History of the Internet: Twitter

When Jack Dorsey sat down for two weeks in March 2006 to create the prototype for Twitter, do you think he had any idea that Twitter would change the course of history? Think about how quickly Twitter has changed the way political campaigns, social revolutions, legislation, customer service, news and entertainment are conducted, communicated and distributed around the world.

Legend holds that the original code behind Twitter was created as a Taxi dispatch service to send taxi drivers short little SMS text messages about where to go to pick up a rider.

Dorsey and his small circle of colleagues conceived of the idea for Twitter back in March 2006. It took Dorsey two weeks to build the initial prototype for Twitter, it was launched 4 months later in August 2006. The tipping point for Twitter was apparently the 2007 South by Southwest (SxSW) interactive, film, and music festival held in Austin, Texas in March 2007. Twitter incorporated two months later in May 2007.

By May 2008, Twitter was being used heavily to coordinate massive campaign rallies for Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. By June 2008, Persians used Twitter to protest the Iranian election results, distribute shocking photos of police brutality and organize flash protests around Tehran. In response, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which owns and controls much of the media and telecommunications services, restricted access to Twitter. The United States government stepped in and asked Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance so as to not interrupt the flow of communication across Twitter.

Also in the summer of 2008, Shaquille O’Neil – a huge Twitter enthusiast – discovered on Twitter for the first time that he was being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the meantime, Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz were not allowed to say anything about their upcoming Shrek 4 movie through Twitter.

Indeed, Twitter has become a way for celebrities, politicians, gurus, professional athletes, spiritual leaders and other influential people to stay in touch with their followers.  It has also been a major public relations and security challenge for corporations, industries, public affairs offices, security teams and legal professionals.

Facebook purchases Twitter

It’s too early to predict whether Twitter is here to stay or will streak across the sky like a meteor. It could be that Twitter is purchased by LinkedIn or Facebook, both of which have a similar status bar. Or, it could be that Twitter is purchased by Google or Microsoft in order to stay on top of real-time search.

Either way, what I do know is that Twitter will go down in history as one of the pivotal points in the history of the Internet, the history of the web, the information revolution, the internet revolution and the history of world civilization.

Green revolution

Images by AP Photos / Ben Curtis – found online.