Monday, October 7, 2013

Mashable.com's Twitter Timeline and what I believe it missed

Regarding Twitter's IPO, Mashable.com's Taylor Casti posted this infographic today with a disclaimer (note, by the way, how it still refers to Twitter as a microblog; it still is, according to this description.):

Editor's note: In the infographic, below, Chris Messina is incorrectly identified as an employee of Twitter. He is actually a user of the microblogging network. The infographic will be amended shortly.

Mashable.com's Twitter timeline infographic

Jogging my memory—having been on Twitter since March 2007—I think it left out these other important Twitter milestones:
  1. The rise of the legendary but notorious Fail Whale (lovable nonetheless) in 2008 when Twitter had the most over-capacity issues dealing with scalability and growth in usage.


  2. To further convey the Fail Whale experience during that period, this classic and utterly hilarious video captioned by Crunchgear's Nicholas Deleon and his brother was posted in July 2008 which had most of the Twitterverse's 1.3M users in stitches. (Warning: safe for work but extreme #nerdalert and #geek caution required.)

  3. Twitter dropped outbound SMS support starting in the UK in August 2008, a service which enabled Twitter users to send text or instant messages over the web from the UK (and, eventually, Canada and the US) to mobile phones and computers in other countries.
    Being then the "world's SMS capital (the Philippines)," the handful of Filipino Twitter users were hopeful this service would persist and be adapted locally, perhaps a way around international SMS costs as the majority of Filipinos had—still do have—relatives actively based overseas.
    It should be noted that the reason Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters is from then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's idea of developing a "dispatch service that connects us on our phones using text.” At the time, mobile phone text messages were limited to 160 characters; longer than that meant breaking up the messages into parts.
    Twitter founders reduced the number of characters to 140 to allow space for usernames.
    "Getting started on Twitter via SMS" guide was how one signed up on Twitter using a mobile phone; it also allowed non-Twitter users to receive messages from it.
  4. The first #FollowFriday trend was posted by start-up mentor and tech entrepreneur Micah Baldwin. #FollowFriday had since been an enduring Twitter tradition.
  5. American actor Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) posted a Tweet on April 13, 2009 about a video of himself uploaded to YouTube challenging to beat CNN (@cnnbrk), then Twitter's #1 user in terms of followers, in being the 1st to have 1 million followers:
    CNN host Larry King responded to Kutcher with his own YouTube video, telling him:

    "Hey, Kutcher, I got your message. This is Larry King. Do I have to tell you who I am? Anyway, are you putting me on? Do you...are you kidding? Do you think you can take on an entire network? Do you know how big we are?...You're in another timezone. CNN will bury you!..."
    which is likely the seed of the often-fought Twitter wars between celebrities.
  6. The 140-character Twaikus, or Twitter haikus, a personal Twitter stream favorite over "what anyone-else-and-his/her-LOLcat-had-for-breakfast/lunch/dinner" Tweets.
    Okay, not in the Twitterverse trend-shocking magnitude but just to illustrate how the early Twitter adapters used Twitter in creative ways, a far cry from today's celebrity-and-fan bashing or gossip mongers working the rumor mill.
    See user Canadian poet @maureen's (Maureen Evans) Twitter posts in haiku which she's been doing since 2006.

    @maureen's likely 1st Tweet via snapbird.org
  7. Justin Bieber's fans trending #justinbieber for months since late 2009 which Twitter responded to with a change to its algorithm in May 2010, from what's "most discussed" to "what's breaking" and "immediately popular.
Twitter has since been many things to many people. Those who were spared the frustration of encountering the Fail Whale in 2008-2009 when Twitter was run on Rails are somewhat lucky to be able to Tweet away at their hearts' content, yet I think they missed out on the most fun part of being on Twitter.

If Twitter's IPO does its 2013 215M users continuous uptime even in momentous global events, then I hope it does get its US$1B funding and applies what it has learned about tech IPO hiccups from Facebook.

More Twitter stats (as of 5-7-2013) from statisticbrain.com.


Except for some occasions, my Twitter account has been private since March 2007 but if so inclined,  follow me @kaffee


Cross-posted to ideography.wordpress.com.

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