Twitter (Features, Cool Fact & How It Started)

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Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read those that are publicly available.

 

Logo For Twitter (2021)
Logo For Twitter (2022)

 

Users interact with Twitter through browser or mobile frontend software, or programmatically via its APIs. Prior to April 2020, services were accessible via SMS.

The service is provided by Twitter, Inc., a corporation based in San Francisco, California, and has more than 25 offices around the world.

Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters, but the limit was doubled to 280 for non-CJK languages in November 2017.

Audio and video tweets remain limited to 140 seconds for most accounts.

 

HOW IT STARTED

Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 and launched in July of that year. By 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day, and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day.

In 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites and has been described as “the SMS of the Internet”. As of Q1 2019, Twitter had more than 330 million monthly active users. In practice, the vast majority of tweets are written by a minority of users.

 

FEATURES

Tweets are publicly visible by default, but senders can restrict message delivery to only their followers. Users can mute users they do not wish to interact with, block accounts from viewing their tweets and remove accounts from their followers list. Users can tweet via the Twitter website, compatible external applications (such as for smartphones), or by Short Message Service (SMS) available in certain countries. Users may subscribe to other users’ tweets—this is known as “following” and subscribers are known as “followers” or “tweeps”, a portmanteau of Twitter and peeps. Individual tweets can be forwarded by other users to their own feed, a process known as a “retweet”. In 2015, Twitter launched “quote tweet” (originally called “retweet with comment”), a feature that allows users to add a comment to their retweet, nesting one tweet in the other. Users can also “like” (formerly “favorite”) individual tweets.

 

The counters for “likes”, “retweets”, and replies appear next to the respective buttons in timelines such as on profile pages and search results. Counters for likes and retweets exist on a tweet’s standalone page too. Since September 2020, quote tweets, formerly known as “retweet with comment”, have an own counter on their tweet page. Until the legacy desktop front end that was discontinued in 2020, a row with miniature profile pictures of up to ten liking or retweeting users was displayed (earliest documented implementation in December 2011 overhaul), as well as a tweet reply counter next to the according button on a tweet’s page.

 

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Twitter allows users to update their profile via their mobile phone either by text messaging or by apps released for certain smartphones and tablets.

Twitter has been compared to a web-based Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client, In a 2009 Time magazine essay, technology author Steven Johnson described the basic mechanics of Twitter as “remarkably simple”:


 

Branding

Twitter
Logo For Twitter (2010)

 

Twitter has become internationally identifiable by its signature bird logo, or the Twitter Bird. The original logo, which was simply the word Twitter, was in use from its launch in March 2006. It was accompanied by an image of a bird which was later discovered to be a piece of clip art created by the British graphic designer Simon Oxley. A new logo had to be redesigned by founder Biz Stone with help from designer Philip Pascuzzo, which resulted in a more cartoon-like bird in 2009. This version had been named “Larry the Bird” after Larry Bird of the NBA’s Boston Celtics fame.

 

Within a year, the Larry the Bird logo underwent a redesign by Stone and Pascuzzo to eliminate the cartoon features, leaving a solid silhouette of Larry the Bird that was used from 2010 through 2012. In 2012, Douglas Bowman created a further simplified version of Larry the Bird, keeping the solid silhouette but making it more similar to a mountain bluebird. This new logo was called simply the “Twitter Bird” and has been used as the company’s branding since.