Gotta Watch: Why we're Tweeting 5 years later...
Onlookers take photos during the revolution in Egypt.
March 21st, 2011
11:34 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Why we're Tweeting 5 years later...

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Twitter. Despite all the skeptics who said the concept was just a fad, it looks like Tweeting is here to stay. Here are some of our favorite videos highlighting how communication through 140 characters or less has changed our world.

The Twitter revolution – Twitter's impact as a tool for political and social change was profound during the uprising in Egypt. And the United States was paying close attention. CNN's Jill Dougherty looks at the impact of social media on U.S. foreign policy and how the White House is trying to fight what it calls "internet repression."

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'Tiger blood' and Twitter – Whether you like it or not, celebrities are also harnessing the power of Twitter and if anyone knows the power of Twitter, it's Charlie Sheen. He set the Guinness World Record for gaining the most Twitter followers in a single day. A million followers? That's so early March. He's now surpassed 3 million.

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Tweeting for charity – While celebrities are pumping up their fame with the social media tool, many other outlets are using it for charitable reasons. Our Fredricka Whitfield reports on a grassroots organization called Beremedy that is using Twitter as a tool to help those in need. The concept is simple. They Tweet a need. If you can help, you Tweet back.

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You can read more on the five-year anniversary of Twitter here.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Charlie Sheen • Gotta Watch • Media • Showbiz • TV • Twitter
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Roderick M. F. Petty

    More than just a way to connect to the world, social media allows people to have a voice. I believe people feel small and this gives them a way to be heard and maybe believe they are effecting change in some way.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      It might make small people *feel* bigger. But in reality, it does no such thing. With 140,000,000 tweets per day, any given tweet is completely anonymous, meaningless, and worthless. No one is reading it and no one cares. Your opinion doesn't count for anything no matter how badly you want it to. You existence is utterly meaningless, and Twitter doesn't change that. Here's a thought: rather than PRETENDING that you're important by tweeting, get off your butt and actually become important by DOING something important. Twitter is just one more way for lazy, worthless people to feel better about themselves without taking any effort or initiative.

      March 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Casual

    This whole trend towards having every aspect on lifes posted on some kind of social newtwork is dangerous I feel.

    Why do people today feel the need to tweet about every little random thing in their lives? Or on the other end, tweet or post very personal information for all to see? I don't get it. I have zero Facebook accounts now. It was ridiculus to me.
    The forum was for people to get out their own agenda. Besides, once you put 'it' out there, its out there, you can't take it back....
    It was policial, too personal, too much bashing, and not private enough. I found it was NOT a way to keep in touch, it was more for bragging rights, if you will. Most people who I was able to reconnect with, wanted nothing to do with really catching up, they were more interseted in my hosue, my job, my kids, my grandkids, how much money I make, what my policial beleifs were.....then the pictures constantly!

    All of the middle aged women making fools of themselves: "Oh girl look how hot you are!" Really? Hot? You gasl still need valadation at this age?! WHO uses this type of langauge at 45!? Or who cares if some of the girls from high school think you are hot!? I'm WAY beyond that I hope. Too bad really, it would be nice to have a GROWN UPS Facebook.

    Sad, is more like it. Just another form of keeping up with the Smith's. Not me. I learned my lesson.

    Sorry, just not getting it.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |

      it's cause you were born before the computer age..

      btw when your driving down the street can you keep in the slow lane and not drive with your brights on? you would think that old people would drive faster cause they are closer to death..

      March 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Casual 43 I'm not old. I'm just old enough to know better. I also suspect that I drive WAY faster than you youngsters in my G8 GT than you {a perk of being 'old' is more money and much nicer cars than you sonny}. Age really has nothing to do with computers. I work at major library in Chicago. By no means am I not in the know about computers and technology.

    Computers have been around a long time, do you think the 20 somethings invented them? Come on. You are showing your age now. Especially since you felt the need to use a veiled insult.

    Maybe you tweet something about the mean old lady giving you a hard time? No?

    March 21, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Penny

      !1. I was using a computer 30 years ago before most of the kids who think they "own" social media were born
      2. I did a "twitter' experiment spent 6 hours a day for a month on twitter with lots of followers and following. I plan to write a blog on this but in a nutshell, I believe it is a novel waste of time. Though it was an amusing way to pass and waste the time while my knee was broken and I had to sit in a wheelchair.

      March 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Keith Ward

    Don't you read your own surveys? With over 72,000 people responding 93% said they don't tweet, so please tell me why this is so important to CNN but not to anyone else?

    March 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. College

    I hate twitter, It's ruining society. Save your "why did you comment then" remarks because those are for simpletons...unless you are one.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Always a good way to stop criticism... Make fun of people before they can point out the flaw in your argument.

      March 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. McGuffin

    I can see how in some respects, instant broadcast communication can be very useful and powerful. However, my main problem with Twitter, and why I will always view it as a celebration of triviality and a waste of time instead of something meaningful, is the 140-character limit. What this says to the world is, "no thought or opinion is complex enough to require more than 140 characters to express." It's part of the great movement to dumb down society, to encourage people to be content with tortured grammar and simplistic understanding of even complex issues. In essence, Twitter does to communication what the use of sound bites does to speeches: takes a complex idea and presumes it can accurately be boiled down to a very short snippet. This is not true of anything except the most trivial of thoughts, hence the result that tweets are often nothing more than "I like fuzzy slippers."

    March 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rachel

    Charlie Sheen gained 1 million 'followers' in the first 25 hours on Twitter; to date, he has 3 million + 'followers'. 3 million people who find the rantings of a deranged addict to be cool–they really want to be a part of that club. How sad. And how very scary.

    March 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tacks Break

    I got your tweets...right here.

    March 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    Here's a thought for those who dislike Twitter: maybe stop whining about how dumb and narcissistic it is and, I don't know, NOT go to that website? Also, aren't Facebook pages just a TAD more narcissistic than Twitter accounts?

    March 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Just because Facebook is grossly narcissistic does not mean that Twitter is NOT also grossly narcissistic. Get over yourself. No. One. Cares. What. You. Have. To. Say. No one...

      March 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Not A Twitterer Just A Twit

    Who wants to know what a person is doing every second of the day? Only a psycho stalker, thats who! BORING! Just another useless peice of electronic equipment. Someone thought of another stupid way to make money thats all. and all you morons feed into it and make that person even richer. TWITTER ANOTHER WORD FOR TWIT!

    March 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tacks Break

    I just a legless dog out to sea......and I twittered it.

    March 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andreas Moser

    What is a Twitter?

    March 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Valerie

    I mostly follow causes, people with the same interests or news organizations (I follow cnn). Most I usually do is retweet what they post (usually good quotes, sometimes important information). Or keep up with folks who aren't close enough to be friends on Facebook. People on twitter don't really care about what I had for breakfast.

    March 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alan

    Im sorry, but tweeting is psychotic.....I mean really...get a life

    March 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Will

    "We" are doing no such thing. If you take a look at CNN's quick poll, 93% of responders claim to not send tweets. And if 93% of CNN's hip, mod, urban viewership is not tweeting, what percent of less hip, less mod people do you really think are tweeting? That's right. Despite what you psychotic people want to believe, you're a bunch of narcissistic losers, tweeting all alone in the dark. You're not relevant. You're not special. No one gives a rat's a$$ what you have to say. No one. Really. Get over yourselves and go have a real conversation with a real person...

    March 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
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