Ten years of Twitter - the key events

IOL pic twitter bird logo black white AFP File picture: Kimihiro Hoshino

San Francisco - Over its 10-year history, Twitter has marked numerous world events and created its own unique moments.

Here are a few key milestones in Twitter history...

March 2006

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) sent the first tweet, an automated message saying “just setting up my twttr”. That same day, he sent the first live tweet, “inviting coworkers”.

April 2008

US university student James Buck (@jamesbuck) got off a one-word tweet - “Arrested” - after being taken into custody by Egyptian authorities at an anti-government protest in that country. In what is seen as an early demonstration of the power of Twitter to rally people to a cause, the resulting outcry prompted authorities to quickly restore his liberty. He proclaimed his release in a tweet reading “Free”.

January 2009

“There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.” Latvian-American Janis Kums (@jkrums) delivers news of a US Airways jet that crash-landed on the Hudson River in New York, breaking the story ahead of mainstream media outlets.

May 2009

The first tweet from space from astronaut Mike Massimino (@astro_mike): “From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”


The #ArabSpring hashtag takes hold on Twitter, underscoring the importance of the messaging platform in pro-democracy uprisings starting in Tunisia.

May 2011

“Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” IT consultant Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual) unknowingly tweets about US Navy Seals raiding a nearby home in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. Bin Laden was killed during the operation.

November 2012

President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) tweets “Four more years” to proclaim his re-election victory along with a picture of him and his wife, Michelle, hugging. The post was the most shared tweet at that time.

December 2012

Pope Benedict XVI launched the first papal Twitter account (@pontifex), which was continued by his successor, Pope Francis. The first message was: “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.”

March 2014

A picture tweeted live from the Oscars ceremony by Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) with Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and taken by Bradley Cooper is retweeted more than three million times, a record: “If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars”

June 2014

The Central Intelligence Agency (@cia) shows a sense of humour: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”

June 2015

Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) makes her new transgender identity public: “I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me.” The message is retweeted more than 250 000 times.


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