April 17, 2016
With Twitter recently turning 10 years old it’s time to take a look back at all the platform has given us over the last 10 years. For a decade now, Twitter has encouraged users to say what was on their minds though briefly.
Ten years and billions of characters later, Twitter is now a completely different place and almost unrecognizable from the platform it was in its infancy. However now it has morphed into an indispensable tool that we use to stay in contact with friends and family while connecting with the brands and personalities we admire.
Here’s a list of the 10 things Twitter has given to us over the past decade.
- Hashtags – Hashtags were originally meant to be sort topics making it easy for a user to find tweets on one particular topic. Using a hashtag means your tweet will be indexed along with other tweets using the same hashtag. This automatically turns them into searchable links. However, hashtags are also used to create awareness for different campaigns and have now worked their way into everyday usage. Other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have also adopted the hashtag. When a hashtag is being used repeatedly by thousands of people within a short space of time it is said to be “trending”.
- Hashtag Staples – This is the running theme version of Twitter which uses hashtags to highlight something different each day. For example there is #FF (Follow Friday) which can help you recommend another Twitter account for your followers to follow. There’s also #TBT (Throwback Thursday) which you can use to share an old photo, song or anything from the past worth remembering. #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) helps you to pay tribute to a woman in your life that you find admirable.
- Livetweeting – This is one of the better uses of Twitter’s hashtag. There are few things more fun than watching a TV show while tweeting your opinions about its dramatic twists and turns. Whether it’s The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, tag your tweets with a relevant hashtag and soon everyone is a part of the conversation. You can also read other users’ opinion about the show and either reply or retweet their tweets.
- Retweets – Retweeets were created as a way of sharing a tweet from a third party that you found interesting. It allowed you to give credit to the person who originally posted the tweet. Retweeting has had some big moments in years gone past. The most retweeted tweet ever came from a group selfie taken when Ellen Degeneres hosted the Academy Awards in 2014.
- Hardline Brevity – In an age where the mantra was more, more, more, Twitter stuck to its game plan by staying true to its 140 word limit on all tweets. Quite a few fans have called for Twitter to increase its limit, however the limit went unchanged. Twitter did decide to be flexible when it comes to direct messages, ditching the 140-word limit. When necessary, many people circumvent the rule by continued tweeting or by posting an image of a longer passage, for example a letter.
- Spoof Accounts – What is life without someone trying their hardest to make fun of it? Spoof accounts are one of the funnier elements of Twitter lampooning everyone from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Donald Trump’s hair to Pharrell Williams’ zany hat. Spoof accounts are always ready to provide a good laugh when the rest of “real” Twitter accounts become too ordinary.
- Death Hoaxes – One of the worst aspects of Twitter and a natural byproduct of endless retweeting is the celebrity death hoax. With no clear indication of how they get rolling so quickly, death hoaxes have been announcing erroneous deaths of celebrities for years. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Morgan Freeman has had an erroneous death hoax play out in the twitterverse. Unfortunately, with the inclination to retweet greater than the inclination to fact check, there seems to be no end in sight for this phenomenon.
- Celebrity Interactions – More than any other social media platform, Twitter seems to lend itself most easily to celebrity interactions. While there are celebrities aplenty on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, the vast majority of times it seems as though celebrities themselves are in charge of their Twitter accounts and not a paid social media manager. It seems that many times celebrities are the ones tweeting and replying to tweets. Whether or not this is true, it is one of the easiest ways to get a reply or retweet from your favorite celebrity. Besides celebrity interaction, Twitter also makes it easy to interact with your favorite live TV shows. Many times hosts encourage viewers to contribute to the show through Twitter and tweets are either shown or read on the air. This affords live TV an added boost of interaction with the viewing public
- Twitter Revolution – As much fun as it is to tweet to your favorite celebrity and have him or her reply, Twitter has also been used for far more serious reasons in the past 10 years. One such instance was the Arab Spring of 2011. Starting in Tunisia, the Arab Spring was a period in which there was great upheaval in the Arab world as citizens demanded democracy from their leaders. Eventually this movement spread to other countries such as Egypt, Lybia and Syria just to name a few. Twitter and other social media outfits played a critical role in the Arab Spring allowing protestors to communicate and coordinate their efforts. Such was the impact of Twitter and social media, many governments took to banning the platforms in an effort to destabilize protestors.
Twitter has come a long way in the past 10 years. It has transformed the way we communicate with each other, with our favorite celebrities and with complete strangers. It is now ingrained in our society and were it to be taken away, our society would undoubtedly suffer. Considering the massive leaps Twitter has taken, not surprisingly, many are optimistic for what’s in store next.
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