Twitter, the “microblogging” service that allows one to express one’s thoughts to the world in not more than 140 characters, is five years old today. Here at New7Wonders, we say “Congratulations!”
Back on 21 March 2006, the notion that a technology involving 140-character messages could become a serious communication channel seemed as farfetched as the idea that people could have a political discussion using smoke signals, drums or signal lamps. But the derision and scepticism that greeted the service in its early days has since been replaced by respect and admiration.
What began five years ago today has become, along with e-mail and the web, one of the most useful aspects of the internet. As Twitter has evolved, it has developed a clever set of conventions that enable people to exchange information. Users can reply directly to tweets or they can “retweet” tweets they like, so that a thought or a link which is popular with one group of users will then be circulated among a completely different set of followers. In this way, ideas spread across the internet with incredible speed.
Twitter was the way in which many people first learned of the death of Michael Jackson, the engagement of Price William to Kate Middleton and the Japanese earthquake. As well, because Twitter is so easy to use on mobile phones, it has become a useful tool for dissidents and protesters everywhere, from Egypt to China. So, what seemed absurd to many when it began on 21 March 2006 is now serious, valuable and useful. it is also a vital part of the New7Wonders of Nature campaign and we’d like to use this happy occasion to invite people all over the world to follow us in Twitter. Happy Birthday!