In case you missed it, last week, Twitter celebrated their 10 year anniversary. The hashtag, #TwitterLove trended and as part of the celebration, the three founders, Ev Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey, participated in a reflective discussion about Twitter’s roots, their experiences as founders, and many stories of the Twitter-verse community. The discussion was held via Periscope, so it’s no longer available, but here are a few highlights, including my favourite story about how much their Customers love Twitter.
The first tweet
They discussed the first tweet sent:
just setting up my twttr
— Jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
Twitter and social importance
They discussed how Twitter is impacting the way people can organize. One story that Biz shared told how quickly a message can spread to bring people together through 140 characters. A participant at the SXSW conference tweeted that he was going to a certain pub. By the time he arrived (about 8 minutes later), the pub was packed because people had seen and shared his tweet several times. Biz saw the potential of this, thinking of how people could organize themselves for important movements – and certainly have done so since.
Tips for Entrepreneurs
A lot of their tips for entrepreneurs came down to passion and loving what you are doing, and sharing the purpose of your work with everyone. While Twitter has certainly had its detractors, they stuck to what they believed in. This was demonstrated when someone tweeted that “Twitter is the Seinfeld of the internet. A site about nothing.” This tweet was posted on Twitter’s home page because Biz Stone, being so passionate about what they were building, took it as a compliment.
Share your purpose
The founders agreed that Biz has been great at reminding everyone of the purpose of their work, saying “Twitter is a triumph of humanity.” At tea time, they would stop working and look at what people were doing on twitter and discuss with the team. They’s share examples of someone tweeting for help and getting it, people self-organizing for charities. These stories helped to illustrate the importance of what they were building. I couldn’t agree more on this tactic – sharing passion and purpose has become one of the cornerstones of the work I do to help organizations build high performing culture.
Why only 140 characters
Of course, twitter started with only 140 characters in order to fit in text messages, but in recent years, this could be changed, as it has with direct messages. But as the founders said (and I agree!), Brevity is important. There is poetry in the way people get to the point. The 140 character limit makes Twitter very approachable. You don’t have to feel like you’re writing the next great American novel on Twitter, so everyone can use it, knowing that 140 characters is all they need to type. I also love the quick-fire conversations that happen.
My favourite story – Customer love and Pizza
Whenever a big event was happening, the founders knew Twitter might have trouble keeping up with the volume. They would be at the office around the clock, fixing problems and keeping the site up. They remembered one situation – they thought it may have been when Apple was announcing the first iPhone – and how pizzas kep showing up. People who loved Twitter were sending pizza to their office because they knew they were probably working hard. Imagine that – have your customers ever loved you enough to send pizza?
The magic of Twitter for me
I’ve written in the past about Twitter, and I honestly believe that my business would never have been a success without this site. As I often share in speaking events, when I started my business, I had spent 15 years, head down in my work in the corporate world, avoiding networking at all costs. I knew nobody except for those people I’d worked with. On Twitter, I found a community of people who were open to conversations, open to meeting up at events or for coffee if they were local. I learned from these people. I was inspired by their openness. I have literally met (in real life or IRL for us tweeters) thousands of people, starting with 140 character conversations. These people have become my sounding board, my collaborators, my clients and my friends.
What are your favourite stories or experiences using Twitter? I’d love to hear!
If you love Twitter – or if you want more info, you’ll like these posts: