The popular social networking site Twitter will turn seven on Thursday, and there can be no doubt that it has changed the way people communicate -- 140 characters at a time.
Twitter is responsible for introducing terms like "trending," "hashtag," and "tweet" into the common vernacular, and the Library of Congress is even archiving tweets for historical purposes.
In the past, keeping up with current events meant cracking open a newspaper, but more and more people are now turning to Twitter to find out what's going on -- and it's somewhat revolutionary in that readers can now publicly put in their own two cents through a reply.
"It really is all about the voice, giving people the opportunity to react on anything," explained social media consultant Jason Douglas.
It's also changed the way the news is covered and created. Reporters now tweet details of stories as they happen, especially during breaking news.
What started as an idea to instant message a small group of people has stuck around for seven years, and the brainchild of Jack Dorsey now boasts half a billion users -- but in the short time Twitter has been online, it's done much more than helped users keep in touch with friends and family.
Twitter has ruined political careers, helped organize protests against oppressive regimes during the Arab Spring, and even tipped off the world to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
"The fact that it's real time and the fact that you have access to just about anybody -- a regular fan can reach out to their favorite celebrity and engage with them," Douglas said.
During the past election, Twitter changed the way presidential debates were taken in with record-breaking usage -- but whether it will stay relevant in the ever-changing online landscape is anyone's guess.
KDFW FOX 4
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