Timeline of Twitter

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This is a timeline of microblogging service Twitter.

Big picture

Time period Key developments at Twitter
March 2006 – March 2007 Twitter launches as a product of parent company Odeo. It grows slowly until March 2007, where usage grows dramatically after it is showcased at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference.
April 2007 – October 2008 Twitter grows rapidly under CEO Jack Dorsey, completing two funding rounds and launching official support for hashtags.
October 2008 – October 2010 Jack Dorsey steps down, and Evan Williams takes over as CEO. Twitter raises money, gets celebrity endorsements and publicity, and continues to grow rapidly. The first tweet from space occurs during this period. Twitter also announces that it will start allowing for advertising in the form of promoted tweets – "ordinary tweets that businesses and individuals want to highlight to a wider group of users."
October 2010 – October 2013 Evan Williams steps down as CEO, and Dick Costolo takes over. The company starts making acquisitions, closes a $800 million Series G, puts its advertising plans to fruitions, launches site redesigns, and continues to grow.
October 2013 – present Twitter announces plans and files relevant legal documents in October 2013 so as to go public. In November 2013, it has its initial public offering. Post-IPO, the company's pace of acquisitions increases dramatically.
November 2014 – present With the launch of features such as Instant Timeline, While You Were Away, Quality Filter, Curator, and Moments, Twitter diversifies beyond just being a reverse chronological stream of tweets by people you already follow. Rather, it seeks to more intelligently help people with the on-boarding process as well as helps seasoned users navigate through what might otherwise be a very messy feed.
July 2015 – present Dick Costolo departs Twitter and Jack Dorsey assumes the role of interim CEO. Commentators note that the "founder's instincts" are influencing the product's new direction.

