2009 A year in the life of Twitter

I think 2009 will go down as the year Twitter became a household name. I know I’ve used Twitter a lot this year, and I’ve written several blog posts about Twitter and the influence of social media. It will be connected with significant events and insignificant Internet chatter. People will say, “I remember reading a tweet about that,” or “I tweeted about that.” When asked about significant events of 2009 – Iran election, Michael Jackson’s death, “balloon boy” – I’ll bet Twitter will be mentioned in the conversation.

Many people have assumed that Twitter is just another social network, some kind of micro-blogging service, or both. It can be these things but primarily Twitter serves as a real-time information network powered by people around the world discovering what’s happening and sharing the news. The Iranian election was the most discussed issue on Twitter in the final year of a decade defined by advancements in information access.

In the new year, Twitter will begin supporting a billion search queries a day. We will be delivering several billion tweets per hour to users around the world. These are figures we did not anticipate when we founded the company in 2007. Source: Why we can never rest: a year in the life of Twitter | Times Online

In much the same way that instant messaging became a household term 12 years ago when AOL Instant Messenger arrived, Twitter, and a true social media network, will spread news (and propaganda) at the speed of light around the globe; perhaps even to the ISS.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that Twitter holds immense power. Just think about it for a minute. If your product was used by more than 1 billion people everyday to talk about anything from “I’m now online” to “I survived the plane crash into the Hudson.” The potential to spread news is endless. But, I still say that a “town crier” ranting on Twitter without corroborating information is dangerous. They can influence millions of people to take action especially if the rest of the world was ignorant of the truth and the ruse continues long enough for it to grow legs and become sustained. I look forward to the time when conspiracy theorists use Twitter to actually persuade us that something happened or didn’t happen.

You can “@ me” on Twitter in 2010.