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

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

Tweets From the Dawn of Twitter

1342099404621
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.)

Advertisement

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:

1342099784580

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.