Micro-blogging service Twitter turned 6 years old this week (though the service was actually launched to the public four months later).
Many people, myself included, were “Twitter naysayers” when the service first rolled out. With a majority of users at the time employing Twitter as a public diary of banal topics, and with the only access to the platform via a desktop web browser, it was difficult to imagine Twitter ever being more than just a niche social network.
But in six short years, Twitter has become a staple in many people’s lives, having become the locus of their communications—socializing, newsgathering and vetting, and general information sharing. Today, Twitter has 140 million users and delivers 340 million tweets per day, up 40% from just six months ago.
Instantaneous interconnectedness is what Twitter serves its users, and in turn, the world. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons for this success was the massive and unrelenting rise of mobile technology.
Twitter truly was born for mobile, before there was a mobile web world. It’s easy to forget, but Twitter was launched almost a year before the very first iPhone, before mobile apps, and before the “mobile technology” culture that has grown exponentially over the past few years. It is highly likely that Twitter could never have become the valued property it is today without mobile integration.
As a result of Twitter going mobile, the service can be accessed anywhere at any time, meaning fresh news and sharing can happen almost instantaneously. In fact, big news often breaks first on Twitter now, before it could ever be reported via radio, television, or even mainstream news websites.
So, happy birthday, Twitter. You’ve changed the world for the better, improved communication between individuals and groups, and even aided revolutions that overthrew oppressive regimes. Not bad for a six-year-old.