Twitter marks its tenth anniversary today but 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 can still lay claim to some of social media’s biggest moments of the last decade.
Five hundred million tweets are now sent every day, with 200 billion posted every year and hashtags such as #eSuisParis 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.
Twitter’s Lewis Wiltshire said of the site’s 10th 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.Notable first tweets:https://twitter.com/NicolaSturgeon/status/22073825555
misses the megablog so will microblog instead
— Kezia Dugdale MSP (@kezdugdale) February 2, 2009
The campaign to re-elect Alex Salmond starts today
— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) January 25, 2011
Just back in dundee
— Lorraine (@reallorraine) January 7, 2010
a Big Hello
— Bob Servant (@bobservant) November 26, 2012
coming back from Miami
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) April 4, 2008
I only joined Twitter so I could take a look-see, but now I keep getting e-mails telling me people are following me. That way madness lies.
— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) May 21, 2009
I am told that people have been twittering on my behalf, so I thought a brief visit was in order just to prevent any more confusion!
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 17, 2009
First Tweet. In Korea in the Shinsegae lounge. I'm on my way to London.
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) May 8, 2012
I am being held hostage by @stellduffy who is making me tweet
— Val McDermid (@valmcdermid) April 24, 2011
Hello everybody, this is Windy Wilson a fictional weatherman from the East Strathearn in Scotland . . . . . .
— Windy Wilson (@WindyWilson88) November 7, 2010
Thinking we're only one signature away from ending the war in Iraq.
Learn more at http://www.barackobama.com
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 29, 2007
I'm starting Conference with this new Twitter feed about my role as Conservative Leader. I promise there won't be "too many tweets…"
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) October 6, 2012
has joined Twitter and is slowly going to figure out how this works
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 26, 2010
Can't wait to start talking on here!
— The Courier (@thecourieruk) April 21, 2010
But the best was from former Courier farming editor Ewan Pate:
First ever tweet. Anyone planting tatties today in Scotland?
— Ewan Pate (@C_EPate) April 18, 2013
“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.”
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, with One Direction’s official account the most followed UK account, with more than 27.6 million followers. Uncertainty remains however, with speculation continuing over possible plans by the firm to remove the site’s signature 140-character limit, despite calls to resist from the majority of users.