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Event
2004 November Prelude Odeo, Twitter's parent company, is started.
2005 February Prelude Odeo's podcasting service is released, with very little public response.
2006 February 26–27 Creation Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone discuss the idea of using text messaging to share statuses, and decide to work on the project. The original idea is attributed to Jack Dorsey, and called the status concept.[1]
2006 Early March Creation The name Twitter (spelt twttr at the time) is chosen for the service. The idea for the name is attributed to Noah Glass.[2][3]
2006 March 21 Creation Twitter is officially set up and Jack Dorsey sends the first tweet.[4]
2006 July 15 Media coverage Noah Glass tells Om Malik of GigaOm about Twitter (then called twttr), and Malik writes an article about it on GigaOm.[5] This appears to be the first ever news coverage of Twitter,[6] and a number of people, including Malik himself, have commented on the accuracy (or lack thereof) of its predictions from the perspective of hindsight.[7][8][9]
2006 August 3 Usage Twitter users tweet about a mild (4.4 on the Richter scale) earthquake in California. The event helps Twitter's team see the potential of Twitter as a way for many people to contribute to the reporting of a live event, each from his or her own vantage point.[10]
2006 September Userbase Twitter attempts to have a grand launch at the Love Parade, but gets very little traction there, with only 100 new signups.[11]
2006 October Financial/legal and company operation Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo, form Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo, together with its assets—including Odeo.com and Twitter.com—from the investors and shareholders.[12]
2007 March 12 Userbase Twitter is highly successful at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) and gets a major bump in usage from the event.[13] Commentator Steven Levy calls this a tipping point for Twitter.[14]
2007 April Financial/legal and company operation Twitter spins off into its own company.[15]
2007 June 26 Financial/legal Twitter announces that it has closed a funding round led by Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures.[16] The five-million-dollar round values Twitter at $20 million.[17]
2007 August 23 Usage The hashtag (#), first proposed by user Chris Messina, debuts on Twitter.[18]
2008 June 24 Financial/legal Twitter announces the closure of its second funding round, welcoming new investors Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital and Jeff Bezos of Bezos Expeditions. Existing partners Union Square Ventures and Digital Garage also invest more.[19]
2008 October 16 Company operation It is announced that Jack Dorsey has stepped down from the CEO role at Twitter, and Evan Williams takes over.[20][21][22][23]
2009 February 13 Financial/legal Twitter announces the closure of yet another funding round, with new investors Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital and Todd Chaffee of Institutional Venture Partners.[24][25]
2009 April 17 Media coverage, userbase expansion Evan Williams appears alongside Ashton Kutcher on Oprah Winfrey's show to explain Twitter to Oprah's audience.[26]
2009 April 20 onward Media coverage, userbase expansion Executives from Twitter and WordPress head over to Iraq to expose the people there to social media and the Internet.[27]
2009 April 30 Media coverage Twitter executives Biz Stone and Evan Williams are included in the TIME 100.[28]
2009 June 15–16 Usage Twitter reschedules planned downtime for maintenance so as not to conflict with a large planned protest in Iran.[29] Because a US State Department official had emailed Twitter about the planned protest, newspapers speculate that Twitter rescheduled its downtime because of pressure from the US government.[30][31][32]
2010 January 22 Usage The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message is posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer.[33]
2010 April 13 Product Twitter announces that it will start allowing for advertising in the form of promoted tweets – "ordinary tweets that businesses and individuals want to highlight to a wider group of users."[34][35][36]
2010 October 4 Company operation Evan Williams steps down as CEO, and Dick Costolo, the erstwhile COO, takes over as CEO.[37][38][39]
2011 April 5, April 20 Product Twitter tests a new homepage and phased out the "Old Twitter." [40] However, a glitch came about after the page was launched, so the previous "retro" homepage was still in use until the issues were resolved; the new homepage was reintroduced on April 20.[41][42]
2011 July 5 Acquisition Twitter acquires BackType, a real-time social analytics platform.[43][44]
2011 September 8–9 Financial/legal Twitter closes its Series G round, raising $800 million at a $8 billion valuation. Of the $800 million, $400 million buys off shares from existing investors and the remaining $400 million goes to the company.[45][46]
2011 December 8 Product Twitter overhauls its website once more to feature the "Fly" design, which the service says is easier for new users to follow and promotes advertising. In addition to the Home tab, the Connect and Discover tabs are introduced along with a redesigned profile and timeline of Tweets. The site's layout is compared to that of Facebook.[47][48]
2012 February 21 Product Twitter announces a parternship with Russian search engine Yandex. Yandex, a Russian search engine, finds value within the partnership due to Twitter’s real time news feeds. Twitter’s director of business development explained that it is important to have Twitter content where Twitter users go.[49]
2012 March 21 Userbase Twitter celebrates its sixth birthday while also announcing that it has 140 million users and sees 340 million tweets per day. The number of users is up 40% from their September 2011 number, which was said to have been at 100 million at the time.[50]
2012 April Company operation Twitter announces that it is opening an office in Detroit, with the aim of working with automotive brands and advertising agencies.[51] Twitter also expanded its office in Dublin.[52]
2012 June 5 Product A modified logo is unveiled through the company blog, removing the text to showcase the slightly redesigned bird as the sole symbol of Twitter.[53]
2012 October 5 Acquisition Twitter acquired a video clip company called Vine that launches (later) in January 2013.[54][55] Twitter released Vine as a standalone app that allows users to create and share six-second looping video clips on January 24, 2013. Vine videos shared on Twitter are visible directly in users' Twitter feeds.[56] Due to an influx of inappropriate content, it is now rated 17+ in Apple's app store.[57]
2012 December 18 Userbase Twitter announces it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users. Twitter hit 100 million monthly active users in September 2011.[58]
