The Evolution and History of Twitter

The Evolution and History of Twitter


By Avi Kishundat
Jun 07, 2018

During its evolution Twitter has become a huge social media website that is used by individuals, businesses, politicians and many others. Anything that has vital importance to the world at large is conveyed via Twitter. Even the founders must be surprised at the influence that this site has over cultures and the social changes it has brought about.

Twitter first started in 2006 with Jack Dorsey, its founder, sending out the first tweet. It offered a way for users to send out short text messages with a maximum of 160 characters to their friends. At the time it was called Twttr and the majority of tweets sent out back then were very short, consisting of only a few words.

In 2009 Twitter users were able to retweet to share exciting news with others. Content could be amplified this way since users were able to have their own thoughts. As the tweets became larger in length, the company decided to provide a link shortener to reduce the length of any URL to only 19 characters.

Content previews, videos and images could be included in links beginning in 2012 and users could see previews of the external site they would be linking to.

In 2013 the original link shortener was replaced with another one that reduced the URL length to 22 characters versus the previous 19 characters. This meant that Twitter users had less characters remaining when leaving their comments.

Direct Message was added to the platform in 2015 allowing users to send direct messages with a limit of 10,000 characters. Longer private conversations could be held but the tweets were still capped at a maximum of 140 characters.

In 2016 polls, GIFs and photos were excluded from the character count giving users the opportunity to say more. In 2017 a user could reply to a tweet without having their username count as part of the 140 character limit.

The biggest change in the tweeting platform was introduced in September 2017 when the maximum character limit of 140 was replaced with 280. Users were able to double the amount of communication they were sending out in a tweet and this was met with mixed reviews. For the most part, it was welcomed but as with any major changes, there were also some protests.

Twitter decided to make the character limit change due to the frustration felt by people that were tweeting in the English language. Many other language users didn't experience the same frustration as their English counterparts.

Today there are approximately 330 million active users on Twitter, which represents an increase of 4% compared to 2017. With hundreds of millions of tweets being sent out daily and 42% of users accessing Twitter every day, this site has made changes to the landscape of different cultures that nobody would have ever thought possible.