That first tweet is, in its own modest sub-140 characters way, rather mid-noughties 😀
I was an enthusiastic early adopter of microblogging, and whilst Twitter was not – certainly in the early days – the best of its kind,* it reached user critical mass fastest, making it the most useful, and helping achieve both stickiness and longevity.
To my mind its ‘real world’ usefulness first properly emerged in 2009 (though it had proved useful in quickly gathering and disseminating information in the aftermath of the murder by Greek police of fifteen year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in December 2008). In February I went to the BrisTwestival, a meatspace meet-up building on local tweetups. In April and May various media organisations, including The Guardian, the BBC and The Times, equipped its journalists with Twitter accounts and sent them forth onto the streets of London to report on the various G20-related protests; among them was Paul Lewis, who would end up securing the eyewitness account and video that blew apart the Metropolitan Police’s fabricated narrative surrounding the death of Ian Tomlinson. In October Twitter users were instrumental weakening the impact of the Trafigura superinjunction.
Since then it has, of course, become the platform of choice for narcissists, stalkers, PR flacks, online bullies and spambots, as well as otherwise perfectly reasonable people driven by the insatiable desire to share pictures of their dinner. So in a way, exactly the same as the printing press.
Anyway, thanks for having me, it’s a handy tool (which is handy because – ironically – it’s full of tools) which I have been able to use to meet new people, learn new things and reach new places.
PS Big up all the brick-wielding old school text-to-Twitter users, 86444 FTW!