It's your birthday, give or take a few days

Sometime after 1 a.m. Friday, I happened to be checking Twitter when I saw flash reports about an earthquake in Japan, and then tweets about a tsunami warning, and then I saw this shocking image, which I retweeted. Twitter has changed the way I learn about what is happening in the world. More importantly, Twitter has changed the world. Tonight, many people are waiting for what may be the big Bank of America email leak, which is being announced via Twitter by @OperationLeakS. More history on the way? We shall know shortly.

I joined Twitter in April 2007, but had no idea what to do with it. The world, however, figured it out. When terrorists attacked Mumbai in November, 2008, I was mesmerized by the real-time tweets I saw from India. Today, Twitter is at once the platform for Charlie Sheen’s “fastballs” and for the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. Jack Dorsey, one of the co-founders of Twitter, has begun recalling the first days of what has become the most revolutionary of all social-media tools. I say the first days because he tweeted Sunday that it was the fifth anniversary of Twitter’s first day of programming. He later tweeted that maybe the first tweet ever on Mar. 21, 2006, would be considered Twitter’s birthday. You can follow his recounting of history at his @jack Twitter account. I’m fascinated by how some of the founders use Twitter. @noah hasn’t tweeted since last June (though he brags in his bio, “i started this.” @florian has his tweets blocked from public view, has 37 followers and is following 48 people. The most well-known founder, Biz Stone, has nearly 1.7 million followers. If Facebook went out of business, I’d lament it, but wouldn’t be heartbroken. Twitter, however, is essential. And fun:

Happy Birthday Twitter!