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Twitter's road to an IPO, in pictures

Much like the initial IPO announcement, Twitter defended its $1 billion fundraising goal with some significant Tweets. Let's flip through them.
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1 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Twitter has come a long way since launching in 2006 to become one of the most familiar names and influential businesses in technology.

Based on some of the figures revealed in the company's S-1 filing made public for the first time on Thursday, it looks like Twitter still has a long road ahead given that it's not exactly profitable yet but still wants to raise $1 billion for its initial public offering.

In order to get there, Twitter included a number of notable Tweets from its short but already storied history, demonstrating the diversity in use cases and value.

Let's take a look back at the micro-blogging service's road to an IPO.

Images via Twitter (U.S. SEC S-1 Filing)

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2 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Twitter said it now has 218.3 million users on average per month, or 100 million daily active users. That has led to an average of 500 million tweets sent per day, or 300 billion tweets sent since the company launched seven years ago.

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3 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

During the second quarter of calendar 2013, Twitter had 150.9 billion Timeline Views, up 69 percent from the previous quarter.

Twitter defined Timeline Views as "as the total number of timelines requested when registered users visit Twitter, refresh a timeline or view search results while logged in on our website, mobile website or desktop or mobile applications."

There are a few caveats to that definition. For example, witter clarified that these figures exclude TweetDeck and the Twitter client for Mac because Twitter does "not fully track this data."

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4 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Advertising is absolutely crucial to defending Twitter's value. Some of its more notable schemes include Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and most recently, targeted advertising tied to television programming.

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5 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Do you remember your first Tweet? Well, we all got a look at the first Tweet from anyone in Twitter's S-1 filing, courtesy of co-founder Jack Dorsey. He didn't even use up all of the 140-character spaces at his disposal.

(He also appeared to be a fan of that Web 2.0/3.0 trend of dropping the vowels. Let's all rejoice that they kept those in the official moniker after all.)

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6 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Another use case touted by Twitter: an emergency response tool by government officials and relief organizations, as demonstrated by this Tweet sent by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg during Hurricane Sandy in November 2012.

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7 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Twitter as a real-time, breaking news service. Case in point: This Tweet sent by Twitter user Jānis Krūms immediately after US Airways Flight 1549 landed on the Hudson River near New York City in January 2009.

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8 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

And let's not forget that being a social network, striking up a conversation is at the core of this platform. What differentiates Twitter from Facebook is that many of these conversations (even between celebrities) are public entertainment for all of us.

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9 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

After winning the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, Twitter said this Tweet from President Obama's account was viewed approximately 25 million times.

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10 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

More from Twitter about how it can prove to be engaging during live events, such as the blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl:

Many individuals and organizations choose to break news first on Twitter because of the unique reach and speed of distribution on our platform. These events may be planned, like sporting events and television shows, or unplanned, like natural disasters and political revolutions. Users tweet about these events to entertain, editorialize, or commiserate and, in some cases, as a public service.

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11 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Promoted Products make up a big chunk of Twitter's revenue plan. One example of Twitter's pay-for-performance Tweets can be seen in this one from software analytics firm New Relic, which Twitter said used its services to target the B2B audience of developers and IT decision makers through a combination of interest and keyword targeting.

The goal, according to Twitter, was "to drive purchases and installs of its application performance management services."

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12 of 12 Rachel King/ZDNet

Finally, we all know how easily it can be for a YouTube video or some other meme to go viral these days, and Twitter plays into that big time.

But sometimes it's not actually as easy as it looks, and Twitter is tapping into marketing potential here too:

The public and widely distributed nature of our platform enables Tweets to spread virally, potentially reaching all of our users and people around the world. Our users retweet, reply to or start conversations about interesting Tweets, whether those Tweets are Promoted Tweets or organic Tweets by advertisers. An advertiser only gets charged when a user engages with a Promoted Tweet that was placed in a user’s timeline because of its promotion. By creating highly compelling and engaging ads, our advertisers can benefit from users retweeting their content across our platform at no incremental cost.

Twitter added that its viral, cross-screen promotion scheme generated more than 242,000 Tweets mentioning the Wheat Thins brand during the campaign, resulting in a "significant" uptick in followers for the brand on Twitter.

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