To celebrate its eighth birthday, Twitter — a “place where you can discover new ideas, make real human connections and express yourself freely” — has bestowed the gift of navel-gazing techno-nostalgia to its 241 million users.
As the service announced Wednesday night, you can now see any user’s first tweet by clicking over to the Discover tab and entering their username. This is not necessarily breaking news — many tools exist to let people do this type of digging already — but by making a nice, user-friendly and universally accessible tool for it, Twitter has basically opened the floodgates to everyone’s annoying first-tweet retweets. Expect to see nothing but nostalgia-tinged throwback tweets today, cluttering your timeline like so many baby pictures.
HI TWITTERS . THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY .— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 17, 2009
Tis my first twitt-er. Or tweet? Twit? Or tweet? “Twit or tweet everybody.” Is this anything?— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 10, 2009
I just signed on to Twitter today. Don’t want it or need it, but don’t wanna be out of the action!— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) August 13, 2009
i have come to join you pleas be gentle with me as ive been feeling vulnerable… yet implausibly, sexy— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) January 26, 2009
i have officially entered the 20th century. i mean the 21st.— P!nk (@Pink) April 4, 2009
dropping my first tweet— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) January 16, 2009
I am learning how to tweet— Cornel West (@CornelWest) July 8, 2009
i just made a twitter account because it isnt cool for someone to blame you and blast you with lies…— will.i.am (@iamwill) June 22, 2009
Hello World, the Real King James is in the Building ″Finally”. My Brother @oneandonlycp3 gas’d me up to jump on board so I’m here. Haaaa— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 6, 2010
PRINCE’S 1ST TWEET… TESTING 1, 2…— 3RDEYEGIRL (@3RDEYEGIRL) August 14, 2013
Greetings Tweetarians! I have just landed on your Planet. This could be my last Tweet.— Jerry Seinfeld (@JerrySeinfeld) July 15, 2011
Just got into Berlin… feeling better thank you, have my vicks inhaler by my bedside… and P.S. I TWITTTTER! GAH. Such a follower!— Katy Perry (@katyperry) February 21, 2009
If there’s anything worth deriving from all this trivia, honestly, it’s the eyeroll-inducing fact that most people’s first tweets are about Twitter — a good demonstration, perhaps, of the oft-repeated claim that social media is less a “place where you can discover new ideas,” etc., and more an insulated echo chamber for a very specific, tech- and media-savvy elite.
Speaking of the savvy and self-involved elite, Twitter has basically solved one of that crowd’s most contentious recent squabbles. If Twitter didn’t want the media embedding random tweets, why would it serve us gems like this one?
@TeamKardashians OMG your background is FIRE!!!! I want my pics bigger I think, will u help me?— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) October 25, 2008