2013 April 18 Product Twitter launches a music app called Twitter Music for the iPhone.[59]
2013 August 28 Acquisition Twitter acquires Trendrr, a real-time social data company.[60]
2013 September 9 Acquisition Twitter acquires MoPub.[61]
2013 September 12 Financial/legal Twitter announces that it has filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of a planned stock market listing.[62]
2013 October 4 Financial/legal Twitter releases an 800-page prospectus in preparation for the IPO.[63]
2013 November 6–7 Financial/legal On November 6, 70 million shares[64] are priced at US$26 and issued by lead underwriter Goldman Sachs.[65] On November 7, trading of the shares begins on the New York Stock Exchange. The share closes at US$44.90, giving the company a valuation of around US$31 billion.[66]
2014 June 19 Acquisition Twitter acquires SnappyTV.[67]
2014 June 30 Acquisition Twitter confirms acquisition of mobile ad retargeting startup TapCommerce.[68]
2014 July 31 Acquisition Twitter acquires password security startup Mitro and open sources the product.[69]
2014 November 12 Product, userbase Twitter announces "Instant Timeline"—a way to show users who have just created accounts interesting content even before they have followed anybody. Around the same time, Twitter announces that it will make the timeline more customized, highlighting to a user the most important tweets while they were away, rather than simply showing a reverse chronological feed. Other features announced include better video capability and the ability to share public tweets privately with one's followers to discuss them.[70]
2014 December 2 Product Twitter announces a new suite of anti-harassment tools and promises faster response times for abuse complaints.[71]
2015 January 20 Acquisition Twitter acquires India-based mobile marketing startup ZipDial.[72][73]
2015 January 21 Product Twitter officially launches its "While You Were Away" feature.[74]
2015 February 11 Acquisition Twitter announces that it has acquired Niche, an ad network for social media stars, founded by Rob Fishman and Darren Lachtman.[75] The acquisition price is reportedly $50 million.[76]
2015 February 17 Product Twitter lets people share team accounts without sharing passwords, with its new TweetDeck Team feature.[77][78][79]
2015 March 5 Product, monetization Twitter announces that it will tap data from its Marketing Platform Partners and allow publishers to target ads to specific audiences based on that data.[80][81]
2015 March 9 Acquisition Twitter acquires Periscope, a live video streaming startup.[82][83]
2015 March 23 Product Twitter starts rolling out a "Quality Filter" to verified iOS users so that people can more easily keep bullying and unpleasant tweets out of their stream. A number of news articles commented that it worked quite well.[84][85][86][87]
2015 March 31 Product Twitter publicly launches Curator, a real-time search and filtering feature for media outlets, that some commentators call a Storify competitor.[88][89][90]
2015 April 2 Acquisition Twitter acquires TenXer, a platform for developers and engineers to collaborate more effectively.[91]
2015 April 28 Acquisition Twitter acquires with $532 million in stock TellApart, an ad technology company with rich user profiles, and partners with DoubleClick, Google's ad exchange.[92][93][94]
2015 April 28 Financial Twitter shares fall in price by about 18% based on their disappointing quarterly revenue ($436 million), earning, and user growth numbers.[95][96][97] The drop begins even before Twitter's official announcement because the results are scraped by financial intelligence firm Selerity from Twitter's website.[98][99]
2015 May 18 Product Twitter completes the rollout of its new search interface for logged-in web users.[100][101]
2015 May 19 Use in other products Google adds tweets to its mobile search results.[102][103][104][105]
2015 June 11 (announcement), July 1 (planned change) Company operation Dick Costolo steps down as CEO, co-founder Jack Dorsey returns as interim CEO. Costolo will remain on the Board. Shares are up 3% on the announcement.[106][107][108]
2015 June 17 Acquisition Twitter acquires Cambridge-based machine learning startup Whetlab.[109]
2015 September 30 Product Twitter expands Buy buttons through partnerships with Bigcommerce, Demandware, and Shopify.[110][111]
2015 October 6 Product Twitter debuts Twitter Moments, a way for people to get a quick overview of important tweets or chains of tweets that occurred recently.[112][113]
2015 October 14 Company operation Omid Kordestani leaves his job as Chief Business Officer at Google to become Executive Chairman at Twitter.[114] His base salary is $50,000 and he is eligible for up to $12 million in stock based on the company's performance.[115][116]
2015 November 3 Product Twitter replaces the Favorite button with a Like button and the star symbol (used to symbolize favoriting) with a heart symbol.[117][118][119] Twitter reports a 6% increase in usage of the feature after the change,[120] and also appears to be experimenting with offering a more diverse set of emojis, prompting commentators to draw parallels with Facebook's Reactions feature.[121]
2015 November 4 Product Twitter launches a political transparency page, so that people can better engage with policy issues on Twitter.[122]
2016 February–March Product Twitter rolls out a change to its feed, making recommended tweets the default option, rather than the reverse chronological format that it had used since launch.[123] The rollout officially begins on February 10.[124][125] The rollout is completed on March 17, 2016.[126] Users are allowed to opt out, but Twitter reports in April 2016 that the percentage of users who opted out is in the "low single digits".[127]
2016 May 24 Product Twitter announces that photos, videos, and the person's handle will not be counted in the 140 characters, and that a tweet beginning with a handle will be seen by followers.[128]
2016 June 20 Acquisition Twitter acquires Magic Pony Technology, a company based out of London that has developed techniques of using neural networks (systems that essentially are designed to think like human brains) and machine learning to provide expanded data for images.[129]
2016 June 24 Product Twitter launches tags to location feeds with Foursquare. People can see which tweets are from a specific place. [130]
2016 September 23 Acquisition (potential) CNBC reports that Twitter is in talks with potential acquirers including Google and Salesforce.com.[131] On the same day, TechCrunch reports on the departure of two key Twitter team members.[132]
2016 October 21 Downtime A distributed denial of service attack on DNS provider Dyn's servers in the United States East Coast causes DNS resolution problems for many websites include Twitter, Reddit, GitHub, Spotify, and others, mostly for users in the Americas.[133]
2016 October 27 Twitter announces that it plans to cut 350 jobs (around 9% of its global workforce).[134]
