#LoveTwitter: Social Network Turns 10 With Look Back—and Ahead

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Twitter 10

Twitter is celebrating its 10th anniversary and like any 10-year-old marking a transition from decade one, its story is full of pride and past accomplishment.

CEO Jack Dorsey’s post titled “Thank you! Love Twitter,” invites fans to celebrate its first decade with hashtag #LoveTwitter.

“Ten years ago, it began with a single Tweet,” the post says, pointing to Dorsey’s now-famous first Tweet. “just setting up my twttr.” “Since then, every moment of every day, people connect about the things they care about most—all over the world.”

“As we mark this milestone, it’s you we want to celebrate” blogged the site. “As March 21 begins around the world, each of our global offices will kick off the day by showing our appreciation and gratitude—starting in Sydney and following the sun to headquarters in San Francisco. We are excited to celebrate with all of you.”

Originally named twittr, revenue grew from $28.3 million in 2010 to $2.22 billion in 2015 while running through four CEOs: Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Dick Costolo and back to Jack Dorsey.

The scope of Twitter’s coverage is a broad as its 332 million active users and it cuts across all categories of human affairs.

The famous 2014 Oscar selfie from Ellen DeGeneres remains the most retweeted photo ever, 3.3 million times.

Katy Perry, meanwhile, is the most-followed person on Twitter with 84.8 million fans.

From a business point of view, Twitter is the one that got away from Facebook, after a reported offer of $500 million in 2008. Today Twitter is valued at $11.7 billion—and Facebook at $36.3 billion.

Twitter released a two-and-a-half minute commemorative video reminding us of its global impact including the Arab Spring, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, issues of marriage equality and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The video also includes tweets from celebrities, viral videos and GIFs and ends with a thank-you tweet exceeding the 140-character limit…then deleting a few characters and replacing them with emojis.

Many lists are emerging as media and businesses flag their favorite tweets from the recent, ongoing space photos by NASA’s Scott Kelly, to Miracle on the Hudson when Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 after hitting a flock of geese in 2009.

The raid on Osama bin Laden was covered live by IT consultant Sohaib Athar as he tweeted, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” And after the news of bin Laden’s death, Athar tweeted, “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

Oreo scaled new Twitter heights when the lights went out at Super Bowl XLVII as marketers delivered a perfect tweet response within minutes, “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.”

Even the Vatican joined Twitter when former Pope Benedict XVI posted in Dec. 2012 at hashtag #AskPontifex, “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” Pope Francis now handles the account, which has racked up nearly 9 million followers.

Taking stock at age 10, Dorsey has high hopes for the future. “There’s a whole discussion about virtual reality and augmented reality, and Twitter has been augmenting reality for 10 years,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “You watch any game, you watch any live event, you watch any political debate, Twitter makes it more interesting, funnier, and more entertaining.”

Twitter recently added Periscope and startup Niche to its arsenal to augment social conversation around live video but Madison Avenue remains skeptical. “Their ad model and their advertising is not the problem,” said Carrie Seifer, president of digital, data, and technology at Mediavest USA, in Bloomberg. “It’s the growth of new users. Fresh customers are extremely important.”

Dorsey and new CMO Leslie Berland are focused on Twitter’s core strength and Berland told Bloomberg, “Twitter is live,” while COO Adam Bain added “Live is what Twitter truly is about.”

When Dorsey spoke with analysts last month, he told them, “We’re focused now on what Twitter does best: live.”

And Bloomberg reports Twitter executives used the word “live” 36 times in 54 minutes. “We have this unique ability to break news 10 to 15 minutes before any other service,” said Dorsey. “And we can actually bring people down to the street and bring someone directly where the event is happening, and the sentiment and the emotion and the speed at which things happen are pretty amazing.”

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