For many people it is now a commonplace feature of their modern lives, but nine years ago Twitter was in its infancy and little did we know how far and wide it would spread. Today, there are around 15 million users of the #Social media site's services in the UK alone and some 284 million active users (figures in 2014 suggested 500 million users in total) when you consider the global market. It is certainly an amazing expansion in just nine years and to celebrate their 'birthday', they have been sharing some of the historic tweets since its inception.
A new venture has to start somewhere to get things started and Twitter's beginnings were initiated by the first tweet that was issued by the co-founder Jack Dorsey. On March 21st 2006 he tweeted the brief message "Just setting up my twttr" and a brand new phenomenon was off and running. For readers wondering why there were no vowels in the reference to 'twitter', that is because in the early days the service omitted them from its name.
Twitter has since grown incredibly to become an acceptable medium for people and groups to communicate with the outside world, sharing information and making people aware of events that are coming up. The use of the hashtag in its composition has become a means for connection of like-minded people and the sharing of common themes. That concept was suggested in 2007 when Chris Messina put the idea forward.
'Trending' has become a key factor for social media in determining what is popular and as a natural consequence what isn't. By knowing and understanding what people are most interested in, news and communications can focus on those areas and provide the details that the population may be looking to learn about. Not covering those stories and ideas may cause the captive audience to go elsewhere and they may not return, losing not only the viewers and readers but also potential advertising revenue streams to finance the news service in the first place.
Twitter has announced several of the bigger news stories in recent times. NASA utilised its services to tell the world about the Mars Phoenix Lander in 2008 and its groundbreaking discovery of ice on the planet of Mars, with the potential for life as a consequence.
In 2009, a US Airways flight made an emergency landing on the Hudson river, with the news agencies picking up on the story via the Twitter messages being sent out and the images of the unfortunate passengers in need of assistance.
Even the Royals have picked up on Twitter's popularity and relevance to modern society and how it prefers to hear the latest news, with Prince William's engagement to the then Catherine Middleton being announced in 2010 via a post from Clarence House.
Presidents have also got in on the 'act', with Barack Obama deciding to announce that his second term was confirmed via a tweet in 2012. The succinct image of him and his wife hugging, accompanied by the message "four more years" conveyed just what the most important man in the world wanted to get across to the general public.
That tweet had been the site's most re-tweeted message at the time, but it was surpassed in popularity by the most famous 'selfie' that has ever been taken, at the Oscars' ceremony in 2014. Ellen DeGeneres' idea to capture an image of not only herself, but also a whole host of leading movie stars and those associated with the industry, including the stellar names of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, truly captured the public's imagination. That image has been re-tweeted a colossal 3 million times since.