Happy birthday Twitter!21 March 2016
Twitter is turning 10 and we’re celebrating by looking back at key moments from our favourite social media platform. It’s undeniable that Twitter has had a big impact on the way that news is delivered and, although its future is often questioned, it just keeps on evolving – here’s to 10 more years!
Ground breaking news source
Twitter makes a reporter out of everyday people. We no longer have to wait for journalists to broadcast stories, we receive live reports from people on the street.
Most notably was the tragic news of Amy Winehouse’s death in 2011, which was tweeted just 20 minutes after her body was found. “Amy Winehouse” became one of Twitter’s trending topics, representing nearly 10% of all tweets worldwide at the time. Most shockingly, the news was shared on Twitter even before her father had been notified.
Twitter also played a vital role in the news reporting of the Arab uprisings that same year, which was proclaimed the first Twitter Revolution, with the channel used to orchestrate mass protests.
Twitter enables people on the ground to break stories quicker than journalists and gives a platform for real, first hand accounts of events.
The news of the raid that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout was unknowingly live-tweeted by his next-door neighbour. Tweets included updates about the Navy Seals helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1am. This was nine hours before the official White House press conference announced it.
The tragic news about the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 was first reported by people at the race’s finish line. Images were posted moments after the explosions occurred. However, although Twitter users helped to spread the news, they unfortunately added to the confusion by posting and retweeting incorrect information.
The news of the 2008 Beijing earthquake was spread on Twitter before the United States Geological Survey even had a chance to comment. The world was alerted to what was happening by people on the ground tweeting, retweeting and sharing images, well before traditional media reported on it.
Breaking with tradition
As well as pioneering a new way in which news is reported and consumed, Twitter has given us many firsts, and created occasions for long held traditions to be broken.
The announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement from the Clarence House Twitter account not only broke with tradition, but also cemented Twitter’s importance as a credible news outlet.
May 2009 saw the first tweet from space with astronaut Mike Massimino (@astro_mike) tweeting “From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”
Pope Benedict XVI launched the first papal Twitter account (@pontifex) in December 2012. The first tweet read “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”
From Ashton Kutcher’s early backing of the site, which marked a turning point in Twitter’s history, to Caitlyn Jenner’s record breaking amass of one million followers in just four hours, Twitter certainly is a favourite among celebrities. It also gives fans and followers the opportunity to connect with their heroes in ways that hadn’t been possible before.
Tweet us your most memorable Twitter moments at @AgencyTK