In the First Days of Twitter, Everyone Really Did Tweet About Their Lunch

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 12 2012 9:31 AM

Tweets From the Dawn of Twitter

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Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was the first person ever to tweet about his lunch.

Screenshot / Oldtweets

In the early days of Twitter, people really did tweet about their lunch a lot: At least 22,773 times in the site’s first year, vs. fewer than 17,000 about dinner and a mere 7,248 about breakfast. Co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone both tweeted about their lunches on the site’s first day, March 21, 2006. I discovered this while playing around with a new search tool called oldtweets, which has archived and indexed (all of?) the tweets from Twitter’s first year of existence.

Built by New York-based programmer Kellan Elliott-McCrea, one of Twitter’s earliest adopters (and now CTO of Etsy), oldtweets lets you search either by word or by user account, and it orders the results chronologically. So if you’re curious to know who coined the term “Twitterverse,” as I was, oldtweets is a good place to start. (The next step, I guess, would be to ask Mai Le.)

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Based on the few queries I’ve tried so far, oldtweets seems like both a fun nostalgia machine and a trove of historical trivia. (Yes, 2006 counts as history in Internet years.) And who wouldn’t like to return to a time when there was no such word as hashtag?

Gizmodo has already collected a handful of amusing-in-hindsight tweets from the search engine, including this gem:

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Try oldtweets yourself here. Find other good ones? Post them in the comments below.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

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