What was your first tweet?
As Twitter began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week, I couldn’t help but consider how far this small, simple, fledgling network has come. Once mocked for being stupid and insipid, and plagued by its own persistent identity crisis, Twitter has nonetheless become a prominent and important part of our culture.
I just find to use another word other than “part” to describe Twitter in that last sentence. Because what is Twitter, exactly? Is it a news network? A social platform that connects us to friends, brands, celebrities? A discussion forum? I guess the answer is Yes.
(That’s the thing: What’s dumb-brilliant about Twitter is that it defies categorization. What is Twitter? It’s what you think it is.)
Twitter was founded in March of 2006. I started on Twitter in September 2007, when Jeremiah Owyang suggested that I should represent MarketingProfs there. (Eventually, I would also start tweeting from @annhandley.)
That was 200,000 followers and 40,000 tweets ago. Twitter’s IPO made me wonder what my first tweet was on my MarketingProfs handle, and here it is:
Peter Kim created the M20: Top Marketer Blogs list here: http://www.marketer20.com/ Nice, Pete!
— Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs) September 2, 2007
AdAge wondered the same thing about some large consumer brands, and last week it published the first tweets of the likes of Coke, Nike, Xbox, and the like.
But what about the business-to-business space? Let’s take a look back at the first tweets of some of most successful B2B brands on Twitter (according to a recent analysis by Leadtail and DNN Software as published on MarketingProfs) as well as some others I was curious about.
Some observations to consider, as you check out these early tweets:
Most companies were clearly completely devoid of a content or social media strategy. There’s a definite “Is this thing on?” awkward quality to the tweets – a kind of virtual throat-clearing while these companies figured out what the heck to do with this new platform. (And the terminology: Are we friending? Following? Or what?)
Broadcast trumped conversation on Twitter. Most of the brand’s first tweets read as 140-character press releases. Even @marketingprofs, I dedicated most of my tweets the first few months to simply shilling our content. (Almost every tweet started with “New post: …..”) Most tellingly, I didn’t even put my face on the account until a year or so in. Prior to that, I tweeted with the MarketingProfs bird logo.
There’s not a single hashtag in sight. That would come later, as Buffer points out.
There’s not much humor or any human touch to it, either. Most of us eventually figured out that Twitter could be a great listening and engagement tool, as well as a way to highlight personality and a brand’s humanity. But again, that would come later. These early tweets have a definitely standoff-nish to them. (Although it’s funny how Oracle uses the first-personn when it says, “…add me,”) a rare use of “me” from a brand that like most uses “us” and “we” today.)
Setting up Twitter. www.HubSpot.com — HubSpot (@HubSpot) July 25, 2008
Welcome to the Oracle community on twitter. Add me as your friend. — Oracle (@Oracle) March 4, 2007
Recording and slides from webinar, Why Good Emails Go Bad: http://tinyurl.com/d2zehq — NetProspex (@NetProspex) March 19, 2009
Move over, Emeril…: And meet Sam the Cooking Guy. We just heard the news that Sam Zien, one of th.. http://tinyurl.com/34aydf — Emma, Inc. (@emmaemail) September 6, 2007
Technology Enables Retailers to Succeed in Overseas Markets http://tinyurl.com/5ma5hz — Cisco (@Cisco) October 22, 2008
Eloqua was just named #1 provider of Lead Generation Suites and Email Tools Vendor by Direct Impact Marketing! http://tinyurl.com/5denbt — Eloqua (@Eloqua) December 16, 2008
Setting up accounts to facilitate communication at Forrester events
— Forrester Research (@forrester) July 27, 2007
LinkedIn Companion + Firefox 3 = Good Web 2.0 Karma http://tinyurl.com/6cj7vy
— LinkedIn (@LinkedIn) June 20, 2008
New Gartner research says there are more than 1 Billion PCs in use globally; 2 Billion by 2014 http://tinyurl.com/5jq3vo — Gartner (@Gartner_inc) June 25, 2008
Route 1to1 is heading to Miami and Boston next week! http://email.exacttarget.com/ETWeb/route1to1/ — ExactTarget (@ExactTarget) July 14, 2008
Come join us at our third annual Summit http://guest.summit.sd-2.com/ — SiriusDecisions (@siriusdecisions) March 27, 2008
After several weeks of negotiation, Facebook will not buy Twitter–but it tried. -GC – http://bit.ly/aWZR — HootSuite (@hootsuite) November 25, 2008
And finally, here are the first tweets of some familiar faces. Some of which are particularly awesome. (Laura Fitton, I’m looking at you. Because Laura eventually would write a book about and found a business around Twitter.)
I wasn’t kidding when I said Twitter has come a long way, indeed! And so, of course, have all of us.
OK, I’ve finally succumbed. — David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) March 8, 2008
Setting up twitter to keep track of the real story on Zadi and her cell phone — Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield) February 16, 2007
is about to get obsessed with Twitter me things. Help me out people, I'm new!
— Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) April 14, 2008
watching my kids eat insane amounts of jellybeans
— Jay Baer (@jaybaer) March 23, 2008
Getting ready for my trip to London
— C.C. Chapman (@cc_chapman) November 15, 2006
checking email.— Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) February 23, 2008
I’m booking a trip to “The Culinary Destination of the Year” … any idea where that might be? — Joe Chernov (@jchernov) January 21, 2009
— Tim Washer (@timwasher) April 11, 2008
@bryanrhoads I am here
— Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina) July 30, 2009
Watching Ohio State win
— Mack Collier (@MackCollier) March 31, 2007
going to bridgeport brewing for lunch with Alex and Jeff
— Dylan Boyd (@dtboyd) July 26, 2007
Damn you Dylan T Boyd! — DJ Waldow (@djwaldow) March 27, 2008
hey bsk…first twitter post ever…i’m so behind the times. we need to catch coffee soon… — Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) December 12, 2007
wondering if twitter is worth it… — Laura Fitton (@Pistachio) April 5, 2007
I’m trying to figure out how to send this thing from my phone — David Armano (@armano) February 6, 2007
Jumping in to Twitter after just following for months
— Michael Brenner (@BrennerMichael) October 15, 2009
I'm writing content for Video on the Net and chatting with Julien Smith.
— Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) October 24, 2006
getting ready to take a much-needed SHOWER!
— Shelly Kramer (@ShellyKramer) December 29, 2008
Working on 2321 emails
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) May 4, 2007
figuring out twitter
— Lee Odden (@leeodden) March 10, 2007
Surfing the web — Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) December 19, 2006
So what was your first tweet?
You can unearth your own (or others, as I did here) by going to Topsy.com. In the Search box, enter “from:username” and filter for “All Time” (on the left navigation list) and “Oldest” (in the top drop-down box).
Go! And add it in the comments below.