Twitter, which now has over 200 million users, turns 7 years old on Thursday. To celebrate, we thought we'd share seven facts about the micro-blogging site that most people don't know. Did someone say Larry Bird?
1. Twitter almost never came to be. In 2006, there was a company called Odeo, which helped individuals publish audio. With a lack of growth and investors souring, the company pivoted and decided to conduct a hackathon one day. This brain-storming competition led to the birth of Twitter.
2. Twitter was created on a playground. Founding team member Dom Sagolla says the group went on the top of a slide at a playground in South Park, a small neighborhood in San Francisco, and Jack Dorsey discussed an "idea so simple that you don't even think about it-you just write." This moment of inspiration has turned into a multibillion dollar company.
3. When Twitter began, "everyone's first tweet was automated," Sagolla said . It published, "Just setting up my twttr." Co-founder Dorsey sent the first tweet , on March 21, 2006. It now has more than 8,900 retweets.
4. The user with the most followers is Justin Bieber; the pop musician has 36 million followers. Hootsuite, a social media management company, follows more than 1.1 million accounts, the most of any user. Who has tweeted the most? That honor belongs to @Yougakduan_00, a girl from Japan, who posted a mind-boggling 36,402,262 tweets before Twitter suspended her account. The most followed brand is YouTube with nearly 25 million followers.
5. The number of accounts that have been verified as authentic-those with a blue badge-is 47,815 , but Twitter CEO Dick Costolo's (@dickc) is not among them.
6. The official name of Twitter's bird is Larry. Yes, his name is Larry Bird .The iconic little fellow-seen in Twitter's logo shown in TV commercials, print ads and practically every web site-was named after Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. Why choose to name it after a basketball player from Boston? It may have to do with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone growing up in Massachusetts.
7. Twitter didn't create retweets, replies, hashtags, a mobile app or social ads-it was created by users and developers in its ecosystem. Those features were later supported by Twitter, according to marketing site 140 Proof . Unfortunately for the inventors, they won't be receiving a slice of the company that some are valuing at $10 billion. Like most of you, they will have to wait for Twitter's IPO .
I got my job at CNBC by way of Twitter's service. Never underestimate the power of communicative technology, networking and taking a chance on something. You can follow me on at @EliLanger .
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image: © Will Clayton