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Who cares about Twitter’s Birthday?

March 28, 2011

On the 21st March 2011, Twitter celebrated its fifth birthday. If that was news to you, then you must have been off the grid for the past seven days. This birthday seems to have permeated most media organisations, from the obligatory article on the BBC website to it being covered on Channel 4’s 10 O’clock Live. Why has Twitter got all this attention?

It is rare that websites have their birthdays splashed across media outlets unless they belong to the outlet themselves, so why does Twitter have this special place in the hearts of all?

Well, for starters it attracts a lot of attention, and often for the wrong reasons.  Ryan Babel of Liverpool faced disciplinary action after tweeting a picture of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt after a controversial red card in an FA cup match.

England cricketers have tweeted their frustration at ECB selection and faced the wrath of the regulators.

Twitter has also been used to break injunctions granted by courts, like in the Trafigura case.

So it receives a lot of media attention and it seems that means media outlets think it is worthy of attention. But is it? It is an extremely popular website, sure and it is estimated that 140 million tweets are sent every day. What a coincidence! One million per character.

It seems fitting to put Twitter into perspective. 5 years ago, MySpace was the darling of the media, owing perhaps to it’s purchase by News International, but this week it was announced that falling figures are contributing to half of it’s workforce being made redundant.

In five years time, where will Twitter be? Facebook is nearly unrecognisable from when I started using it nearly five years ago (how cool was I?) and it is possible that it’s aims, purposes and uniqueness may well be replicated better down the line by another provider.

A word of caution, then. Five years is certainly a long, impressive time in the lifespan of a website, but it is not a be-all and end-all. It is certainly no guarantee of future success and dependency. In the mean time we all ask… What’s next?

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