Twitter Time Machine

I saw my partner Andy tweeting last night about the first time certain words showed up in Twitter:

twitter firsts

That told me that Twitter had rolled out the ability to search the entire archive. I’m not sure when that happened but this morning I took a trip down memory lane and revisited my first four months on Twitter, from my first tweet on March 12, 2007 until the end of June 2007. The query is “from:fredwilson until:2007-6-30” and it returned these results.

There are a few gems in there but its mostly “I had grilled cheese for lunch” sort of stuff.

What is more interesting is I did four tweets over the span of two days and then stopped tweeting for three weeks. Then I found myself in LA and for some reason I started tweeting again. From then on, I tweeted almost every day for the next three months, sometimes two or three times a day. I was hooked. And lots of good things came of the habit I started in LA in early April 2007.

Here are a few favorites from those early days on Twitter:

Getting married in a downpour is good luck

I think this was my first visit to Twitter HQ

Still is

What’s a Blackberry?

When I met Ali for the first time (and mispelled her name, sorry Ali). Might also have been when Mark convinced me to invest in Zynga

Anniversaries were big that month for me

I still remember that moment. The kids went nuts.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave W Baldwin

    This makes sense per the announcement of teaming with IBM. Very good move for both companies.

  2. aweissman

    I got lost in this rabbit hole for hours. So much fun. Learned the first time I tweeted about coffee was also the first time I tweeted about music too: “As coffee hits, decided today’s motto is from Superchunk: “one good minute could last me a whole year”

    1. William Mougayar

      …and you continued tweeting about music, thereafter 🙂

  3. kirklove

    Checked that out a bit yesterday as well. Few things hit me looking at old tweets1) No @, no links, no retweeting, no hashtags. Just simple status updates. People forget the users created all those over time.2) Twitter wasn’t a rocket ship out of the gate. Checking the date stamps it was a good two years before it even saw real traction. Important to remember.

    1. jason wright

      but faster than the spread of bird flu

  4. Vineeth Kariappa

    so twitter vs google ? twitter may buy duckduckgo?

    1. Colin Devroe

      I don’t think Twitter and Google are comparable. Perhaps for realtime search they can compete… but where Twitter shows what people were saying and sharing at a particular time in, perhaps, a particular location… Google returns every webpage that mentions a particular topic.

  5. William Mougayar

    These were pretty innocent tweets…early days oblige. Now, we debate and curse for real.I started on Twitter the first week of December 2008. Couple of interesting tweets from then:…And

    1. fredwilson

      VCs are dead, long live VCs 🙂

      1. William Mougayar


      2. JamesHRH

        Heard a CalState Teachers fund investor say that small, early stage VCs are askin for 3&30.Contraction of supply is good for prices everywhere, even in VCland!

  6. andyswan

    I love that people’s first instinct is to search for themselves.There’s beauty in the naturalness of self-interest.

    1. jason wright

      i tweet therefore i am

      1. William Mougayar

        Narcissist 😉

    2. Anne Libby

      It feels less creepy to look at my own timeline…

    3. fredwilson

      whenever i try out a search engine, my first search is “fred wilson”

      1. JamesHRH

        What do you expect want to find on the top of the return stack?

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          “What do you expect to find on the top of the (perceptual) return stack?”Now that is a great computing/psychology metaphor !

    4. William Mougayar

      What’s the 2nd instinct? It might be more revealing, if there is one.

      1. JamesHRH

        Old flames.

    5. JamesHRH


    6. LE

      If you looked at your linkedin you can sometimes figure out who is looking at your profile by seeing “people also search for” [1] (unless you subscribe to the service which costs extra and tells you who is looking at your profile). As they said in American Beauty “You’re so busted”.[1] In other words someone looks at your profile then looks at their own profile.

