#HappyBirthday! Twitter and 7 years of transformation

Twitter goes from inane to tweets from popes, presidents and natural disaster survivors

By , Computerworld |  Unified Communications

Seven years ago today, Twitter was born when the first tweet was sent out.

And, oh, what changes seven years can bring.

"I see the Twitter we know today as much more of a communications medium than when it was initially launched -- when tweeting was viewed as an information vacuum, something used by lazy bloggers to announce the contents of their blue plate special," said Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis. "Today, such inanity continues, of course, but via search, hashtags and following, we rely on Twitter to stay informed on world events, keep up with brands and people, and reach out for help in times of distress."

That, he added, is a pretty diverse set of crucial communication capabilities - all within 140 characters at a time.

Twitter today has more than 200 million active users, who are sending out more than 400 million tweets every day, wrote Karen Wickre, Twitter's editorial director, in a blog post.

Through the last seven years, Twitter has gone through a dramatic transformation. When it first started out, people tweeted more about their favorite sandwich than about world politics or social injustice.

That's no longer the case.

During last year's U.S. presidential race, Twitter became a key player, helping the different campaign camps get out their messages and amass volunteers. It also enabled voters to support their favorite candidates, get information about voting and encourage others to get out and vote.

Like a few other social networks, Twitter has become a lifeline during natural disasters, like tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes.

In the last few weeks, Pope Benedict XVI used Twitter to say good-bye to his more than 1.6 million Twitter followers. And earlier this week, his successor, Pope Francis, used Twitter to greet his nearly 2 million followers.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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