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3 descriptions of 'Twttr' when it first launched in 2006
"I think the beauty of Twitter lies in how it doesn't preordain how it should be used."
The homepage, circa 2006
The homepage, circa 2006
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long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the service we now call Twitter was a clumsy little SMS service that allowed users to message more than one person at a time. Today it's a global broadcast system for close to 300 million users, where everyone from @BarackObama to @JustinBieber to @WeedBro420 can capture an audience or hold a conversation if they'd like.

But here, on Twitter's big IPO day, we thought it'd be fun to revisit how some tech bloggers described the service back when it first launched in 2006. Remember, this is before most smartphones had touchscreens.

Here are TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington's first impressions of "twttr" when the service launched in July 2006. He found the idea "interesting":

Odeo released a new service today called Twttr, which is a sort of "group send" SMS application. Each person controls their own network of friends. When any of them send a text message to "40404," all of his or her friends see the message via sms. This launched officially today, and a few select insiders were playing with the service at the Valleyschwag party in San Francisco last night.

People are using it to send messages like "Cleaning my apartment" and "Hungry". You can also add friends via text message, nudge friends, etc. It really a social network around text messaging — and is very similar to another service called Dodgeball. [TechCrunch]

GigaOm's Om Malik, on the other hand, initially found it to be rather intrusive:

The annoying SMS messages from nocturnal friends is not the only thing which bothers me about this service, but also the fact, that the texting a message (reply) to twttr ends up on their website. Best thing is to allow users to create micro groups, and give users the options of picking topics and setting rules to maintain privacy and control over the service. If [Twitter co-founder Noah] Glass can do that, well, it [would] be pretty awesome. [GigaOm]

And finally — a few months later — here are some prescient insights from venture investor Chris Sacca, a former Googler whose impressive track record includes investments in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, and more:

Twitter enables the wide broadcast of anything one can fit into a text message. I tend to think of it as microblogging — blogging a sentence or two. A mobile and completely spontaneous and immediate channel for expressing the widest range of thoughts and experiences. Learn something startling? Deep thought shared with you? Need to vent a little? Anointed yourself the Fashion Police? Jam it into your phone or Blackberry and, instantly, your friends are all apprised...

I think the beauty of Twitter lies in how it doesn't preordain how it should be used. Rather than tell users what to message or what problem Twitter is solving, Twitter instead just offers a powerful platform then leaves the door wide open and the users themselves evolve its application. [Whatisleft.org]

Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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