Infographic: A Look at Twitter's Explosive Five-Year History

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"When it first appeared, with its 140-character limitation and lack of conversation threads, Twitter hardly seemed like the communications revolution it has become," the introduction to a new infographic from Visual.ly explains. "But people now tweet about everything: from what they had for lunch to breaking news, all to the tune of 200 million tweets a day. Twitter's even played a significant role in disaster relief and political revolutions."

Because the service has more than 200 million registered users now, those 200 million tweets that are sent every day are delivered more than 350 billion times. The little company that started out as Twttr because a birding enthusiast owned the Twitter.com domain name at the time, has exploded. Right out of the gate, the numbers were impressive, yet they've only been accelerating ever since. As recently as September 2010, Twitter was used to send 90 million updates every day. Though the service is five years old now, in just the last 10 months that number has doubled. Where will it be in another 10 months?

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • Two hundred million tweets are sent 350 billion tweets are delivered every day, where delivery counts the individual number of Twitter users who receive updates.
  • On the first day Twitter was made available to the public, 224 tweets were sent. Today, that number of updates are posted at least 10 times a second.
  • In January of 2006, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone of San Francisco podcasting startup Odeo came up with the idea for a product based on status updates. By the following month, they had started working on Twttr. The name would not be changed until September, two months after the product was released to the public.
  • In July of 2007, Twitter closed its first outside round of funding and the value of the product would soon be demonstrated: In October, the service was used closely to track updates on wildfires in California. A year later, Twitter was used to find gas during a shortage in Atlanta. The following month, in November 2008, Twitter would be employed by residents of Mumbai to share information about terrorist attacks.
  • Today, Twitter has more than 200 million registered accounts.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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