly caught on.
3. Twitter did not invent the hashtag.
4. Katy Perry boasts the most Twitter followers.
The chart-topping pop songstress has almost 85 million followers. That’s more followers than people who live in Egypt. Fellow pop sensation Justin Bieber comes in second (77 million followers) and Taylor Swift third (73 million). The most followed brand on Twitter is not Twitter. It’s YouTube (61 million followers).
5. The idea for Twitter was hatched on a slide at a playground.
Not all Silicon Valley tech startups are born in hipster bars and coffee shops. Case in point: Twitter. Dorsey says he first shared his idea for the social network on a playground slide “like a geeked-out Moses on Mount Sinai.”
6. Ellen Degeneres sent the most retweeted tweet.
If you guessed it was the comedian’s star-studded Oscar-selfie tweet, you’d be right. Actor Bradley Cooper actually snapped the viral pic at the 2014 awards show. It’s been retweeted nearly 3.4 million times since The Ellen Show first fired it off. Call us weird, but we like the Simpsons’ cool cartoon version of the pic better.
7. The 140-character limit is because of mobile phones.
True story: those little glowing bricks we can’t put down are to blame. Indeed they’re the reason tweets are short, 140-character blips. At first, Dorsey limited them to 160 characters because that used to be the max length for text messages on mobile phones. The restriction was later trimmed back to 140 characters, which he calls a “beautiful constraint,” one that’s apparently here to stay. Maybe.
8. Twitter co-founder Noah Glass got booted from the company.
Twitter co-founder Noah Glass, who originally came up with the company’s name, was famously fired from the startup. The San Francisco-based developer’s heart-breaking story of being “forgotten” and betrayed by his fellow founding team made headlines in 2011. Today, his Twitter bio simply reads: “I started this.”
9. Twitter has yet to turn a profit.
Despite the social network’s massive global user base — notably down for the first time last quarter amidst an internal shakeup — the company is not profitable. With its accumulated revenue losses approaching $2.1 billion, Twitter stocks are now trading at about a third less than the $26-per-share price put forth with the company’s November 2013 IPO. So much for being the next Facebook.
10. Being “Twitterpated” is a thing.
The word “twitterpated” doesn’t just mean to be infatuated. The Twitter-related version sounds like constipation for a reason. As Dorsey explains, it’s “when you’re overwhelmed with information or you’re just so excited that you forget to tweet or forget to share.” We know the feeling.