Twitter today published a blog post in advance of its fifth birthday next week--the first tweet (though it wasn't called a tweet back then) was sent by Jack Dorsey, eventually one of Twitter's co-founders, back when it was a small side project at a now-forgotten development company called Obvious. Monday's blog post consisted, more or less, of some of the numbers that prove just how fast it's grown.
Among them: It took three years, two months, and one day for Twitter to hit 1 billion tweets; now, a billion tweets are posted in the course of a week. An average of 460,000 new accounts were created per day over the past month, and an average of 140 million tweets were posted per day. Twitter now has 400 employees, 50 of whom have been hired since January.
The numbers that were missing, of course, were anything about revenues or company valuation--and those are the numbers that everyone really seems to want to hear. A surge in secondary-market trading has pumped up the company's valuation past $10 billion according to some reports, and speculation continues to abound about just how much money Twitter is making off of its young and relatively experimental advertising programs as well as search engine deals. Some news reports say they've been wildly successful. Others suggest that they're being revised because of concerns that they won't "scale."
Conveniently, not only is it the cusp of Twitter's fifth birthday, it's roughly the fourth anniversary of its big breakout at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) festival here in Austin, Texas, at which the service went from unknown Web app to overnight sensation among the Silicon Valley set. Hundreds of millions of users later, it's a very different company.
This year at SXSW, Twitter is keeping a low profile, restricting organized activities to an afternoon "retreat" for employees and developers a relatively spacious distance from the Austin Convention Center.