    7. SubstrateUndertow

      That’s the substrate undertow of biology at work !We all find ourself in jail at the centre of our own perceptual universe.The natural beauty is of course that by distributive design it could not be otherwise.God may or may not play dice but he sure is into distributive networking as his marketplace based implementation of reality.This message brought to you by andyswan and the GOP :-)That is to say, that for me, this is your most convincing and elegant argument to date !

    8. Vivek Kumar

      remembering who we were – what were our passions.

  7. Anne Libby

    It would be awesome to find a good way to pull together a set of semiconnected tweets like this, that kept them live and clickable.I also recently resorted to posting a jpg. Something about storify didn’t quite work…

    1. Colin Devroe

      +1 for this. I was thinking about something similar too.

  8. Rob Underwood

    It’s evident from the Twitter archive that @aweissman:disqus has great taste in music.

    1. fredwilson

      he does but his love of Phish and the Dead threw me off at first. i do not equate phish and dead fans as having good taste in music. andy does, nonetheless

      1. Rob Underwood

        I think it is incumbent on @aweissman:disqus, me, and surely many others on AVC to introduce you to the wonders of a massive Hood or Fluffhead

        1. aweissman

          that day will come Rob, oh yes it will

        2. fredwilson

          you will have to strap me to a chair or a bed and force it on me

      2. Raj

        Nothing says “we can’t be friends” like when someone tells me they love Rush.

        1. pointsnfigures

          I think on Soundcloud I will start posting one hit wonders. When we were trading and it was boring we used to list them. My favorite one hit wonder song that sucked was by Paper Lace, The Night Chicago Died. How did that ever climb up the charts?

          1. Anne Libby

            Indiana Wants Me.

          2. JamesHRH

            Walkin on Sunshine could be the song that is the Center of a movie like That Thing You Do (Tom Hanks’ most under rated movie).

  9. Donna Brewington White

    Can’t stop thinking about this talk on “Disruption” by @FredWilson (venture & marketplace-shaping factors)— Donna White (@donnawhite:disqus ) June 3, 2009

  10. andrewparker

    Been playing with this feature a bunch and discovered in the proud owner of the first tweet mentioning USV:…And that was back when we were concerned calling the firm USV for shorthand would get us mixed up with USVP.

    1. fredwilson

      yesssssss. this is fantastic.

    2. JamesHRH

      What a classic Twitter experience.Went to your sample page, replaced your data with mine. Have been on the Twitter since 2010. First tweet they pulled is mid-2011.I swear I see 25% of the tweets of people I follow. It must be awesome to build a high volume, transitory service ……….. who knows how good it actually works.Nuts!

  11. Dave Pinsen

    I remember searching YouTube for a clip of that leaping Van Persie header during the World Cup and instead finding video blogs of guys talking about it. A quick Twitter search found the actual clip.

  12. JimHirshfield

    I evidently had nothing very interesting to say in April 2008 when I started tweeting.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Oh, wait…nothing’s changed in that regard.

      1. William Mougayar

        You definitely have standup comedian skills.

        1. JimHirshfield

          More like sit down commenting skills.

  13. Donna Brewington White

    Just scrolled through about 6 months of my life starting January 20, 2009. Pretty embarrassing and also leaves me incredulous that I EVER had that much time on my hands. Discovering Twitter was like opening a new toy.

    1. leigh

      embarrassing i doubt 🙂

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Your faith in me is undeserved. 🙂

    2. William Mougayar

      Can u delete unwanted tweets from your past?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I haven’t checked lately. I do recall deleting things from my timeline that still showed up in a search. Now I just pretend those tweets don’t exist and can’t imagine anyone caring enough to find them.

  14. rimalovski

    Thanks. That’s just killed my planned early morning productivity. 🙂

    1. leigh


  15. leigh

    We having been working on a social data research platform for a while — when we saw that they were opening up the data, we were like WTF? Could be good. Could be GREAT. Could be bad. What does it mean? Have my guys trying to figure it out — what’s the relationship with datasift, GNIP, what’s the business model? The biggest risk to what we’ve been doing has always been not knowing what Twitter will do from a data side. Anyone have any thoughts?