2016 October 27 Vine Vine announces that Twitter would be discontinuing the Vine mobile app. Vine says users of the service would be notified before any changes to the app or website are made. The company also states that the website and the app will be still available for users to view and download Vines; however, users will no longer be able to post.[135]
2016 November 1 Company operation Rishi Jaitly, Twitter's head of India, announces his departure from the company.[136][137]
2016 November 9 Company operation Adam Bain, Twitter's chief operating officer, announces he will leave the company.[138]
2016 December 1 Acquisition Twitter acquires Yes, Inc., the company that made several apps including Frenzy. All of Yes's apps would shut down. In the process of the acquisition, Keith Coleman, who had served as CEO of Yes, becomes a new vice president of product for Twitter.[139][140]
2016 December 20 Company operation Adam Messinger, Twitter's chief technology officer, announces his departure from the company.[141] On the same day, Josh McFarland, a vice president of product, also announces his departure from Twitter.[142][143]
2017 January Twitter announces that it would shut down the Twitter Dashboard.[144]
2017 January 12 Competition The founders of App.net announce that the platform will shutdown on March 14, 2017. App.net has been called "an ad-free, subscription-based, Twitter clone".[145][146] The source code for App.net will be made available through its GitHub account.[147]
2017 January 18 Acquisition Twitter announces it has sold Fabric, Twitter's developer platform, to Google.[148][149][150]
2017 January 20 Vine Twitter launches an online archive of Vine videos.[151]
2017 January 26 Product Twitter launches the "Explore" tab, which replaces the "Moments" tab. The Explore tab bundles together Moments, trends, live video streams, and search.[152]
2017 January 27 Legal Twitter releases two national security letters it had received from the United States federal government. The release followed the lifting of the gag order placed on Twitter to not release the letters. The letters are from September 2015 and June 2016.[153][154][155][156]
2017 February 7 "Twitter took new steps today to reduce the amount of visible abuse on the platform, introducing new filters to remove low-quality and harassing replies from the timeline and from search. The company also said it would take new steps to prevent users who had been permanently banned from the service from creating new accounts. The changes come a week after CEO Jack Dorsey promised “a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter.” The company offered relatively few details about how the changes would work, saying that trolls would seek to use the information to game the system. And so it is unclear, for example, what new steps Twitter will take to prevent banned users from attempting to rejoin the service. The new approach to conversations groups together “Less relevant replies” and hides them underneath a button at the bottom of the tweet. Tap the button to see the rest of the replies. Twitter would not say what replies would be categorized as less relevant, but it seems designed to reduce the number of responses from newly created accounts with few or no followers."[157][158][159]
2017 March 30 "Twitter usernames will no longer count against the 140-character limit in replies, the company said today, following months of testing in which users complained that the redesign was confusing. Expect them to complain about this design, too: if more than one person is mentioned in your reply, Twitter hides their name unless you mouse over a link, making replies harder to browse. The goal of the redesign is to “let you express more with 140 characters,” Twitter said in a blog post. The move follows a change last year that excluded media attachments including photos, GIFs, and polls from being included in the character count. Now when you reply to a tweet, the name of the person you’re replying to will appear above the tweet. If more than one person is part of the thread, you’ll see one username followed by “and 1 other,” “and 2 others,” and so on. “When reading a conversation, you'll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a tweet,” Twitter said."[160]
2017 March 31 "Everyone knows that Twitter has a harassment problem. And while the service has tried things like banning abusive users (both on a temporary and permanent basis) it hasn’t really fixed the problem. Today, they’re announcing another sweeping change that fails to address the real problem: they’re cracking the egg. In a long-winded post the service announced they are replacing the default egg with a unisex profile picture resembling a head and shoulders silhouette. Beginning in 2010, all new accounts started with their default profile picture as an egg. Since then it has become an integral part of the Twitter brand. Everyone, even non-hardcore Twitter users, know the egg. Even CNN frequently features the egg when they show tweets from politicians and other celebrities. Twitter gave a bunch of reasons for the switch. Some, like the fact that a more generic profile picture should encourage new users to actually upload a real profile picture of themselves, make sense. But one reason for the switch was related to harassment. Specifically, Twitter said that since abusive accounts often have the egg as a profile picture, there is now “an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior.” Gee, ya think? What Twitter isn’t understanding is that abusive tweets sent from an egg account will now just be abusive tweets sent from a silhouette account. Switching up the profile picture may be putting a band-aid on the problem, but it does nothing to fix harassment in the long run. An abusive tweet is an abusive tweet, whether it’s next to an egg, a silhouette or a real person’s avatar. Plus, as a byproduct, Twitter is killing off yet another part of Twitter’s unique internal language and identity — just like they did with @replies and favorites. Don’t blame the egg, just fix the problem."[161]

Numerical and visual data

Google Scholar

The following table summarizes per-year mentions on Google Scholar as of November 3, 2021.

Year Twitter
2006 772,000
2007 723,000
2008 765,000
2009 887,000
2010 878,000
2011 925,000
2012 919,000
2013 879,000
2014 861,000
2015 822,000
2016 787,000
2017 668,000
2018 558,000
2019 418,000
2020 267,000
Twitch gscho.png

Google Trends

The chart below shows Google Trends data for Twitter (Social networking service), from March 2006 to April 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[162]

Twitter gt.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for Twitter, from 2000 to 2019.[163]

Twitter ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article Twitter, on desktop from December 2007, and on mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015; to March 2021.[164]

Twitter wv.png

See also


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