Since Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet in March 2006, Twitter has grown to become the social media channel of choice for many online users.
It took three years, two months and one day for the service to reach its one billionth tweet. Today, that many tweets are sent every two days, from an active user base of more than 300 million.
That’s 500 million tweets every 24 hours, of which 490 million are from bloggers promoting their latest post.
I’m joking, of course. It’s only 480 million …
It’s difficult to explain to non-users just how addictive a medium that only permits you to communicate 140 characters at a time can be. And yet so many of us use it constantly for a variety of reasons: to have conversations, for breaking news, as a marketing tool or simply for the purposes of procrastination.
But are you just a regular Twitter user or are you utterly obsessed with it? Take this simple quiz to find out.
True or false?
1. You don’t have friends, you have followers.
2. Your Twitter name isn’t your real name but some witty pseudonym or the name of your blog/website.
3. Your profile image isn’t the default Twitter egg or a straightforward photo of yourself but a stylised cartoon avatar or personal logo.
4. You use the word ‘hashtag’ in everyday conversation. (But then you’re also the sort of person who used to talk about doing things ‘last-minute dot com’.)
5. Even when you’re writing emails, you no longer write ‘To’ – you use @.
6. If you know you’re going to be off Twitter for a while, you schedule tweets to go out just in case anyone misses you while you’re gone.
7. You judge new acquaintances based on (a) whether or not they’re on Twitter and (b) how many followers they have. If they have more followers than you, they immediately go up in your estimation.
8. You have RSI in your thumb from constantly scrolling down through your timeline on your phone.
9. You break into a cold sweat whenever you’re somewhere with poor mobile reception.
10. You have a Twitter ‘strategy’.
11. You assess how productive a day you’ve had by the number of times you’ve been retweeted and favourited.
12. Getting yourself retweeted by Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry or Stephen Fry is on your bucket list.
13. During an evening out with friends or loved ones, you regularly excuse yourself to go to the toilet – but you’re actually just taking a Twitter break.
14. You know what a ‘twibbon’ is and have attached one to you profile picture at some point.
15. The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is check Twitter to see if you’ve had any mentions – and you’re irritated if you haven’t.
16. Your last action before going to bed is to write a tweet telling everyone that you’re going to bed, just in case they’re interested.
17. You have sat down in the evening with the intention of just checking Twitter quickly and have looked up later to realise that it’s past midnight.
18. Everything you write or say is reduced to sentences of 140 characters or fewer.
19. Not content with just using a random photo from your phone’s album, you’ve Photoshopped a custom header image and background for your Twitter page.
20. You know more people by their Twitter handle than their real name.
21. You have a carefully crafted bio for your Twitter profile that you can recite word-for-word.
22. You use words such as ‘twitterati’ and ‘tweetup’ without a trace of self-consciousness.
23. You’ve walked into a lamppost while walking down the street on at least one occasion because you were so engrossed catching up on your timeline.
24. Rather than speak to them, you have had Twitter conversations with one or more people who are in the same room as you.
25. When asked what you would choose if you had to give up either Twitter or sex for a year, you do not hesitate to answer. You’d give up sex, of course.
What’s your score?
Now give yourself one point for every question you answered ‘True’ to, and let’s see how you rated.
0-5: What is this Twitter thing, exactly?
6-11: You’re familiar with Twitter and use it regularly but it hasn’t taken over your life. Yet.
12-17: The # and @ keys on your keyboard are worn out. Your phone battery is constantly dying because of the amount of time you spend checking your timeline. It’s time to admit you have a problem. (It will probably get you a few retweets – bonus!)
18 or more: You need help. Tweet all your followers to find out if they know the Twitter handle of a good doctor.
How many did you score? For what it’s worth, I got 15 out of 25.