Years Of Twitter Mentions Reveal How The Social Network Entered The Mainstream

Years Of Twitter Mentions Reveal How The Social Network Entered The Mainstream

'New York Times' descriptions evolved with the popular site over the past seven years.

Sara Boboltz
  • 7 october 2013

Technology writers face a difficult task: how to distill what are, at times, completely foreign concepts into concise descriptions for readers. What should a “new, free communications service” that “enables subscribers to electronically (and almost instantaneously) broadcast what they’re doing” through a type of “group-messaging application” be called? Well, now we’d just call it ‘Twitter.’ But that wasn’t always the case.

Quartz writer Matt Phillips poured through the thousands of instances Twitter appeared in The New York Times from 2006 to the present, taking note of how descriptive phrasings evolved. His findings make for a brief yet fascinating case study on the impact of emerging technology, as we see how the site has grown in our cultural lexicon from “blogging-like tool for quick updates” to “leading social network,” mirroring its growth of relevance in our day-to-day lives. And now, in light of ongoing news coverage on the company’s planned IPO, Twitter requires no introduction at all.

Below we’ve reposted a few of the excerpts, which can be viewed in full here.

November 24, 2006

“…a blogging-like tool for quick updates”

November 29, 2007

“This short-messaging service allows you to ‘micro-blog’ your life in 140 character bursts.”

September 22, 2008

“…which lets users send short messages with updates on what they are doing, is popular with a tech-savvy crowd but crashes frequently and has not figured out a way to earn significant revenue.”

February 3, 2009

“…the micro-blogging platform”

October 31, 2010

“…one of the rare but fabled Web companies with a growth rate that resembles the shape of a hockey stick”

January 10, 2011

“…the popular microblogging service”

October 7, 2012

“Bankrolled by venture capitalists, it has grown into a multibillion-dollar enterprise with 140 million users worldwide.”

July 16, 2013

“With its 140-character limit, Twitter exacerbates our society-wide attention deficit disorder…”



Photo by InteriorArchitects.


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Advertising Today

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Retail Today

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Fitness & Sport Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Technology Today

Microsoft’s New E-Paper Sticky Note Runs On Ambient Light

Researchers have developed the first e-ink display powered entirely by office bulbs

Sustainability Today

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

Retail Today

Retail Concept Offers Food Hall Inspired Space For Online Brands

The store will offer a lower cost way for internet entrepreneurs to try physical retailing


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 24, 2016

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Arts & Culture Today

Disney Retells Beauty And The Beast On Snapchat

In a partnership with LACMA, the entertainment platform drew from over 130,000 works in the museum's collection

Automotive Today

Honda Has 3D Printed A Fully Electric Minivan

The car manufacturer partnered with product developer Kabuku to create the small versatile vehicles

Innovation Yesterday

After The Initial Success Of AR Gaming, What Does The Future Hold?

With Pokemon GO earning up to $10m a day, R&D departments are busy searching for the next phase

Arts & Culture Yesterday

The Next Great Art Movement Will Come At The Swipe Of A Finger

An improved app, optimized digital display and monthly art discovery service round out Electric Objects' renewed commitment to democratizing the art world

Media & Publishing Yesterday

A TV Streaming Service Is Designed Just For Kids

Toca TV is a new platform offering thousands of original and curated children's videos for a monthly subscription fee

Travel Yesterday

Bus Stop Transformed Into A Fitness Station For Commuters

Sports drink company Lucozade live-streamed an athletic trainer working out at a stop in Manchester to encourage travelers to get moving

Beauty Yesterday

Shiseido And Microsoft Have Created A Makeup Filter For Women Who Telecommute

The Japanese cosmetic company built an augmented reality app that works alongside Skype for Business

Mobile Yesterday

Samsung Is Using AR To Help Beachgoers Stay Safe

Pocket Patrol utilizes a phone's camera to promote beach safety and educate people about hidden hazards

No search results found.