March 21, 2016 9:26 am
Updated: March 21, 2016 6:14 pm

10 years of Twitter: Moments that made history

Twitter turns 10 this week.

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

A lot has changed in 10 years, but Twitter has been there through it all.

With the words, “Just setting up my twttr,” Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey launched the social network on March 21, 2006. Since then, nearly every breaking news event, election and viral debate has been documented on the social media site.

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But Twitter’s 10th birthday comes at a time of great change. The San Francisco company showed no user growth at all in its fourth-quarter earnings report released in February, the clearest sign yet that the one-time trendsetter is struggling to remain relevant.

Twitter is left with 320 million monthly users — roughly one-fifth the size of Facebook.

READ MORE: Twitter’s disappearing act – flatlining user growth sparks concerns

Combine that with an array of platform changes that has left the majority of users dissatisfied, a sharp decline in revenue and a series of layoffs and Twitter’s future remains quite muddy.

Whatever Twitter’s future may be, the platform has made its mark on history thanks to its influence on many world events.

In 2009, a tweet first notified the world that a US Airways flight had made an emergency landing on the Hudson River.

WATCH: Happy 10th birthday, Twitter!

In 2011, Twitter played a crucial role in Egypt’s Arab Spring as political activists turned to the social network to voice opinions and to organize protests. When those protests turned bloody, activists spread warnings of dangerous areas in 140 characters (or less) to prevent casualties.

In 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield became a social media sensation for his use of the site while onboard the International Space Station. Then, in 2015, a viral debate about the colour of a dress sparked a worldwide conversation about the power of social media – as well as countless office arguments.

READ MORE: Twitter’s most influential moments of 2015

In a video looking back at its milestones, Twitter celebrated hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #with Malala, #LoveWins and #BringBackOurGirls — all of which sparked global conversations about social change, securing the platform’s place in history books.

More recently, Twitter has been busy defending its stance on terrorism and abusive behaviour on the site.

The so-called Islamic State and similar groups have relied heavily on Twitter to recruit followers and spread propaganda. In early December, Facebook was forced to defend its policy on terrorism in response to a petition accusing the social network of not doing enough to shut down terrorism-related accounts. Early this year Twitter executives, alongside representatives from other tech companies, attended a meeting at the White House to discuss ways to use technology to stop terrorists from radicalizing people online and spurring them to violence.

Want to see how much your Twitter style has changed since you first joined the site? Check out the company’s feature that lets you search for your very first tweet.



© 2016 Shaw Media

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