10 years after the first tweet, here are 9 ways Twitter has changed the world.

Happy birthday, Twitter! The big 1-0!

In the 10 years since Jack Dorsey pressed send on that very first tweet, a lot has changed.

The microblogging site, originally known as Twttr (thankfully, that didn't stick), had just a handful of members, and most who signed up had little more to do than post about what they had for breakfast. Oh, and if you wanted to post from your phone, you had to do it via text message. These were simpler times.


Now, the company boasts more than 320 million active users per month, and it's still growing.


A decade after that very first tweet, the service has helped change the world in remarkable ways. Here are just a few examples.

1. It's revolutionized how we consume news.

A 2015 Pew Research poll found that 63% of the site's active users get their news via Twitter (up from 52% just two years earlier). It makes total sense, too! With the ability to post from just about anywhere, Twitter changed how pro and amateur journalists report on news as it unfolds. It's breaking news right on your phone.


2. It's changed how we organize social and political movements.

Whether you're talking about Black Lives Matter, the 2009 protests of Iran's election, the Arab Spring, or any of the many other campaigns launched via the site, Twitter has played a huge role in helping people organize and rally around various causes. That sort of organization, usually centered around a hashtag or keywords, has made it increasingly harder for media organizations to ignore events — if something is trending on Twitter, people will wonder why it's not also being reported by news organizations.


What's more is that the ability to form coalitions online and off brings with it a lot of power — most importantly, the power to make your voice heard.

Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Image.

3. It's helped connect people in marginalized groups.

One prominent example is author Janet Mock's #girlslikeus campaign. It started with a simple tweet supporting Miss Universe hopeful Jenna Talackova, but soon morphed into something much larger.

Suddenly, transgender women had a hashtag they could check to see stories by others who have shared some of their same experiences. For a group rife with people experiencing loneliness, being able to see that they're not alone (and having a place to reach out for help) is undoubtably a lifesaving experience for some.

4. It's changed how we learn about other people outside our own communities.

Growing up, you probably didn't have much of a say as far as what kind of racial, religious, and gender diversity you were exposed to; it was just a product of circumstance. With Twitter, you can make conscious efforts to learn about people and cultures you don't know a whole lot about simply by following and listening. It's a quick way to learn more about people from different economic backgrounds, people with different abilities and disabilities, people with differing political philosophy, and so much more.


5. It's given us direct access to public figures.

Celebrities! They're just like us!

It used to be that the only time you'd hear from a famous individual would be in planned-out interviews coordinated by public relations professionals. Nowadays, these same celebrities are a part of everyday life. In other words, being able to read about and interact with celebrities has helped humanize them and show that they face many of the same struggles as the rest of us.

Sometimes — as in the recent effort to #FreeKesha from her contract with Sony over sexual assault allegations — fans can use their collective power to create change on a celebrity's behalf.

6. It's given us a whole new avenue for providing (and receiving) instant feedback on news, entertainment, goods, and services.

This one is certainly a bit of a double-edged sword, that's for sure. It's become easier than ever to let somebody know how you feel about their work — in a very public way. Take, for example, this interaction with the San Francisco Bay Area's rapid transit organization. They get very, very real in their response.


7. It's created a whole new genre of comedy demonstrating that, yes, brevity is the soul of wit.

Comedy is hard. Turning 140 characters into brilliant humor? Even harder. Twitter has birthed a whole new kind of comedian — one who can fit setup and punchline into the tiny space of a tweet. It's helped launch careers and, in one case, provided us with the most amazing segment in HLN history.

8. It's changed how politicians interact with their constituents.

Just last week, as President Obama was set to announce his pick for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, the White House set up a special Twitter account specifically to spread information about the selection.

There have been great moments (like the time Hillary Clinton retweeted Bernie Sanders in an act of unity) and, well, some not-so-great moments (like former Congressman Anthony Weiner's sex scandal or all the times Donald Trump has retweeted white supremacist Twitter accounts). One thing's for sure, though: Politics will never be the same.

9. Twitter has taught us how crucial being kind to each other is in modern life.

Things on Twitter can get pretty heated. Whether it's arguing about politics, religion, or entertainment, it's sometimes a bit scary to see how quickly things escalate.

What's important isn't the fighting, but what we can take away from it. It's taught us that lonely people can be targets for groups promoting hatred. It's shown us that loving each other and building our real offline communities are just as important as the ones we create online.

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

It should be said that Twitter still has a lot of room to improve (and not with algorithmic timelines that no one asked for either).

As former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said, "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years." Cyberbullying, harassment, trolling, or whatever else you want to call it: Twitter has a problem that in 10 years of existence, it hasn't been able to address successfully. While the company has made changes to features and its Terms of Service, it's safe to say there are a lot of people who would give up a year's worth of new features for some better protection from harassment. That (and being able to edit your tweets) has to be one of the most wished-for features the site could adopt.

In just 10 years, the way the world communicates has changed — and mostly for the better.

Here's hoping that in another 10, we'll see more innovations that help us connect and empathize with others in this world.

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family