Twitter celebrated its seventh year with half a million accounts and 400 million daily tweets
Twitter: A success story that began with a simple idea and developed to occupy an exceptional place among the most influential social networking websites
On May 21st, 2013 Twitter marked its seventh year since its establishment. This has been a success story for an entrepreneurial project devised by three people, who were able, despite the many criticisms for their idea in the beginning and the difficulties they faced, especially in the first four years of the launch, to develop this network and to make it one of the most influential social networking websites in the virtual world.
The success story of Twitter stresses the importance of working on a special idea, believing in it, committing to it, and working hard to develop it toward the success that has placed this network among the most widespread social networking websites in the world. It has registered around half a million accounts (subscriptions), making up nearly 400 million tweets a day, through which the most important news and opinions are transmitted about what is happening in the real world.
The idea of Twitter is based on providing the service of "mini blogs" that allows users to send updates or what is called "tweets" about their statuses, opinions or activities with a maximum of 140 characters per tweet. This is done directly through the twitter website, or through a tweet button placed on other sites and blogs. The website also allows the user to keep up with all his interests by following the pages that he is interested in, thereby allowing him to follow up on all the updates offered by his favorite websites and pages, comment on them and share with his followers.
Twitter is characterized by a special feature known as “hashtags”, which refer to keywords by the hash sign (#) in Twitter. This characteristic gathers together all tweets that address a specific topic and are marked with the same keyword. By clicking on the word after the (#), Twitter would display all the tweets included under that Hash Tag. Most recently, Facebook announced its intention to activate this characteristic as part of its services.
The website’s activity has not been limited to English. A Japanese version of Twitter was launched in April 2008, given the high number of users from Japan and their prominent activity on the website. Moreover, the Arabic version was put into service in March of last year.
The importance of insisting on and committing to an idea and turning it into a successful project, it is enough to know that Twitter at the beginning, and in 2006 in particular, was just a research development project for the company that was established by three information technology specialists: Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, and Biz Stone. The project was founded on the idea of micro-blogging in the form of short messages, not to exceed 160 characters and symbols (20 for the username and 140 for the message).
At that time, blogs were receiving criticism from many people, who considered this service or idea as mere entertainment without any genuine benefit. However, the fact that twitter proved its strength in delivering news from the heart of the event in record time before the traditional media outletscould, contributed to its rise as a major option for internet and mobile phones’ users to transmit and exchange news and opinions.
Behind the establishment and development of this company were three specialists who had a variety of expertise in the field of information technology. The first is Evan Williams, who started out with electronic publishing companies and then moved to programming and code writing. He established a company that designed project management software, and was later acquired by Google, known as “Blogger”. The second is Jack Dorsey, who is known for his programming expertise. After completing his studies, he established a programming company. This application of his was the thing that inspired him to create something similar for immediate outreach. The third is Biz Stone, who worked for a book publishing and cover design company. He also contributed to the creation of Zanga.com during the nineteen nineties, which was the closest thing to a blog at that time.
When Google bought Blogger, Evan Williams, who had established it, stayed on for some time. He was joined by Biz Stone at Google until Blogger was re-launched in 2004 under Google’s sponsorship.
After that, Williams and Stone left Google and established with Jack Dorsey a company called “Odeo” in San Francisco. This company specialized in audio blogging and led them to establish another company, namely Obvious Corp that was the cornerstone for launching Twitter, which appeared in early 2006 as a research development project that was officially launched at the end of 2006.
The first tweet sent on twitter was on March 31st, 2006 in which Jack Dorsey, one of the founders, wrote: "Just setting up my twitter."
Twitter’s strength became evident in August 2006, when a strong earthquake hit the city of San Francisco, the company’s headquarters. The website was the fastest means of communication to relay the news at the time, beating the official media. This encouraged the founders and increased their conviction of the importance of the website and its ability to expand.
By 2007, Twitter had become a company of its own regard, expanding as a result of investors’ funds under the leadership and management of the three founders. The website suffered many difficulties in the first half of 2008 with the increasing number of shutdowns for several reasons, either due to the increasing number of users or due to server overloads. This forced many people to look for an alternative to Twitter to meet their needs. Nevertheless, the founders’ improvements and determination to succeed took the company on giant and pivotal leaps to improve the service’s efficiency.
By 2009, twitter had achieved around 55 million hits monthly, making it the third largest social networking site in the world.
Because of the strong influence of this network, it was the main platform of publicity for US President Barack Obama in his last election campaign. It was also the leading website for exchanging political, social and sports news throughout the world, beating the traditional media.
Today, seven years after the launch of Twitter, this network is considered one of the fastest growing social communication networks. By the end of the fourth quarter of last year, it had registered nearly half a million accounts (485 million accounts) throughout the world.
A study conducted by Global Web Index stated that the number of Twitter accounts grew by around 77 million accounts, which is 19%, when compared with the number of these accounts at the end of the third quarter of last year, which was then nearly 408 million accounts.
The international study said that the number of active users of this global social networking service also grew by 40% during the same period. The number of active users of the network registered 288 million users by the end of the fourth quarter of last year, compared with around 206 million users at the end of the third quarter of last year. An active user being the owner of a Twitter account who tweets at least once a month.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to the study, registered the highest number of Twitter users related to internet users compared to world countries, registering 51%. This was followed by Turkey at 39%, and the United Arab Emirates at 31% and Spain at 30%.
In jordan, recent figures show that the number of active Twitter users reached around 60,000 users, compared with 17,000 active users in September 2011.
Today, Twitter competes with multiple social networking services, each of which offers its own flavors and uses, such as Facebook, whose users around the world reached around one billion, including 49 million in the Arab world, as well as LinkedIn, Flickr, Google Plus among others.