Twitter came to life five years ago this week; creator Jack Dorsey remembers
In March 2006, Jack Dorsey began writing the code for a simple program that would let his office mates send each other little messages. But more than e-mail or instant message, the idea was to let people send everyone in the office short 140-character status updates, either from their computers or via text message. Originally the project was called "Stat.us."
But before long, it became Twitter.
Dorsey reminded the world about the inception of Twitter in a tweet Sunday: "5 years ago today we started programming Twitter ("twttr" for short). 8 days later the first tweet was sent: http://t.co/Vi5ii5A #twttr."
Next Monday will be the fifth anniversary of that very first tweet:
Fairly prosaic, of course, but that was long before Jack or any of his "co-workers" would know that Twitter would go from a neat interoffice messaging tool to a worldwide information exchange medium -- used by everyone from the president of the United States, to Bill Gates, to Iranian and Egyptian dissidents, and back to Charlie Sheen.
Twitter started as a sort of hobby project inside a separate company -- Odeo -- that built ways to share audio and video over the Web. The company was founded by Noah Glass and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams -- and they gave Dorsey the free time to follow an idea he'd been brewing for years. Dorsey explained much of the origins of the Twitter idea in a set of interviews he did with the L.A. Times in 2009. In them, he talks about one of the site's founding sketches that he drew in 2001.
Dorsey said Sunday that he would be sharing early notes and drawings from the service's founding this week. Among the first tidbits he sent around was an instant-message exchange he had with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, telling Stone that work on Twitter (then called "twttr") was starting:
me: Biz! How goes? We're starting work on the twttr implementation today.
Biz: really?! NICE
Dorsey reminded his Twitter followers that the company's name was based on the definition of "twitter" in the Oxford English dictionary: "a short inconsequential burst of information, chirps from birds."
-- David Sarno