Excerpt from The PC Pioneers
On this day in 2006 the first Tweet was sent
It was Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, who took Dorsey’s earlier notions forward to develop Twitter.
A brainstorming session was held in 2006 to see where they might take Odeo next and Williams urged Dorsey to describe his thoughts for a cross-system short messaging approach to satisfy not just the courier business but the general public too. Initially the service was called ‘status’ or ‘stat.us’ on the basis that it told others of your current status – where you were, what you were doing.
But it was Williams who came up with the eventual name of the service by comparing the proposed traffic to the chatter between birds, short bursts of seemingly random information – hence Twitter. Definitions vary but my preferred one is the rather English and thus suitably pompous ‘drawing room chatter’.
They realised that the word could be used as a noun or a verb and suffixes could be added. The action would be ‘twittering’; if you were getting too many messages you would be ‘twitterpated’ and so on.
Dorsey (@jack), Stone (@biz) and others took just two weeks to come up with version 0.1.
For the messaging service they came to the conclusion that use of mobile SMS was compelling as it could bridge the gap between PCs and mobiles. SMS allowed the user 160 characters per message before it broke it into packages.
They needed therefore to have a five letter SMS code and selected ‘twttr’, apparently inspired by Flickr – though that’s six letters! ‘twttr’ was unavailable and they soon switched from their first used code of ‘10958’, to the more memorable ‘40404’, as its US SMS short code and reinstated the vowels to make the service Twitter.
Dorsey sent the first ever web-based twitter at 9:50am on 21 March 2006.
‘just setting up my twttr’