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Elon Musk and Twitter’s New Chapter [History and Future]

Elon Musk and Twitter's New Chapter History and Future

Elon Musk just offered to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, and the world can’t stop talking about it. A lot of questions are yet to be answered, and many people wonder what the future holds for their beloved social media.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of the platform, and what the new era of Elon Musk Twitter will look like.

Twitter Statistics 2022

Let’s start with some stats:

History of Twitter

In order to understand how Twitter got where it is today, it’s important to review its history. The social platform was founded on March 21, 2006, by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass.

Beforehand, Evan Williams and Biz Stone were working for Google. It was in November 2004, when both left their jobs to pursue a working opportunity with their neighbor, Noah Glass. Williams and Glass created a podcasting company, called Odeo.

In 2006, the quartet started discussing a concept for a platform where people could send out short messages to let others know what they’re up to. Later that year, Dorsey created an early version of what would soon become known as Twitter.

Fast-forward a few months, Williams, supported by Dorsey, fires Noah Glass from the project, due to an increased tension between the sides. Finally, in October, Dorsey, Stone and Williams acquired the majority of assets of Odeo, pivoting into Twitter.

Let’s quickly check what happened next with the help of an easy-to-read timeline.

Twitter Timeline

Twitter Timeline

March 2007. Twitter earns its first mainstream recognition by winning “best startup” at the South by Southwest interactive conference (SXSWi). Twitter usage increased from 20,000 to 60,000 tweets per day during the event.

April 2007. Jack Dorsey becomes the CEO of Twitter, which is now officially its own company. A rapid initial growth sees tweets rise to 400,000 per quarter in 2007.

August 2007. The birth of the hashtag “#”. It was brought to life by Twitter user Chris Messina.

October 2008. Evan Williams replaces Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter, after unaddressed issues regarding server failures.

April 2009. CNN and Ashton Kutcher started one of the first major Twitter feuds (the actor won) over who would reach 1 million followers first.

Williams appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and set up her account. This led to a record of new sign-ups on Twitter.

Biz Stone and Evan Williams are listed in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.

April 2010. Twitter creates its first clear channel for constant profit, announcing the use of promoted tweets for advertising.

October 2010. The board removes Williams as CEO, replacing him with Dick Costolo with the intention to bring back Dorsey at some stage.

June 2011. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announces his retirement from day-to-day activities.

July 2011. The White House hosts a Twitter town hall meeting, with president Barack Obama serving as a moderator, alongside Jack Dorsey.

September 2011. Twitter reaches 100 million users.

October 2012. Twitter buys Vine for $30 million.

December 2012. Twitter surpasses 200 million users.

November 2013. Twitter releases its IPO with a starting valuation of $31 billion.

January 2015. Twitter acquires ZipDial for around $30 million.

April 2015. Twitter shares fall by 18%.

May 2015. Google adds tweets to SERPs.

June 2015. Jack Dorsey takes over as CEO of Twitter, in place of Dick Costolo.

November 2017. On his last day of work, a rogue Twitter employee takes down the profile of president Donald Trump. His account is back online after 11 minutes.

November 2018. Twitter expands its word limit from 140 to 280 characters.

June 2019. Twitter reveals data showing thousands of fake accounts associated with foreign governments like Russia and Iran.

January 2022. Musk started buying Twitter shares. He owned more than 5% of the company by March.

March 2022. Musk starts criticizing Twitter on Twitter.

April 2022. Musk becomes an active investor, then rejects a board seat. On April, 25, Elon Musk offered to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, $52.40 per share, in cash.

Twitter Profitability

We’re about to see the aftermath of the Elon Musk Twitter deal soon enough, and some already speculate it may have been a risky investment. However, only time will show whether this is the case.

For the moment, let’s take a look at how Twitter profited throughout the years.

Twitter Annual Gross Profit

The results from the last couple of years indicate that Twitter has a steady growth rate.

Although Q2 of 2020 saw a huge drop of net income ($1.2 billion net loss), due to an advertising slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company managed to stabilize its income.

Here are the figures for the last four years:

  • 2019: $2.322 billion – 11.79% increase from the previous year.
  • 2020: $2.35 billion – 1.19% increase from the previous year.
  • 2021: $2.37 billion – 39.58% increase from the previous year.
  • 2022: For Q1 of 2022, Twitter registered a gross profit of $0.649 billion, which is a 5.88% year-over-year increase.

Twitter Stars

Over the years, Twitter has managed to gain influence via the help of celebrities, who use the platform for both personal and business tweets.

To this date, only four people have more than 100 million followers on the platform, and the leader of the pack, in case you didn’t know, is former U.S. president Barack Obama.

The brand with the highest number of followers on Twitter is YouTube – 74.9 million.

And, since we are talking about Elon Musk and Twitter here, if you’re wondering how many followers does Elon Musk have on Twitter, the answer is 90.3 million, as of May 2022.

Here is a list of the top 11 most followed Twitter accounts:

Here is a list of the top 11 most followed Twitter accounts

  1. Barack Obama – 131.8 million followers
  2. Justin Bieber – 114.3 million followers
  3. Katy Perry – 108.8 million followers
  4. Rihanna – 106.3 million followers
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo – 99.5 million followers
  6. Elon Musk – 91.6 million followers
  7. Taylor Swift – 90.3 million followers
  8. Donald Trump – 88.8 million followers*
  9. Ariana Grande – 85.3 million followers**
  10. Lady Gaga – 85.6 million followers
  11. Narendra Modi – 78.3 million followers

*Donald Trump was banned from Twitter in January 2021 after a series of tweets in which he repeatedly broke Twitter’s rules against spreading disinformation, instigating violence, and spreading false information about COVID-19.

In a recent interview, Trump states that he will not go back to Twitter, opting to join his own new social media instead.

**Ariana Grande deactivated her Twitter on December 24, 2021. She hasn’t stated a reason for the departure, and it is not yet clear whether she will return to the social media.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Plans: What Does the Future Hold For Twitter?

After Elon Musk offer, the big question now is: what is going to happen with Twitter?

Initial reports suggest that Musk will be applying job cuts, and focusing on ways to encourage influencers and celebrities to be more active on the platform.

One of the most important reasons why Musk wanted to buy Twitter was because he felt the social media wasn’t protecting freedom of speech. He referenced free speech once more when the agreement to purchase Twitter was made public. Which means that he is expected to apply efforts in this direction as well.

Another new idea Musk has for the social media is for governments and businesses to pay a “slight cost” to use it. It is still unclear on how this process will be organized and whether journalists and non-profit organizations will fall under this category, or will be an exception.

On top of that, the billionaire stated he preferred “time-outs”, instead of permanent bans, which suggests former president Donald Trump could make his return to the platform under the rulership of Musk.

Additionally, Musk plans to “authenticate” all humans on the platform. His statement has already been a topic for debates and questions on how he intends to execute his plans.

Last but not least, Musk stated he would enhance Twitters with new features and make the algorithm of the platform open-source.

On April 19, he wrote in his Twitter account:

Here are six things Musk wants to change on Twitter:

  1. Release an edit button
  2. Battle cryptocurrency scams
  3. Freedom of speech: Twitter content moderation
  4. Make Twitter’s algorithm open-source
  5. “Authenticate” all humans
  6. Paid subscription for governments and businesses

Summary

Only time will tell what the future holds for Elon Musk’s Twitter, and whether the social media platform will change for the better.

The one thing that is certain… is that nothing is certain. We will follow with interest what Musk brings to the table and if he can revolutionize the way we use social media.

Until then, keep checking our blog for all the latest updates regarding social media, digital marketing, business, and WordPress development.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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