Let us now take a moment to give thanks that Twitter was not named "Friendstalker." Or, for that matter, "Smssy." Or, for that matter, "Throbber." (Throbber?!)
It was 2006. Odeo, the podcasting service that would evolve into Twitter, was deep in the process of pivoting. The members of the Odeo team had invented the short-form, SMS-based messaging service that would go on to make (some of) them billionaires. Twitter, at that point, existed. Except that it didn't, fully: Its creators had no idea what to call their invention.
In his book Hatching Twitter, an exploration of the early days of the messaging service, New York Times reporter Nick Bilton tells the story of Twitter becoming "Twitter." The name was, like many decisions the Odeo team would make together, the subject of much debate.
The small group immersed in the new project had been throwing around name ideas for a couple of days, though they couldn't agree on something that worked. Jack suggested the name Status, which others said was "too engineer sounding." Biz suggested Smssy. "Cute, but no." Ev had come up with Friendstalker, which was instantly nixed as sure to drive away anyone who wasn't 18 years old, male, and very single.
Noah Glass, a developer and "the forgotten co-founder of Twitter," made it his mission to come up with a name that would be illustrative and engaging and not already claimed by another startup. Glass spent nearly a week consumed with the naming question, Bilton notes, "burrowed in the back of the office," skipping lunches with coworkers, "searching for a word that made sense."