Technology: From 2006 to 2017 - 11 years of Twitter facts

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Since it’s advent into the online world, Twitter has become a driving force in mass media, politics, day-to-day life and occurances and just about anything and everything happening around the world. On the 11th anniversary of its founding, we look at some amazing Twitter figures and records achieved over the years…

1.6 billion: The number of search queries handled by Twitter
140 million: The number of Twitter users in 2012
340 million: The number of tweets posted per day in 2012
500 million: The number of Twitter users as of 2015


302 million: The number of active Twitter users in 2015
35.6 million: The number of tweets the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany on July 8, 2014

Robert Downey Jr. Pic/AFP
Robert Downey Jr. Pic/AFP

23 hours and 22 minutes: The fastest pace to a million followers set by Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr in April 2014, according to the Guinness World Records.
14: The oldest Twitter accounts, which became active on March 21, 2006, all belonging to Twitter employees at the time and including founders @jack (Jack Dorsey), @biz (Biz Stone), and @noah (Noah Glass)

Castle in the Sky
A still from ‘Castle in the Sky’. Pic/YouTube

143,199: The total number of tweets during the airing of Castle in the Sky on August 2, 2013, when fans tweeted the word “balse” at the exact time that it played in the movie. It was the most tweeted moment in the history of Twitter.
3: The number of countries where Twitter is banned altogether. They are Iran, China and North Korea.
3.4 million: The number of times 86th Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with Oscar-winning Hollywood actors has been retweeted as of 18 March 2014. The iconic selfie containing 12 celebrities taken on March 2, 2014 broke the previous retweet record within forty minutes, and was retweeted over 1.8 million times in the first hour. It was retweeted over 2 million times after the ceremony; less than 24 hours later, it had been retweeted over 2.8 million times. It beat the previous record, 778,801, which was held by Barack Obama, following his victory in the 2012 presidential election. The incident was parodied by Lego and The Simpsons. Twitter was shut down for more than 20 minutes due to this.

Ellen Degeneres’ record-breaking Oscar selfie (below) The parody on ‘The Simpsons’. Picture courtesy @The Simpsons Facebook account

Simpsons Oscar selfie parody

USD 300 million: The amount invested on Twitter by Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal in December 2011. The company was valued at $8.4 billion at the time.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

100,000: The number of tweets posted per hour following music legend Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009. Twitter servers crashed after users were updating their status to include the words “Michael Jackson”.
153: The number of countries represented at the United Nations with establishe government Twitter accounts in 2013.
505: The amount of Twitter handles used by world leaders and their foreign ministers, with their tweets able to reach a combined audience of over 106 million followers in 2013.
140 million: The number of Twitter users announced on March 21, 2012, to coincide with the website’s sixth birthday. The number of users is up 40% from their September 2011 number, which was said to have been at 100 million at the time.

Tech rewind: How Twitter came to be


Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone and Evan Williams. Co-founder Noah Glass has been credited for the name ‘Twitter’, which was initially ‘twttr’ during the project development stage. The initial idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group was proposed by Jack Dorsey. The reason for using an abbreviated name for the project was due to the domain ‘’ being unavailable at the time.

Work on the project officially commenced on March 21, 2006. Jack Dorseypublished the first Twitter message at 9:50 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST): “just setting up my twttr”.

(Clockwise from left) Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass. Pic/YouTube
(Clockwise from left) Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass. Pic/YouTube

Twitter was initially used as an internal service for employees of the podcasting firm Odeo of which co-founders Noah Glass and Evan Williams were owners. The developers initially considered “10958” as a short code, but later changed it to “40404” for “ease of use and memorability.”

Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo, formed Obvious Corporation in October 2006 and acquired Odeo, together with its assets, which included and Noah Glass was fired by Evan Williams following this and would remain silent about his part in Twitter’s startup until an interview in 2011. In the book, Hatching Twitter, author Nick Bilton, Glass is given credit for having helped realize the idea, and designing some of its core features. By April 2007, Twitter spun off into its own company.

Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000 during 2007 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. This is considered the tipping point for the microblogging site’s popularity. According to mediapersons who covered the event, Twitter messages were exclusively streamed on two cleverly placed60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, which enabled hundreds of conference-goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in attendance touted it.

Evolution of the Twitter Bird

Twitter by the numbers

Twitter India milestones

Did you know?
NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer posted the first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message on January 22, 2010. By late November, an average of a dozen updates per day were posted on the astronauts’ communal account, @NASA_Astronauts.

Twitter and world leaders
>> US Ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul used Twitter after becoming ambassador in 2011, posting in English and Russian. He is considered a pioneer of international Twitter diplomacy.

Queen Elizabeth tweeting

>> Queen Elizabeth II sent her first tweet to mark the opening of the London Science Museum’s Information Age exhibition on October 24, 2014. (Read more)

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