When Twitter was first created nobody realised how much it would influence the news agenda.

With its 140 character limit it could have been a recipe for disaster. Instead many people use it as their source for flash updates on news from around the globe.

We take a look at the history of Twitter and a selection of some of its most iconic moments.

Twitter Logo



To the tune of 200 million tweets per day, Twitter has become one of the top ten most visited websites. It is used as a social platform for many reasons.

Whether it is tweeting your opinion on the latest movie release or for breaking news, no one can deny that Twitter has made an impact on our society.

Created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, a software architect from Missouri, the idea was to introduce an online SMS service for people to communicate in small groups.

This year the social networking website has rapidly peaked with over 140 million active users.

As a nation we are constantly trying to fit more into our daily routines. We have to ask ourselves – are we now relying on social networking to keep a track of global issues?

Are we spending less time reading full newspaper articles when we are able to get the most important snippets of information from a single tweet? For many people the answer is yes.

Over the past six years, Twitter has quickly evolved to becoming the leading platform for communication during global disasters. Giving citizens who would not normally speak out a voice.

It has witnessed the introduction of citizen journalism, and has even become a tool for people who are fighting to live in a democracy.

Below is a list of some of the most significant moments in which Twitter has played a major role, and a reminder of why the world has become so tweeting mad:

In 2008 a student from the USA named James Karl Buck was captured and put into an Egyptian jail while covering an anti-government protest. He sent a single tweet with one word – “arrested”. Friends and family back home within seconds read the tweet and began the necessary action to help free Buck from prison. After a number of protests and negotiation Buck was let go posting another tweet to inform his followers simply saying “free”.


James Karl Buck tweets for help from Egyptian prison


In 2009 Twitter was the first to break the news of a New York plane to crash into the Hudson River. The first tweet came from a witness of the crash who instantly took a photo on his mobile phone and uploaded it to twitter posting: “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy”. As the news spread, New Yorkers took to the social networking site to receive updates from people at the scene before the news reached national television.

Original tweet caption: "There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”

In 2010the largest library in the world, Library of Congress, struck a deal with the Twitter headquarters to archive every single tweet ever made since founded in 2006. The archives won’t contain tweets that users have protected, but every other message will be stored there – including the very first, sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. The world’s tweets will be stored alongside Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the American Declaration of Independence. The aim of this is data collection, and for scientists to use the information to analyse how people react to different types of news.

The first ever Tweet to be sent, by founder Jack Dorsey

In 2011 civilians involved in the Arab Spring used Twitter as a voice, to speak out against their rulers and inform others of protests that were currently underway. On Twitter, the hash tag “Egypt” had over 1.4 million mentions within three months. Other trending hash tags such as “Libya” had 990,000; “Bahrain” had 640,000; and “protest” had 620,000. The flurry of tweets spiralled during the turning points of the uprisings.

Arab Spring, Egypt

Arab Spring, Egypt

In 2012 a video went viral and was tweeted across the globe in a bid to capture a man named Joseph Kony. The video was released by Jason Russell and the foundation Invisible Children. It was set up in an attempt to expose the corrupt practice behind Kony, as he has been accused by government entities of ordering the abduction of children to become child-sex slaves and child soldiers. The Invisible Children foundation currently has 397,211 followers with the trending of ‘Kony 2012’ constantly still on the rise.




About Leanne Daisy Johnson

I am an aspiring young journalist currently studying an MA in Journalism with a background in Fashion Communication.
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