With news that Twitter has filed to become a publicly traded company, we took a look back at some of the key moments from its brief history. From celebrity-driven milestones to political downfalls to tweets from space, they’ve been as diverse as the more than 200 million people who now use the site.
May we present seven years of famous, and infamous, tweets and Twitterers:
January 2009 — A US Airways plane with 155 people on board made a miraculous emergency landing on the Hudson River after striking a bird during takeoff. An eyewitness tweeted out a widely shared photo of passengers waiting on the plane’s wing to be rescued, cementing Twitter’s status as a real-time, news-gathering tool.
April 2009 — Actor Ashton Kutcher narrowly outpaces CNN to become the first Twitter user with 1 million followers.
January 2011 — Twitter and Facebook play a key role in “Arab Spring” uprisings as people in Tunisa, Egypt, Syria, Libya and other countries used the social networks to message each other and organize protests.
March 2011 — Within minutes of news reports about an Egyptian cobra escaping from its enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, an anonymous jokester created a witty Twitter account that imagined the freed snake sightseeing its way around New York City. (Sample tweet: “Leaving Wall Street. These guys make my skin crawl.”) The account quickly amassed more than 100,000 followers and heralded a new wave of parody Twitter feeds.
January 2013 — Justin Bieber dethroned fellow pop star Lady Gaga to become the most followed person on Twitter. The Biebs now has more than 44 million followers.
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