2009 was the year of Twitter. According to a recent article on TimesOnline, written by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, the site saw unprecendented growth and influence during the last year of the first decade of the 21st century. Who would have thought just a decade ago that we’d be here today, in a world where information travels faster than James Bond could have predicted, thanks in part to Twitter?
As an example, Stone writes about the aftermath of the Iran election of 2009 and the integral part Twitter played in allowing people to communicate within and across borders — something that couldn’t have been done just a few years ago — when he writes about a planned maintenance for Twitter.com that was scheduled to happen on June 15, just after the Iran election. A note was added to Twitter.com that morning warning users that the site would not be available while a system upgrade occurred. Within minutes, the reach and influence of Twitter became clear. As Stone writes:
“Immediately, we began to see a reaction in the form of tweets. Then came the emails. Then came the phone calls. Even the US State Department contacted us. The message was loud and clear: Twitter cannot rest while there is unrest in Iran.”
Despite the fact that the planned maintenance was critical, the team behind Twitter realized that the level of communication the site provided during a critical moment in history was more important than the risk. The scheduled maintenance was delayed, and the world learned more about what was happening in Iran during the days following the Iran election of 2009 through Twitter than traditional media could possibly provide.
Did history change that day? It’s hard to say, but the tables have certainly turned.
Stone also shares that in 2010, Twitter will support a billion search queries per day and will deliver several billion tweets per hour to people across the globe. Considering Twitter went live in 2007, those are amazing statistics.
While Stone writes about 2009 saying, “the year is a blur, but that one summer morning remains fixed in my memory because it is a powerful reminder of why we find it meaningful to develop technology,” it makes me think in a slightly different direction. It makes me think how powerful new media has become and the tools of new media, backed by authoritative content publishers, just might change the world.
You can read Biz Stone’s complete article on TimesOnline here.