Twitter’s First Launch Was A Total Flop

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Twitter As We Know It

Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone (ex-Google employee), Evan Williams (Blogger co-founder), Noah Glass (co-founder of Odeo where Twitter was developed) and Florian Weber (German programmer contractor).

Twitter Started Life On A Laptop

As amazing as this sounds, Twitter took two months to develop and ran off a laptop for several months without a backup being taken!

Why The Character Limit?

The real reason Twitter has a character limit on tweeting is that the platform was initially created as an SMS-based platform, somewhat in the same vein as Twilio.

Back in 2006, (the birth of Twitter), 140 characters were the limit imposed by telecom companies but interestingly when this limit was removed the founders decided to keep the text constraint because it had become embedded with the branding of Twitter.

The Launch Was A Total Failure

All the hardcore serial entrepreneurs out there will relate to this: the failed launch! Twitter was no different.

The launch was piggybacked onto the Bay Area Love Parade, which is basically a mega-rave inspired from the Berlin Love Parade. The launch was a disaster with only 100 signups which was, ahem, pretty disappointing.

Subscribers tricked in and growth hacks were launched. Growth Hacks included focusing on influencers (which sounds obvious in today’s marketing but remember this was back in 2006) and enabling the “follow” feature.

The Moment It All Happened

The SXSW (South By Southwest) festival in Austin, Texas, 2007 was when the whole thing kicked off. Jack and his colleagues set up screens all over the conference halls and displayed the live Twitter, a bit like the Wall of Sheep at DEF CON. The net result was that the usage of Twitter increased from 20,000 to 60,000 daily messages.

30 Is The Magic Number

It turns out that 30 is the magic number that growth hacked Twitter into growing stratospheric. Their users who followed 30 others were much more likely to remain engaged with the service over time.

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