It was created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 and launched in July of that year. The idea was to be a SMS based platform. Friends could keep tabs on each other through the application.
During 2022, Elon Musk purchased the company for $44 billion and took it private.
The SMS model did not work since the founders were racking up hundreds of dollars per month in bills on their personal accounts.
Another idea was to integrate the podcasting company Odeo into Twitter to provide that service. This idea was pursued until Apple decided to bring out its podcasting platform. It was a move which essentially killed Odeo's business model.
This also led the founders to buy their company back from the investors. Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and other members of Odeo staff facilitated the purchase.
Software developer Noah Glass is credited with coming up with the original name twttr as well as its final incarnation as Twitter.
It is interesting that he was not brought on to the new company.
Users are content creators.
Any registered account can post up to 280 characters. This is called a Tweet. There is also an option to retweet what others send out. People can also embed YouTube videos along with link outside articles.
The company has an estimated 330 million users.
Twitter offers a number of features that expand beyond the social media realm.
People can stream video on Twitter while also recording it. This can then be replayed by anyone who clicks on the video. Since it is housed by Twitter, it is available in one's feed the same as a Tweet.
It is also beneficial that those who are setting up the stream can Tweet it out to alert their followers.
A rather recent innovation which is essentially an audio meeting room. Anyone can set up a space and invite other users. The users can ask permission from the moderator to speak. This can be granted through the moderation tools.
Like the streaming videos, we see how this is recorded, allowing for replay by anyone who clicks on the audio.
Twitter started out as a novelty, emerging as one of the more popular forms of social media content. Ashton Kutcher became the first person on Twitter to amass 1 million followers. He was able to outpace CNN.
While it remained a place for social engagement, businesses started to take a more active role. The platform was enhanced during the 2008 Presidential Campaign when Barack Obama far outpace John McCain in the social media sphere. He was able to 20x McCain in terms of followers.
It was around the same time that journalists were able to transcend borders by Tweeting events as they happened in real time.
History was made On January 15, 2009, a tweet by commuter ferry passenger Janis Krums broke the story of the successful water landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City. A hastily snapped camera phone image of passengers disembarking the half-submerged aircraft was uploaded to Twitpic.com, a photo-hosting service for Twitter users.
Long Form Content
One of the early changes that were made after it was bought was the addition of long form content. This is similar to what Medium and Substack offer.
It is often referred as blogging.
This feature is presently only available to those who pay for Twitter Blue, the subscription service that carries a cost of $8 per month.
Rebrand To X
One July 23, 2023, Twitter was rebranded as X.
According to Elon Musk, this is all part of a transition of the entire platform. The vision is for X to rival some of the largest financial institutions. No longer is the focus exclusively upon social media.
This is no surprise considering Elon Musk is part of the PayPal mafia and one of the early CEOs of that entity. During his tenure he designed a map to make that company the largest financial institutions in the world. It was a vision that the board of directors rejected and led to the firing of Musk, who was replaced with Peter Thiel.
Musk's vision is now being brought to Twitter. Unlike PayPal, his view is much bigger than just payments, although that is one of the early steps. The company already filings for licenses to facilitate payments.
Part of this process will be the incorporation of a digital wallet. Many believe this will also accept different cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin and DOGE, two that Musk was linked to in the past. Tesla, one of the other corporations he runs, is still holding some BTC on its balance sheet.