From dispatch software to podcasts to Larry the bird. Twitter (TWTR), founded in March 2006, is a an online social networking and microblogging service that allows users to send “tweets” that are limited to 140 characters, including hashtags (#).
The company went public on November 6, 2013 at $26.00 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Even if you aren’t familiar with Twitter, you probably heard about Ellen Degeneres’ famous Tweet (starring Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and more) during the 86th Academy Awards. The tweet received over 2.5 Million “retweets,” surpassing Barack Obama’s 2nd inauguration tweet of 750,000 retweets and shutting down Twitter for 20 minutes.
Why is Twitter called Twitter?
Twitter was co-founded by Jack Dorsey (CEO of Square), Noah Glass (commonly forgotten), Evan Williams (co-founder of Medium) and Biz Stone (co-founder of Jelly) and is currently CEO’d by Dick Costolo in San Francisco, California. In October 2006, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone formed Obvious Corporation with other members from Odeo. They bought out investors and in April 2007, Twitter became its own company. Twitter has forever changed the way the world receives real-time news and is one of the most visited websites in the world (Alexa rank = 11). Jack Dorsey actually came up with the idea during a day-long brainstorming session held by board members from the podcasting company, Odeo. He wanted to create an individual short message service (SMS) to communicate with a small group. Dorsey has always been fasciated how cities communicate in real-time. The original name was called “Status,” but after searching through the dictionary, he found the word Twitter. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information, and chirps from birds.” That’s exactly what the product was. Inspired by flickr, Dorsey initially called it “twttr” and later changed it back to Twitter for simplicity.
Why the Bird?
The original bird in the twitter logo was named “Larry the Bird” after Hall of Fame basketball player Larry Bird. Why? Biz Stone graduated from Wellesley High School, just outside Boston. Like every young kid in the area, he was a huge fan of Larry Bird, who won three NBA Championships from 1981-1986. Dorsey verified this story by responding to a tweet. The bird was later given a “haircut” in 2012 and now resembles a Mountain Bluebird. The Bluebird is the sole symbol of the brand, even allowing for the removal of the name “Twitter” on their website. If you still don’t use Twitter, why not? #whyisitcalledtwitter
Adam Lang is the founder and editor of Rewind & Capture. He is passionate about creative marketing, design and brand etymology.