Twitter is celebrating its seventh birthday today, with news that the service has amassed over 200 million users creating over 400 million tweets each day.
“Just setting up my twttr,” tweeted Jack Dorsey at 8:50 p.m. on March 21, 2006.
Without a doubt, Twitter is now the web’s micro-blogging platform of choice. The service has changed the way the world communicates personally, in business, and politically.
Twitter was used as a tool by protestors in the 2011 Arab Spring to spread information and raise awareness internationally of the cause.
The service was also used in the London riots last summer, by rioters to fuel others to join them in the looting, disruption, and violence they were causing, by police and concerned members of the public keen to find out which area of the capital would next be hit, and to aid the post-riot clean-up.
Politicians are increasingly using Twitter to campaign. U.S. President Barack Obama is the fifth most followed person on Twitter, according to Twitaholic, with 28,551,503 followers.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron finally joined Twitter in October 2012, showing a new acceptance of the service. In 2009, during a radio interview, Cameron famously said, “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it – too many tweets make a twat.”
In business, Twitter gives marketers real-time insight into their customers and an understanding of perception of the brand.
Twitter has changed the face of the media, with much online news appearing on Twitter before being published online or in print. In the 2013 budget yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne’s financial plans were leaked for the first time in history on Twitter before they were announced in the House of Commons.
On a personal level, the service is used by many to follow their favorite celebrities, whether it is an Olympic champion, their favorite footballer, Justin Bieber, or Lady Gaga.
“As we’ve grown, Twitter has become a true global town square – a public place to hear the latest news, exchange ideas, and connect with people all in real time. This is where you come to connect with the world at large,” said Twitter Editorial Director Karen Wickre in a blog post celebrating the site’s birthday.
In Twitter’s birthday blog post, the social network also released a video, celebrating many key moments on Twitter so far.
Twitter’s success has not been without controversy. The service raised the issue of online liability when Twitter users broke a super injunction imposed by Ryan Giggs in 2011.
Since then there have been occasions like the Olympics that have raised further questions on whether social media sites like Twitter need increased regulation. Twitter led to some Olympics athletes being expelled from the Games due to online attacks on competitiors, many of which were racist.
However, such controversy does not appear to have jeopardized the growing number of users Twitter is accumulating.
We would be interested to hear how you are using Twitter. Please let us know in the comments below.
This article was originally published on V3.