We all (pretty much) know by now that Twitter launched on March 21, 2006 with the following tweet by Jack Dorsey, one of Twitters' founders:
just setting up my twttr— Jack Dorsey (@jack) March 21, 2006
It didn’t really take off until the following spring, with SxSW in 2007. That’s when folks (like myself) really caught wind of it and began jumping on the bandwagon.
For those who weren’t in the thick of the twitter world during that nascent first year, you can now relive it thanks to developer Kellan Elliott-McCrea via his oldtweets search engine. By using the Twitter API, he’s indexed tweets from that first year by querying tweets with IDs 1 to 20,000,000.
It’s pretty fun to play with, once you start poking around.
If you did join in that first year, you can use it to easily find your earliest tweets. I joined just under the first year wire, on March 16, 2007, with this forgettable gem:
let's give this twitter thing a try. i'm at work. my fingers smell like butter.— Chumworth (@chumworth) March 16, 2007
Needless to say, 5+ years and 20,000+ tweets later, it’s been nothing but downhill from there.
People who deride Twitter (or social media in general) like to use this lame oldchestnut, “Who wants to know what I had for lunch?” Using oldtweets you can find out who, in fact, first mentioned lunch (Jack Dorsey again):
lunch— Jack Dorsey (@jack) March 21, 2006
Overall, in that first year, there were 22,773 tweets that mentioned lunch. Fascinating (to some of us)!
While it’s fun to see who those early adopters were and what they were tweeting about, what’s more interesting to me is who wasn’t there and what wasn’t being tweeted about in that first year.
For starters, not a one of the current top 10 tweeters (measured by followers) was even using the service during that first year.*
If we look at 2 of the top 3 Twitter trends of 2011, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, and see what kind of Twitter buzz they generated in that first year, we see, basically no buzz.
A search for “Bieber” turns up just one tweet (which was definitely not referring to my daughters’ favorite little heart throb). To be fair, though, I believe the Biebs was only in diapers back in ‘06.
Twitter - and pop culture - has come a long way since those heady, Bieber Fever-free years of 2006/2007.
Well, Twitter has, at least.
* Actually, according to that list President Obama has been tweeting for 66 months, which by my math was February of 2007, but he doesn’t show up in oldtweets. A bug perhaps?