X Factor of Tweets

On 21st March 2006, Jack Dorsey, the Co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, Inc.(in April 2023 Twitter was officially rebranded as X), made the first tweet on the microblogging site of Twitter. The innocuous tweet of Dorsy, who is also the Co-founder, Principal Executive Officer and Chairperson of Block, Inc. and Co-Founder and CEO of CashApp, reads: “just setting up my twitter.”  

Here it deserves a mention that in 2021, the Iranian-born crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi bought Dorsey’s first-ever tweet as a non-fungible token (NFT) for $2.9 million. 

The first ever tweet set in motion a social media revolution of sorts as Tweeter eventually gave a unique opportunity for millions and millions of common people from diverse walks of life to have direct contact with celebrities, politicians, scientists, innovators, sportspersons, and business leaders, etc. 

These renowned people (celebrities, politicians, scientists, innovators, sportspersons and business leaders, etc.) also could get the opportunity to directly communicate with their fans/followers without revealing their personal access information. This in turn afforded these renowned people to have almost free publicity of their recent developments across globe, to their target group. Initially, on Twitter users could share short posts of up to 140 characters for each post, but later in November 2017, Twitter allowed 280 characters in a single tweet. 

Jack DorseyNoah GlassBiz Stone, and Evan Williams are the creators of Twitter, which was launched in July 2006. Noah Glass is being credited for coining the name Twitter. By 2012, the microblogging platform had more than 100 million users and was experiencing 340 million tweets per day, on an average. On 7th November 2013, Twitter had its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. By 2019, Twitter was having more than 330 million monthly active users. It would not be an overstatement to say that Twitter influenced politics, business and culture in the early 21st century.

However, despite its unimaginable popularity, Twitter became profitable rather late in the day. From Britannica we can know that Twitter finally became profitable in the final quarter of 2017, when it had 330 million monthly users. 

In 2022, the news came that the business tycoon Elon Musk, the third richest person in the world, would acquire Twitter, and Musk was to become the company’s sole owner. In October 2022, Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion at his original proposed price of $54.20 per share. Soon after owning Twitter, he introduced mass lay-offs and enabled Twitter users to purchase the blue check mark verification for $8 per month. On 28th October 2022, Musk fired Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal and CFO, Ned Segal and on 4th November 2022, Twitter laid off about half of its 7,500 employees.

 In April 2023, Twitter disappeared into the new identity of X or to put it in a more prosaic way, Twitter was officially rebranded as X. Now the tweets are referred to as posts.

Following the acquisition, Musk disbanded Twitter’s content-moderation body and reinstated many banned accounts, which include that of the former US President Donald Trump

Since 20th June 2023, premium subscribers of X can go up to 25,000 characters per post, though the free account holders are still allowed only 280 characters per post. More recently, on 8th March 2024, X has introduced a new long-form post format i.e., articles exclusively for its Premium Plus subscribers and for verified organisations. The feature also includes media embedding, including images, videos.

According to Statista, in 2023, there were an estimated 415 million X/Twitter users worldwide, with over 95 million of these users being in the United States. The service exhibited greater popularity among men than women, with male users constituting 63 percent of the platform’s user base.

Statista observes that although the micro-blogging platform is popular and well known, its audience size does not compare with other social media giants such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram – Each of these platforms boasts more than two billion monthly active users. Regarding visits to social media websites, X secured the fourth position in the United States, following Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, respectively.

However, the popularity of X is likely to continue as its main appeal probably lies in direct contact between common and the renowned persons as both need each other and would continue to need each other.

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