On March 21st, Twitter celebrates its tenth birthday. Since the first Tweet was sent in 2006, Twitter has captured the UAE’s imagination and become part of the fabric of everyday life.
Whether it is the government, a business, a campaigner, a football fan or one of the 320 million users, today marks a great chance to celebrate the Twitter users who have made the platform what it is today.
With 500 million Tweets per day and 200 billion Tweets every year, Twitter has become the global viewing and commentary platform for its users in the UAE and beyond.
And from entertaining global moments such as #Oscars to the more bizarre trends such as #blueorgold dress debate, a huge variety of ground-breaking stories and topics are discussed on the platform every day.
Kinda Ibrahim, Director of Media Partnerships at Twitter, said: “Whether it’s Dubai winning the Expo 2020 bid or most recently His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announcing the new ministries on Twitter, when big events happen, they happen on Twitter. The depth and breadth of content shared by our users around these big moments has made it the perfect live viewing party for the world’s biggest events.”
“And ten years on from the first ever Tweet, our birthday also gives us a great chance to reflect on those big events, but also on those Twitter users who connect in other amazing and inspiring ways, every day. From @HHShkMohd Tweeting updates from his account to a worldwide audience of millions, to campaigning movements like #Beatdiabetes, we remain humbled and inspired by the people who have made Twitter their own.”
Please find below a timeline of Tweets from the past decade as well as inspiring examples of how users in the UAE have made Twitter their own.
Twitter’s 10th Birthday timeline
- 2006: Co-founder Jack Dorsey Tweeted first, when the service was called “Twttr.”
- 2007: Early user Chris Messina proposed the use of a hashtag to denote people at the same live event.
- 2008: When the Mars Phoenix Lander found ice on Mars, NASA used Twitter to break the news.
- 2009: Early user Janis Krums happened to be on a ferry when a plane went down in the Hudson River.
- 2010: In a royal first, Clarence House, the Prince of Wales’ private office, created a Twitter account to announce Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton.
- 2012: Before he appeared publicly to affirm his second presidential win, President Obama noted it on Twitter. And within hours it became the most retweeted for the year.
- 2013: Two bombs shook the Boston Marathon – and the world. As news of the blasts and the manhunt spread, Twitter became crucial for journalists, police and citizens alike.
- 2014: The #BringBackOurGirls movement was created when more than 250 schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram militants. Federal minister Oby Ezekwesili led the declaration of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag.
- 2015: As the horrific attacks in Paris unfolded in November, the world united to support people in the City of Light using the hashtag #PrayForParis. Just 10 months prior, terrorists attacked the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. After that incident, citizens rallied around the phrase “Je Suis Charlie” to show their support and sorrow for the victims.
- 2016: #Oscars: Leonardo DiCaprio’s win for Best Actor in The Revenant generated 440,000 tweets per minute, more than @TheEllenShow’s selfie two years earlier.
Twitter in the UAE
The most followed UAE accounts on Twitter are dominated by the royal family – with HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai topping the list. HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai is the second most followed royal in the UAE, while HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces is the third:
- @hhshkmohd – 5.85 Million followers
- @hamdanmohammed – 1.57 Million followers
- @MBZNews – 927 K followers
- @SaifBZayed – 839 K followers
- @DubaiPoliceHQ – 831 K followers
- @etisalat – 1.28 M followers
- @dutweets – 1. 22 M followers
- @DXBMediaOffice – 1.16 M followers
- @DIFC – 735 K followers
- @emirates – 667 K followers
- @EtihadAirways – 391 K followers
Also here are great examples from the UAE which show how users here have taken Twitter and made it their own:
- Dubai won Expo 2020 #Expo2020
- Opening of Burj Khalifa #BurjKhalifa
- Launch of Dubai Metro #DubaiMetro
- Sheikh Mohammed announced the new ministries on Twitter https://twitter.com/HHShkMohd/status/697436287343714304