Twitter celebrates its 10th birthday, but the future remains unclear
Twitter marks its tenth anniversary on Monday, with the social media site having hosted some of the biggest social movements of the last 10 years – yet uncertainty still hangs over its future.
The site is struggling to attract new users, has seen share prices tumble and faces continued questions over how it handles abuse.
But it can still lay claim to some of social media’s biggest moments of the last decade.
500 million tweets are now sent every day, with 200 billion posted every year and hashtags such as #JeSuisParis in the wake of the November terrorist attacks in the French capital dominating international debate online.
The engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton was also first confirmed on Twitter in 2010 in a royal first.
The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton - www.princeofwales.gov.uk— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) November 16, 2010
In 2008, NASA also used the site to confirm the Mars Phoenix Lander had found ice on the planet.
Twitter’s Lewis Wilshere said of the site’s tenth birthday: “Whether it’s the London 2012 Olympics, the #GBBO final, the General Election or the BRIT Awards, when big events happen, they happen on Twitter. The depth and breadth of content shared by our users around these big moments has made it the perfect live viewing party for the world’s biggest events.
“And ten years on from the first ever tweet, our birthday also gives us a great chance to reflect on those big events, but also on those Twitter users who connect in other amazing and inspiring ways, every day. From @HerdyShepherd1 tweeting updates from his farm to a worldwide audience of thousands, to campaigning movements like #EverydaySexism, we remain humbled and inspired by the people who have made Twitter their own.”
There have also been more than 250 billion ‘likes’ of posts to site.
However, issues have continued to plague Twitter, particularly surrounding abuse – something one of its most prominent supporters, actor Stephen Fry cited when he quit Twitter last month.
He described its decline from “a secret bathing-pool in a magical glade” to a stagnant pool that is “frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish”, adding that he felt the site had become a “stalking ground”.
Despite this, Twitter still has more than 15 million users in the UK, while One Direction’s official account is the most followed UK account, with more than 27.6 million followers.
Uncertainty remains, however, with speculation continuing over possible plans to remove the site’s signature 140-character limit, despite calls to resist from many users.