Twitter turns six: 140 million users, 340 million tweets daily

Summary:In its short life span, it has raked in 140 million users sending 340 million tweets a day. But it doesn't quite compare to the success of Facebook or Google+.

Happy birthday, Twitter. Pfffrrshhht: the sound of me chirruping with my party blower at its success.

The microblogging service turns six years old today since Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey published his first tweet. Like YouTube's first video, it was mostly dull, short, and involved elephants. Probably, somewhere.

But the tweet went down in history, and only regurgitated on days like today when there's cake candles to blow out.

Six years is a long time for a company in the post-dotcom boom. The site has transformed like so many of its California-based brothers and sisters, from Facebook to Google, from a humble and quiet service to a site that has quite literally changed the world, and continues to do so.

Twitter posted some numbers on how the service is doing; figures which officially make the service "mainstream", though granted it has been ingrained in real-world, television, film, print and online media for years already.

A year ago, Twitter was sending 140 million tweets per day. Today its 140 million active users are sending more than 340 million tweets each day. This roughly puts Facebook over 600 percent larger than Twitter in terms of user base. Google+ has by comparison in the region of 195 million accounts, showing exponential growth rarely seen in an modern online service.

Compared to Facebook's 850 million users with them sharing over 4 billion "things" per day as of July 2011, it has a long way to go before it can compete within the 'private' sector of social networking.

It took Twitter exactly 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day to reach the first billion tweets, and yet now it manages 1 billion tweets every three days. It took 18 months to sign up the first half-million accounts, and this time last year it raked in over half a million accounts per day.

Twitter has become the modern day watercooler for gossip and rumours, mundane updates and ground-breaking announcements. Without Apple's help by bringing the microblogging service to its iOS devices, there is no telling how different the headlines could have been today.

Numbers aside, the one thing you cannot avoid is the societal impact Twitter has had.

Just today, amidst the controversy over the announcement of the UK's annual governmental budget, Twitter was trending with "#grannytax" as part of the human revolt led against pensioners' frozen tax allowances. A dull story turned into a worldwide hit within minutes of it being announced by the UK's finance chancellor.

Image source: Jack Dorsey/ZDNet; Article source: Twitter.

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Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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