Seven years ago, a creature from the depths of brain and hardwire left California, on its way to every corner of the Earth. The avian sensation landed in pop culture with such force it has yet to be replaced. What was once code transformed into billions of thoughts and messages—each one 140 characters or less.
Sci-fi-worthy or not, the world entered a new phase of communication and marketing when Twitter arrived. People started to write everything in Twitter-length blurbs (e.g. every sentence of this blog post). #Hashtags appeared as a way to capture attention, and smart businesses raced to understand how to engage the public with this new medium. Companies realized Twitter could be used for PR, to grow customer loyalty, to build brand recognition and to create a historical record. Historical record—#seriously?
Take a look back. Written in tweets is a story of your company’s heritage and culture. What does the Twitter feed reveal? If your company started an account in 2006, it survived an economic downturn and the whims of a capricious public. Those are accomplishments to celebrate and study. Search your @username or related #companyname, and you’ll see how the rest of the world perceived you, as well. Did a product, service, person or division of your business gain popularity or notoriety in the #twittersphere? Most likely, there are lessons in this historical record that you can apply to today—or simply retweet.
I looked back @HistoryFactory. Since we began our Twitter feed, we have posted 437 tweets. In 2009, @HistoryFactory shared the deaths of iconic companies and thoughts on topics such as “Capturing the Past Before It’s History.” Times were tough. On April 19, 2010, we were more upbeat, covering @LibraryCongress’s announcement that it was beginning a Twitter project. “Why the Library of Congress cares about archiving your tweets: http://bit.ly/9a12Ny #archives #LOC.” As of January 2013, the Library had archived 170 billion tweets: an incredible snapshot of modern events, culture and people.
Now, we’re looking to the future in our tweets. We are sharing tips on celebrating coming anniversaries, storytelling, creating exhibits, and telling you what we’re up to @HistoryFactory. We’re also recognizing companies marking major anniversaries and off-year anniversaries, too. #happy7thanniversary @twitter.
What does your #twitterhistory tell you?