Happy 10th Birthday, Twitter! GradPost takes a look at its history, first UCSB tweets

by Patricia Marroquin, Graduate Division Communications Director
Monday, March 21, 2016 10:37 AM

Wired's tribute to Twitter's 10th birthday. Credit: WiredThe Internet is all a-Twitter today, because March 21, 2016, is the 10th birthday of ​the social media platform. Sorry, Twitter, but today the GradPost will go over 140 characters to tell readers a little bit about this influential communication vehicle.

The Associated Press Stylebook defines Twitter as “a microblogging platform that allows users to post updates of up to 140 characters to their followers. They can also share photos or video, as well as links to outside content.” As a tweeter, you join more than 300 million others who express their sentiments in 140 characters or less on a platform that was a spinoff of a San Francisco podcasting company.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey says the name Twitter came from Noah Glass (a software developer who helped launch Twitter) and Oxford English: “a short, inconsequential burst of information, chirps from birds.”

While some tweets can be inconsequential, Twitter has evolved into a means to disseminate important news as it happens. According to the website Wired, by 2009 Twitter was used as a breaking news vehicle, notably when U.S. Airways Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed a plane in the Hudson River.

 Also in 2009 (April 16), according to Wired, the first major Twitter celebrity, Ashton Kutcher, passed 1 million followers. Perhaps this milestone prompted Oprah Winfrey to ​jump on the flighty bandwagon, as she joined Twitterdom the next day.

Twitter launched the @reply in 2006; and the #hashtag in 2007. In 2009, the first tweet came from space. And in 2010, the Library of Congress announced, naturally via a tweet, that it would be acquiring the “ENTIRE Twitter archive – ALL public tweets, ever, since March 2006.” Pope Benedict grabbed a Twitter handle in December 2012, blessing “all of you from my heart.”

The most retweeted tweet: Ellen Degeneres' selfie with a few of her closest celebrity friends at the 2014 Oscars.And who could forget the celebrity selfie smiles in Ellen DeGeneres’ photo tweet during the 2014 Oscars? It became the most retweeted tweet of all time.

Do you remember what year you joined Twitter, and what you said in that first 140-character tweet? The GradPost took a look back, and found some UCSB-related first tweets. The ones we found dated to January 2009, when UC Santa Barbara issued its first tweet. The GradPost proudly proclaimed “GradPost Commeth” in an August 2010 tweet. View some UCSB first tweets below. To find your first tweet, visit first-tweets.com.

For more information on Twitter’s evolution, read Wired’s “On its 10th birthday, a short history of Twitter in tweets.” And view the "10 tweets that nearly broke the Internet."

The first tweets of some UCSB groups, from the library to the GSA, and the Bren School to UCSB Student Life.