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Twitter, launched five years ago, delivers 350 billion tweets a day

July 15, 2011 |  5:59 pm

Twttr.com

Twitter was launched publicly five years ago, on July 13, 2006, and has gone from an unknown text-messaging and Web service then called Twttr to one of the biggest forces in social media.

On Friday, Twitter's engineering department said in a message sent out over the micro-blogging service that 350 billion tweets were delivered each day.

"When someone tweets, that tweet is sent to the timelines of his/her followers," a Twitter spokeswoman said. "Each of those is one delivery."

An average of 200 million tweets are sent out by users each day, she said.

"For context on the speed of Twitter's growth, in January of 2009, users sent two million Tweets a day, and one year ago they posted 65 million a day," Twitter said in a June blog post on hitting 200 million tweets.

In another Friday message, this time from Twitter's main account, the company said that "there were 224 tweets sent on July 15, 2006. Today, users send that many Tweets in less than a tenth of a second."

The fifth birthday for the social networking service, now used by about 13% of U.S. adults online according to Pew Research Center estimates, has been celebrated by Twitter since about March, which is the month that the programming to build the service got started back in '06.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone celebrated with an appearance on the TV show "Conan," later joining co-founder Jack Dorsey on "Piers Morgan Tonight." Dorsey, who now leads product development at Twitter, sent out a series of tweets highlighting the young firm's history in March. And even Snoop Dogg and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton popped up in a video with other public figures wishing the 400-person company well.

"Yesterday, we saw more than 600,000 signups," Twitter said in another Friday tweet. "It took us more than *16 months* to reach the first 600,000 Twitter accounts."

Another tweet from the company linked to a personal blog post from Stone published on July 15, 2006, when Twitter was opened to the public.

In that launch-day blog post, Stone (then an working at the podcasting company Odeo, which built Twttr as a side project) emphasized the text messaging (SMS) aspect of the product:

Twttr is a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS. When we showed it to Jason Goldman (product manager of Blogger) he called it "present tense blogging." That's a great way to describe it. It's fun to use because it strips social blogging down to it's essence and makes it immediate.

Jack Dorsey is one of Odeo's brightest stars so when he told us about this idea that has been haunting him for six years we had to listen. It's not even remotely related to audio but it's an awesome idea so we told him to go for it. Jack put this thing together very quickly but it took a few months to get a short code.

As noted by the tech blog Mashable, Stone also appeared in short YouTube video trying to explain -- jokingly -- what exactly Twitter was to those on the Web. Check out the video below.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screenshot of Twitter.com's homepage. Credit: Twitter

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