10 things you didn't know about Twitter

Twitter: the world's foremost tool for telling complete strangers they're rubbish and you wish they were dead. But then you knew this already. In honour of Ross Noble's new twitter-led travel show, here's 10 other factoids about the social network for your eyes to enjoy

10 things you didn't know about Twitter


Fact 1

Generally speaking, a "brainstorming session" at work means eating doughnuts and throwing balls of paper at each other. Except for one brainstorming session in 2006, at a small podcasting company called Odeo, where an idea pitched by some young bloke called Jack Dorsey resulted in Twitter. And if that sounds insultingly casual, there's more…

Fact 2

Jack and his fellow techies weren't even sat at a boardroom table like proper business people when the Twitter concept was first discussed. Nope, they were pratting about in a park. On a children's slide. While eating Mexican food. That's when they came up with the idea that would make them billionaires.

Fact 3

Twitter may be one of the world's biggest brands, but it does sound kind of silly when you think about it. Still, it's an improvement on its original name, "twttr". (You can blame Flickr for being the inspiration behind that.)

Fact 4

Humanity's first ever tweet was sent on March 21, 2006 by Jack Dorsey. It said: "just setting up my twttr", setting the precedent for every staggeringly dull celebrity tweet to come since.

Fact 5

By some considerable margin, the three most-followed people on Twitter are Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Remember that, the next time you're tempted to feel optimistic about the world.

Fact 6

The Twitter hashtag wasn't actually invented by Twitter. It was the idea of a clever user called Chris Messina, who on August 23, 2007 tweeted "how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?", changing the way we communicate forever. #wesometimeswishhehadnt

Fact 7

The most dramatic hacker attack on Twitter happened on December 17, 2009, when Twitter users were redirected to a page by the "Iranian Cyber Army". We know this because they helpfully put up a message saying "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army". They also added a bit of poetry, which was nice.

Fact 8

You know the Twitter bird logo? It has a name. And that name is Larry, in honour of basketball player Larry Bird. (Disclaimer for pedantic bores: the logo was slightly tweaked in 2012 and may not be called Larry anymore. But, you know, shut up.)

Fact 9

The most tweeted moment of all time? It wasn't Obama's re-election, or the release of a new Bieber video, or the grand finale of Glee (which sadly hasn't happened yet). No, it was the airing of an 80s animated film called Castle in the Sky on Japanese telly in August this year. It caused 143,199 tweets PER SECOND. Compared to an average of 5,700 tweets per second. That's a lot.

Fact 10

Twitter has never turned a profit. In fact, it makes huge losses, in the tens of millions. It's because it's been more concerned with building its base and investing shedloads of cash in new ventures. Plus, when it floats on the stock market soon, it'll make its creators enough money to swim around in coins, Scrooge McDuck style. So don't worry about them.

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