A Look Back at 10 Big Moments That Defined Twitter’s First Decade

Cady Lang

It’s hard to believe that Twitter started just 10 years ago, especially when you consider how strongly we rely on the social-media platform for breaking news, trending hashtags, and unsolicited glimpses into the psyche of one Kanye West. Twitter has also become a forum for a kind of hilarity and personality that seems to elude other social platforms that tend to focus more on aesthetics (*coughs* Instagram), and has managed to prove that a mere 140 characters (or fewer) can define major milestones. To celebrate the last decade, here are 10 highlights that have happened on Twitter since it joined the interwebz on this day 10 years ago.

1. The very first tweet was sent out by Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s cofounders and its CEO, in Sydney, Australia. The Internet would never be the same.

2. Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) broke the Internet with the ultimate selfie at the 2014 Oscars.

3. Twitter helped to provide a platform for the #ArabSpring protests that took place in 2012–2013 in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Jordan.


3. Katy Perry (@katyperry) has become the most-followed user on Twitter, with nearly 84 million followers.

4. And Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) has become the most-mentioned user, clocking in at 943 million mentions.

5. Twitter helped to break the news when a US Airways flight made a remarkable emergency landing in the Hudson river in 2012.

6. This year, Twitter helped continue the conversation about the lack of racial diversity at the Oscars (and pretty much with all years previously) with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

7. Twitter exploded with the #LoveWins hashtag after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states.

8. World leaders, celebrities, and tweeters across the world showed support, solidarity, and a call to action after more than 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped in 2015.

9. The youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate ever, Malala Yousafzai, started the trending hashtag #withMalala to encourage support for female education.

10. Twitter became a forum for #BlackLivesMatter, a hashtag started after the controversial acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin and which gained traction after the police-brutality-related deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, among others. The hashtag has been used by protestors, activists, and celebrities alike to further the discussion about police brutality and racial inequality.