Defining Twitter

So which one are you?

Definitions of twit on the Web:

  • twerp: someone who is regarded as contemptible
  • tease: harass with persistent criticism or carping; “The children teased the new teacher”; “Don’t ride me so hard over my failure”; “His fellow workers razzed him when he wore a jacket and tie”

  • aggravation by deriding or mocking or criticizing
  • THIS WEEK in TECH casually referred to as TWiT, and formerly known as Revenge of the Screen Savers is an award winning, weekly podcast (and occasional videocast) of the network . …
  • A reproach, gibe or taunt; A foolish or annoying person; To reproach, blame; to ridicule or tease
  • The Twits is a funny children’s book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It was written in 1979, and first published in 1980.

May 23rd, 2007 – Interview with Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter

Here is a transcript of Dan’s interview with Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter. You can read the resulting article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Dan Skeen: I’m going to ask you a question probably a million people have already; so bear with me, but tell me about the origins of Twitter, where the idea came from and how it all got started?

Biz Stone

Biz Stone: Actually, the basic idea for Twitter came from my colleague and co-founder Jack Dorsey. A little history about Jack is he had been, it turned out, obsessed with the idea of dispatch, like with regard to a taxicab and so forth since the age of about 14. He had always wanted to write software that would help dispatch taxies, but he was living in St. Louis at the time. He wrote software for couriers, like bike couriers, and they didn’t really need that anywhere in St. Louis. To make a long story short, he ended up moving to New York City and starting a company and writing software for a taxi cab dispatch, which is basically at its core sort of messaging service. At some point, he started mulling around with the idea of, wouldn’t it be neat if people could fake and not bid, sort of the same, in a similar fashion, but very simply.

One of the things that struck him was the way people were using that little status field in, when you use like AIM or other instant message clients, you know how there’s that status field that says, at a meeting, going to lunch, whatever. It turns out that, for about five years prior to working with us, he thought to himself that it would really be cool to make a whole service out of just that little status field; but he wasn’t exactly sure how that would manifest. He was working on another project, so he didn’t have time to do it; but when he started working at Odeo with myself and Evan Williams and a bunch of other folks here, at one point he decided he would just mention the idea. He said I’ve got this great idea, I really want to create a tool that focuses on something really simple like statuses as a way to keep friends and relatives sort of connecting at a very simple sort of ambient way.

At the same time, we had been discussing various interesting use cases for SMS; so when he brought the idea to us, we merged it with the idea of, well, what if you could set this so called status with an SMS, making it totally mobile and creating the ability for you and your friends to constantly be in touch by following each other’s status updates and using SMS. That’s when we decided; well, that’s a cool idea. So, we took two weeks; we were working Odeo, which was the podcasting company at the time; but Evan decided that Jack and I should sort of go off in a corner and spend two weeks living a prototype, which we did. We presented it to the rest of the team, and everyone just totally loved it; it was something that just caught on very quickly. It was sort of a giggle-inducing to be able to be sitting, you know, working at home, ripping up carpet, having your phone vibrate, and there’s your friend is sipping wine in Napa and another friend is heading to the beach, and you’re just laughing at sort of the context of it all, and just knowing that they’re doing that; and so we did update.

We decided then that we should work on it a little bit longer, but basically, that was the origin of it. Then later, we decided to begin adding multiple devices to it. So, rather than just SMS, you’d be able to update over an instant message or the Web, or increasingly other waves so that what we really…

continue reading from source by Dan Skeen

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