Social Media: 21st Century Soapbox

From Story Act 2, 2017

We chart some of Twitter's most significant moments.

From an upturned wooden crate in a crowded public space to Twitter… the revolution is now broadcast in 140-character bursts to the networking platform’s 313 million monthly active users.

From the Arab Spring to #BlackLivesMatter movement, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, election commentary and calls to #ChangeTheDate from 26 January, Twitter is playing a key role in distributing messages and mobilising the masses. Here, we chart some of the 11 year old platform’s most significant moments:  

1. FIRST EVER TWEET
22 March 2006
The Tweet that started it all, from Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Twitter 1

 

2. #QANDA
from May 2010
The decision to display live Tweets in ABC1’s Q&A TV broadcast in May 2010 has led to Tweets in their hundreds of thousands; earning #QandA the no. 4 spot on Twitter in Australia in 2016, and spurring some of the show’s most controversial moments in the process.

Twitter 2

3. ARAB SPRING
from December 2010
Social media played a key role in the ‘digital democratisation’ of North Africa and the Middle East. The Arab Spring revolutions saw a sharp increase in the nations’ social media use, as activists flocked to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to connect, rally and spark change.

4. OCCUPY MOVEMENT
from 2011
“We are the 99%”: the catch-cry of ‘Occupy’ activists, referring to the disproportionate wealth and influence held by the upper class. Anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters first invited Americans to protest in Zuccotti Park on 17 September, using the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet, igniting a global movement.

 5. BLACK LIVES MATTER
13 July 2013
Following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of African American teenager Trayvon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement was co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. It continues to be one of social media’s most widely-used activism hashtags.

6. ELLEN’S OSCARS SELFIE
3 March 2014
Ellen DeGeneres’ 2014 Oscars long held the title for most retweets of all time – over 3.4 million (until it was overtaken in May 2017 with American student Carter Wilkerson’s petition for a year’s supply of Wendy’s chicken nuggets).

7. I’LL RIDE WITH YOU
15 December 2014
In the wake of the 2014 siege in Sydney’s Martin Place, Australians showed their solidarity using the hashtag #IllRideWithYou. The Tweet(s) that started the movement:

8. #LOVEWINS
26 June 2015
Love won when the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of marriage equality. Twitter celebrated using the hashtag #LoveWins, which was mentioned 6.2 million times on the platform within just six hours of the ruling.

9. J.K. ROWLING VS TWITTER TROLLS
31 January 2017
Author and philanthropist J.K. Rowling has become almost as well-known for taking down Twitter trolls as for her novels. 

 

10. COVFEFE
30 May 2017
Donald Trump’s infamous (and now-deleted) Tweet led to the introduction of the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act (COVFEFE Act), whereby US presidents’ social media posts could be preserved as public documents.

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