Twitter turns five

The Twitter homepage appears on a screen in Washington.

JEREMY HOBSON: Twitter turns five years old this week. And so far the home of the 140 character tweet has attracted some 200 million users. It's even played a role in protests and revolutions around the world.

From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman has our story.

MITCHELL HARTMAN: When Twitter creator Jack Dorsey started working on a simple messaging program to let his co-workers send each other quick online updates, he wasn't thinking it would become the 'next big thing.' But now, it isn't just used by his co-workers. It's a favorite tool of everyone from presidents to movie stars.

CARL HOWE: I would argue that Twitter started a social revolution -- all done with 140-character messages.

Carl Howe follows consumer technology at the Yankee Group in Boston. He says it's become a great way for executives to get their vision out in short bursts. And, since it's possible to tweet anonymously, it's been crucial to activists as well.

HOWE: You look at the events that happened in Tunisia and Egypt and then into Libya, and you can see the Twitter traffic represent the organization of people.

Twitter and Facebook have been shut down by regimes squelching Internet access. And then people have fallen back on old-fashioned face-to-face chat. Which also still works, five years on.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation