5 Lessons on Twitter from the First Article Ever Written About It

In honor of the 5th anniversary of Twitter officially opening its doors to the public (July 15, 2006), Twitter co-founder @biz will be radiating his awesomeness on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me tomorrow. In response, @mgrooves pointed out the first article ever written about Twitter (then called “Twttr”) published on July 15, 2006 on GigaOm.

Entitled, “Silicon Valley’s All a Twttr,” the piece boasts some key insights for newbies and old timers alike.

In no particular order, here are 5 lessons on Twitter you can learn from the first article ever written about the platform:

  1. “It is spreading like a virus, and it is very viral.” Although your editor might not cheer at author Om Malik‘s copy, the message is indisputable: VIRUSalertVIRUScomingnowVIRUSdidiforgettomentionVIRUS! Ahem, Virus.
  2. In the beginning, there was SMS. This isn’t news to any Twitter historians, but it’s good to remember our origins, and where strengths still lie.
  3. Get a group. Twittr didn’t do much unless you had (as Malik says) a “group” to chat with.  Malik’s use of the term “groups” several times in the article to refer to the people he’s chatting with on the service struck me. Useful to note how terms live and die on different platforms, but functionality doesn’t.
  4. “Presence+real world status over text messaging” is the way that Malik’s friend first described Twttr when he set Malik’s Nokia E61 buzzing. This is a fairly good description of the service that, with some modifications, still stands. (Also, it’s always fun to think about old cell phone models that my mother still uses.)
  5. “It is not a very complicated application – and which is what makes it so addictive and at the same time annoying.” Most profoundly,  I love that Malik’s initial praise – and his initial critique – are ultimately one and the same. Today, this holds true for Twitter fans and frenemies the world over. Simplicity wins hearts and minds and drives a proud free crazy.

Logos aside, sounds like Twitter still has its roots.


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