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Happy Birthday Twitter: 7 Things You Didn't Know About It

Sunday, 17 Mar 2013 | 1:54 PM ET
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Twitter, which now has more than 200 million users, turns 7 years old on Thursday. To celebrate, we thought we'd share seven facts about the micro-blogging site that most people don't know.

1. Twitter almost never came to be. In 2006, there was a company called Odeo, which helped individuals publish audio. With a lack of growth and investors souring, the company pivoted and decided to conduct a hackathon one day. This brain-storming competition led to the birth of Twitter.

2. Twitter was created on a playground. Founding team member Dom Sagolla says the group went on the top of a slide at a playground in South Park, a small neighborhood in San Francisco, and Jack Dorsey discussed an "idea so simple that you don't even think about it—you just write." This moment of inspiration has turned into a multibillion dollar company.

3. When Twitter began, "everyone's first tweet was automated," Sagolla said. It published, "Just setting up my twttr." Co-founder Dorsey sent the first tweet, on March 21, 2006. It now has more than 8,900 retweets.

4. The user with the most followers is Justin Bieber; the pop musician has 36 million followers. Hootsuite, a social media management company, follows more than 1.1 million accounts, the most of any user. Who has tweeted the most? That honor belongs to @Yougakduan_00, a girl from Japan, who posted a mind-boggling 36,402,262 tweets before Twitter suspended her account. The most followed brand is YouTube with nearly 25 million followers.

5. The number of accounts that have been verified as authentic—those with a blue badge—is 47,815, but Twitter CEO Dick Costolo's (@dickc) is not among them.

6. The official name of Twitter's bird is Larry. Yes, his name is Larry Bird.The iconic little fellow—seen in Twitter's logo shown in TV commercials, print ads and practically every web site—was named after Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.

Why choose to name it after a basketball star who played in Boston? It may have to do with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone growing up in Massachusetts.

7. Twitter didn't create retweets, replies, hashtags, a mobile app or social ads—it was created by users and developers in its ecosystem. Those features were later supported by Twitter, according to marketing site 140 Proof. Unfortunately for the inventors, they won't be receiving a slice of the company that some are valuing at $10 billion. Like most of you, they will have to wait for Twitter's IPO.

I got my job at CNBC by way of Twitter's service. Never underestimate the power of communicative technology, networking and taking a chance on something. You can follow me: @EliLanger.

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