Founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter was seen as a quaint alternative to the established social media platforms of the time. Facebook was already huge, MySpace was still relevant and no one was quite sure where Twitter fit in.
Fast forward more than a decade and tens of millions of people use Twitter every single day.It is a platform for gathering news, sharing thoughts on interests with like-minded people and watching short form video content.
But is Twitter the same type of platform it was in 2006 or even 2010? Most would say no.
How Has Twitter Changed?
The biggest and most obvious change to Twitter since its inception is its scale. Users who were among the first arrivers onto the platform recall a much smaller, niche community.
And the volume of tweets from each account has also changed. Back in 2009, the average person on Twitter posted five times per month. That number went up to around 25 tweets per month between 2012 and 2013. It has since levelled off.
During the first few years of Twitter, it was solely a platform where people shared their thoughts in less than 180 characters. Replies were a very small part of the platform. Only five or six percent of all tweets in 2007 were replies.
Fast forward a couple years and that number went up to around 35 percent. It means a lot more people are using Twitter for the purpose of replying to others’ tweets. Discussion is up on the platform.
Another type of tweet that has risen is the mention. Early on, the number of tweets that mentioned another user on the platform was around 20 percent. Now the number is close to 60 percent. It means almost two-thirds of tweets on the platform are referencing or replying to another user.
More Than an American Platform
Twitter may have started as an American platform, where most of the users came from the United States and Canada. It has changed a lot since then. Only 30 percent of the people on Twitter are from those two countries.
English is still the most popular language on the platform, though. English was at 90 percent popularity in 2010, but it has since fallen to around 50 percent. It does indicate that many people from different parts of the world are now engaging on Twitter in their own language.
Less Fun, More Politics?
Many people who used Twitter since its inception look back on a platform that used to be about fun, jokes and interesting insight into different topics.
With its rising popularity, Twitter was leveraged by both businesses and politicians. It became the de facto platform where politicians could post short messages to a wide audience, without any need for a middle man.
The result is a platform that is dominated by news, politics and related topics. There are still people who use Twitter solely for their amusement, but the general image of the platform is one centered around news and politics.