Twitter turns 10: a history of promoted tweets, Oscar selfies and #heforshe

Twitter celebrates its 10th anniversary today (21 March), to mark the occasion Marketing takes a look back at the social media company's key moments.

The Oscar selfie twetted by Ellen DeGeneres was the most retweeted in Twitter's history
The Oscar selfie twetted by Ellen DeGeneres was the most retweeted in Twitter's history
  • 2006 

    Twitter launches as a product of parent company Odeo, an aggregation website founded by Noah Glass and Evan Williams, after Jack Dorsey approaches the company with an instant messaging service idea. Dorsey sends the first tweet: "Just setting up my twttr" 

  • 2007 

    After slow initial growth usage takes off after Twitter is showcased at South by Southwest (SXSW) festival

  • Twitter is spun off into a separate company from Odeo offshoot Obvious Corp

  • The hashtag (#), which was first proposed by Twitter user Chris Messina, debuts on the service

  • 2009 

    The first photo from the scene of the US Airways plane crash in New York City’s Hudson River is shared on Twitter, breaking the news before traditional media knew about it

  • Dick Costolo joins Twitter as chief operating officer

  • 2010 

    Twitter begins to commercialise the service as it launches promoted tweets, which are integrated into users’ timelines

  • Twitter broadens its appeal to advertisers by launching promoted trends

  • Twitter launches promoted accounts. In this month Dick Costolo also transitions from chief operating officer to chief executive after Williams steps down

  • 2012 

    Twitter launches self-service advertising for small businesses

  • Barack Obama marks his re-election as president with a "four more years" tweet, which became the site’s most retweeted update

  • 2013 

    Short-form video service Vine is launched after it was acquired by Twitter the previous October 

  • Twitter acquires the largest mobile ad server, MoPub

  • Twitter floats on the New York Stock Exchange, at a valuation of $24bn

  • 2014 

    Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscar selfie becomes the most retweeted ever update

  • Twitter launches new web profiles, which includes features such as pinned tweets.

  • Launch of promoted videos

  • The #heforshe campaign, a push for gender equality, is launched by Harry Potter actress Emma Watson

  • 2015 

    After live video streaming service Meerkat bursts onto, the scene Twitter reacts by purchasing Periscope

  • Costolo steps down after growing unrest at falling share price as shareholders are disappointed about revenue and user growth. Dorsey steps in as interim CEO, before being handed the permanent position in October. 

  • Twitter launches Moments, a curated tab featuring a compilation of the biggest stories

  • Replacing the favourite button with a ‘heart’ button causes a stir among users

  • 2016 

    Share prices plunge as quarterly user growth fails to grow for the first time. Twitter also unveils a new algorithmic timeline to allow top tweets to be displayed by relevance rather than chronological order. Fears Twitter was going to replicate Facebook’s News Feed had caused uproar among Twitter’s power users 

  • Twitter celebrates its 10th anniversary

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