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Twitter filed for an initial public offering today in what will likely be the stock market debut since Facebook’s $16 billion IPO in May 2012. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t been quick.

Here’s a quick overview of the company’s journey:

2006: twttr

  • Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Florian Weber, and other employees of podcasting company Odeo come up with a plan for a short message service.
  • Twitter is born as Dorsey and others create Obvious Corp and buy out Odeo.

2007: SXSW conference

  • Twitter places two big-screen TVs that conference-goers can see and streams tweets to them.
  • The tiny service’s tweets-per-day stats jump from 20,000 to 60,000.
  • Every year after, until at least 2012, startups have gone to SXSW to try to experience their own breakout moment.

2008: Fail whale

  • Early adopters of Twitter learn to love, hate, and love the #FailWhale as the site frequently goes down.
  • But Twitter grows a massive 750 percent in 2008.


2010: Twitter starts to get big

  • Twitter users start tweeting 65 million tweets every day, and Twitter moves from what-is-that-thing status to a social media company that could legitimately be mentioned in the same breath as Facebook.
  • Twitter hits 140 employees, ironically.
  • Twitter celebrates 100,000 Twitter apps, something it will not be quite as happy about later.
  • CEO Evan Williams, who will later leave, says “openness” to third-party developers is a survival strategy. Not for him, apparently.
  • Google enables search of all your tweets … before Twitter.
  • Twitter launches an Android app.
  • Twitter chops third-party ad tools from user timelines.
  • Twitter finally launches a new official Tweet button for the web and then briefly brings big chunks of the web to its knees.

2011: Twitter takes center stage in moment-by-moment news

2012: We’re a media company

2013: The year of advertising, advertising, advertising (and media)

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