SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter is celebrating its 8th birthday by taking millions of its users back to their first tweets.
The microblogging service on Thursday launched a website, called first-tweets.com, that lets users search their own account or those of others to find their first tweet. Users are also encouraged to use the hashtag #FirstTweet.
"Millions of prolific tweeters have made Twitter an exciting, fun and powerful place to connect with others," says Gabriel Stricker, Twitter's vice president of marketing and communications. "But each of you had to start somewhere."
If anything, Twitter celebrated its birthday early — in November — when it went public in the most important technology offering since Facebook's market debut in May 2012. Twitter has become an essential tool for celebrities, politicians and citizens to share information, opine and vent.
Still, questions remain over Twitter's financial prospects and how the stock will perform once subject to quarterly earnings reports.
Of course, no first tweet was more notable than the one posted by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21, 2006, which happened to be the first tweet ever published. "Just setting up my twtr," Dorsey wrote eight years ago. Ironically, Dorsey has been noticeably quiet on Twitter the past few months.
Dorsey, a computer programmer from St. Louis who is Twitter's chairman, considers Twitter a "status updater, a way to say where he was and what he was doing. A place to display yourself, your ego."
Twitter co-founder Evan "Ev" Williams, a computer-obsessed Nebraska farm boy, has a different opinion. Twitter is a way to learn "where other people were and what other people were doing," he says.
Twitter has grown quickly in the last eight years, morphing from a simple social network to a public company, making its debut on the New York Stock Exchange late last year. As of last month, Twitter boasted more than 240 million monthly active users.
"Twitter changed my personal and professional life," says Bijan Sabet, a general partner at Spark Capital, which led a $14 million Series B round of funding for Twitter in 2008 when it had about a dozen employees.
"In many ways, Twitter has innovated, evolved and grown — but it is still the very same product I fell in love with from the beginning," Sabet says. "It's a simple, powerful way to connect with the world in real time."