Graphic: Celebrating seven years of twitter

Twitter celebrates 7th birthday today

Twitter celebrates 7th birthday today - Credit: PA

Happy seventh birthday, Twitter! The social media platform is now used by millions of users worldwide, is much loved by celebrities and often sets the news agenda.

When it began, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a social media service for the RSPB but this week, Twitter celebrates its seventh birthday with 200 million users worldwide.

The first ever tweet was sent in San Francisco by creator Jack Dorsey on March 21 2006 but it took another three years, two months and one day for the first billion tweets to be sent on the platform: today, the same number are sent every two-and-a-half days.

Twitter, which allows users to post messages containing 140 characters or less, offers an opportunity to connect with people across the world, friends, businesses, charities and, most tantalisingly of all, celebrities.

It's a chance to share anecdotes, pictures, videos and web links, to campaign, fundraise, challenge authority and break news and, for some unlucky users, to break the law.

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Norfolk's own Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) is the crown prince of Twitter, an early adopter, Fry now boasts almost six million followers despite initially dismissing the social media platform as '…a simultaneously hysterical, banal, footling and useless idea.'

Norfolk's Twitter community is thriving, with many businesses using the platform to promote their services and thousands of others using it for a source of news, entertainment and plain silliness.

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Norwich florist Alison Calver (@alicalverflower) explained that Twitter was a way to reach new customers and promote her work through photographs of her floral arrangements.

'Being on Twitter means you can talk to people you'd never usually meet and make connections with customers and other businesses that you can help and that can help you,' she said.

'On Fridays, lots of Twitter users do something called 'Follow Friday' where they suggest people you should follow. Instead, I have 'Flower Friday' where I post pictures of flowers.

'Twitter lets you have a bit of fun while getting your message across. And you can always justify the claim that you're 'wasting time on the internet' by saying: 'but I'm working!''

When Tweets go wrong:

1) Pop prince Justin Bieber tweeted – and then deleted – 'Call me right now' and a phone number missing one digit. So many of his 36 million followers tried to guess the number that a Texas couple claimed they'd been inundated with more than 1,000 calls from misdialling fans.

2) The Only Way is Essex star Jessica Wright found herself in the Twitter spotlight after tweeting 'Rest in peace' following the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Jessica had to admit she hadn't done any research before hitting her keyboard.

3) Anthony Weiner had been preparing for a New York City mayoral campaign in 2011 when he was forced to resign after sending suggestive photographs to some of his female followers. He finally confessed he'd been having 'inappropriate' online relationships.

4) Rio Ferdinand sparked a Washington security alert after he posted a picture of White House security staff on his Twitter site which was picked up by Barack Obama's team who immediately removed the offending image.

5) Fashion designer Kenneth Cole scored a spectacular own goal after the Arab Spring took hold in Egypt in 2011. Cole tweeted: 'Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.' He later apologised.

Why you love Twitter (from @EDP24 and @EveningNews):

1) @Trippnology: Twitter is like a friend who is constantly talking, but only about things you're interested in and you don't have to listen.

2) @enjoynorwich: Twitter is like a dinner party in the dark (with a sprinkling of business) - a level playing field where all opinions are equal.

3) @kassthelass: There is no excuse for a dull moment with so many interesting people's thoughts just a finger tap away, I've learnt so much.

4) @ReynardCity: I've got to chat with childhood heroes, find work and promote my project, what's not to like?

5) @GaryDickenson: It easily connects me to everyday people with great knowledge that I otherwise would have never met.

6) @HuwSayer: Love Twitter because it brings people together, strengthens communities and encourages the sharing of silly videos.

7) @BimblerBaz: How else could I have ended up with an inflatable zimmer frame, other than through Twitter? :) @LJB41

8) @Nigel_Pickover: I love Twitter because it connects me with brilliant people (like you madam!) and I get lots of lovely stories! #exclusive

9) @Jonoread: It brings together like-minded people, so you can guarantee you'll always find someone out there who agrees you're right even if you're probably wrong!

10) @Assembly_House: Quickest form of promo. Staff morale and congrats. Instant feedback from customers. Keep up to date with competition. #BANTER!

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