What Was the First-Ever Tweet?
In the mid-2000s, Evan Williams and Noah Glass realized that their podcasting startup Odeo was going nowhere, fast. In order to regroup and branch out, they encouraged employees to brainstorm new ideas during organized "hackathons." It was during one of these sessions in 2006 that web designer Jack Dorsey planted the seeds for a live messaging service called Twttr. The vowels—and Twitter as we know it—would come a little later.
On March 21, 2006, Dorsey sent the social network's first-ever tweet:
just setting up my twttr
— Jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
Not quite "one small step for man," but it gets points for being concise.
At the time, Twttr didn't look anything like it does today. To send a tweet, one would have to text a message to a specified phone number. From there, the short missive would be broadcast to a selected group of friends.
While this may seem clunky in retrospect, it didn't stop Twttr from becoming a popular inter-office messaging platform at Odeo. According to Business Insider, "employees obsessed with Twttr were racking up monthly SMS bills totaling hundreds of dollars."
Tech Crunch first wrote about Twttr on July 15, 2006, the day it became available for public use. "People are using it to send messages like 'Cleaning my apartment' and 'Hungry,'" Tech Crunch co-founder Michael Arrington wrote, foreshadowing some of the incisive and profound content Twitter users would come to expect over the next decade. He added that the service was a "simple but viral idea."
One decade later and Twitter users are now sending about 500 million tweets per day. According to InternetLiveStats.com, that's a 350,000 tweet-per-minute average. Not bad considering the inauspicious beginnings of "just setting up my twttr"—but hey, there's a first for everything:
A big thanks to Jonathan La Rosa for securing this Twitter username for us. I now present to you the official mental_floss Twitter account!
— Mental Floss (@mental_floss) February 25, 2009
We've had some practice since then.