Twitter marks its tenth anniversary today (Monday), with the social media site having hosted some of the biggest social movements of the last 10 years, yet uncertainty still hangs over its future.
The site, which is used by many organisations as a customer service tool, is struggling to attract new users, has seen share prices tumble and faces continued questions over how it handles abuse, but can still lay claim to some of social media’s biggest moments of the last decade.
Five hundred million tweets are now sent every day, with 200 billion posted every year and hashtags such as #JeSuisParis in the wake of the November terrorist attacks in the French capital dominating international debate online.
The engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton was also first confirmed on Twitter in 2010 in a royal first.
Twitter’s Lewis Wiltshire said of the site’s 10th birthday: “Whether it’s the London 2012 Olympics, the #GBBO final, the General Election or the BRIT Awards, when big events happen, they happen on Twitter. The depth and breadth of content shared by our users around these big moments has made it the perfect live viewing party for the world’s biggest events.”
“And 10 years on from the first ever Tweet, our birthday also gives us a great chance to reflect on those big events, but also on those Twitter users who connect in other amazing and inspiring ways, every day. From @HerdyShepherd1 Tweeting updates from his farm to a worldwide audience of thousands, to campaigning movements like #EverydaySexism, we remain humbled and inspired by the people who have made Twitter their own.”
In 2008, NASA also used the site to confirm the Mars Phoenix Lander had found ice on the planet. There have also been more than 250 billion ‘likes’ of posts to site.
However, issues have continued to plague Twitter, particularly surrounding abuse – something one of its most prominent supporters, actor Stephen Fry cited when he quit Twitter last month.
He described its decline from “a secret bathing-pool in a magical glade” to a stagnant pool that is “frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish”, adding that he felt the site had become a “stalking ground”.
Despite this Twitter still has more than 15 million users in the UK, with One Direction’s official account the most followed UK account, with more than 27.6 million followers. Uncertainty remains however, with speculation continuing over possible plans by the firm to remove the site’s signature 140-character limit, despite calls to resist from the majority of users.