Twitter launched its microblogging service five years ago today, and the company is marking the occasion by doling out some impressive usage stats.
Currently, about 600,000 people sign up for a Twitter account every day. In comparison, it took Twitter almost a year-and-a-half to attract its first 600,000 members, the company said on Friday in its official Twitter feed.
On the first day in operation, users sent 224 "tweets," which is the number the current user base sends every tenth of a second. Meanwhile, the company's engineering team disclosed on its own feed that users send 350 billion "tweets" every day.
"Delivering 350 billion Tweets a day is a terribly fun engineering challenge. But, it doesn't capture how passionate our users are," the post by Twitter's Engineering team reads.
Last week, Twitter said that it had recently topped 1 million registered applications for its platform built by 750,000 external developers.
Measuring up the competition
The usage metrics released by Twitter contrast with the ones that Google CEO Larry Page provided last week about the company's new Google+ social networking site.
Speaking during his company's second quarter earnings call, Page said that although Google+ is still in a limited trial phase and available only by invitation, about 10 million people have signed up for the site. They share about 1 billion items every day.
Looking back, Twitter has improved tremendously its site stability, availability and performance, which early on were notoriously uneven, making the service vulnerable to frequent outages, slowdowns and glitches.
Today, Twitter's "Fail Whale" graphic, which became a popular Internet symbol for things gone wrong, is seen much less often, and the company has moved on to other challenges such as building a sustainable revenue stream based primarily on online advertising.
Twitter is also facing discontent from some developers who created applications that provided complementary functionality for the site, only to find that Twitter has decided to build those features natively into its service.
King of the hill
What's not in doubt is that it is the undisputed, preferred microblogging tool of public figures, companies and private individuals for posting short text messages online and sharing links.
It has even played an important and controversial part in political uprisings, in particular in countries with totalitarian regimes where pro-democracy activists have found Twitter to be an effective yet stealthy communications tool.
Although it caters to the consumer market, its microblogging concept has been adapted by a growing number of enterprise software vendors who now provide Twitter-like services for workplace collaboration and communication.
As it celebrates its fifth birthday, Twitter also finds itself without several of its most public representatives, including co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, who have recently moved on to other ventures.