    1. JimHirshfield

      A search engine is different than deep data analytics, so maybe that’s the difference.

  16. awaldstein

    Fun…I’m not all that interesting in retrospect.

    1. JimHirshfield

      “Waldonics, a Retrospective” due out in 2019.

      1. Richard

        twitter is moving backwards

    2. JamesHRH

      In retrospect? Couldn’t help myself…..

  17. lisa hickey

    Wow, this was fascinating. I had completely forgotten that the entire first month I had been on Twitter had been spent talking about Twitter. It was if I realized Twitter was going to be important and then became completely obsessed with finding out why and how. It’s literally all I talked about, as I stumbled along, figuring it out. My first tweet at the end of 2008 was a link to “Why Twitter will go mainstream in 2009”. And then I got it: I described Twitter to someone as “half global think tank, half psychic hotline”. The future unfolds before my very eyes.— lisa hickey (@lisahickey) January 19, 2009<script async=”” src=”//…” charset=”utf-8″></script>I apparently didn’t start tweeting about AVC until 2011, which also surprised me. I thought I had found this place much earlier than that.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Similar reaction. Twitter rocked my world. I remember one friend in particular (very successful in private equity) thinking it was crazy and I was crazy. I’m having the last laugh, not that he cares.

  18. Twain Twain

    Now I feel sad I don’t yet have these memory snippets on Twitter because I’m a Twitter laggard compared with how quickly and embedded I am in G+.The whole memory piece of social media is really interesting.Even as we type, the $10 million Twitter invested in MIT’s Lab for Social Machines is applying Machine Learning to that corpus of tweets collected:*

  19. JLM

    .What started out as a “simple” social media tool has become something of huge significance.The intelligence community (and terror) uses Twitter to send anonymous messages which trigger field actions.Politics is driven by 140 words at a time.Freedom has spread when the Twittersphere has become the messaging center for revolt, revolution and change.If the Founding Fathers had had access to Twitter the Revolution would have been concluded quicker.Our President and Secretary of State use Twitter to announce major policy initiatives which makes me kind of dizzy really.Twitter — quick messaging of all types — has made the world significantly smaller and tighter.JLM.

    1. William Mougayar

      There’s something about Twitter forcing us to practice the art of brevity.

      1. LE

        That bothers me about twitter. To me brevity forces the reader to figure out what is in the mind of the person writing. Adds to much ambiguity.Another example is when you write someone a detailed email and you get back a three word or one word reply. “Why?”. Why what? Can you give me some more info so I don’t have to assume what you are questioning or write more to clarify things that you don’t need to know?

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          On balance, IMO, its shot-form services outweigh its shot-form disservices.Its shot-form structure facilitates a global and perceptually-manageable many-to-many neural-net of sensing/stimulating social cross signalling with optimal brevity and effective mechanisms for on demand drill down as desired.A longer form would swamp that social neural-net functionality.Even neural-net functionality that supports actionably synchronized webs of human/machine process/activity seem within reach of emerging tweet mechanisms/protocols.I thing it is pretty obvious that we are just scratching the iceberg on tweeters social-debate/social-synchronization potential.

        2. William Mougayar

          There’s a french saying I like: “Parlons peu, parlons bien” for which an English translation would mean:”let’s not beat about the bush – it’s when you have something important to say or to get across and you don’t want to get bogged down in endless and meaningless explanations – you want to keep it clear, simple and direct. the other way of saying it is – I want to get straight to the point”

        3. Donna Brewington White

          The brevity of Twitter is something I came to most appreciate about it. At first the idea of communicating anything of value that succinctly was inconceivable.

  20. pointsnfigures

    I think the progression of Twitter is highly interesting. I can’t remember when I first heard about it-probably sometime in late 2008 or in 2009. I recall reading an article in Barron’s that said, “Twitter is like a river of information, you dip your cup in, keep what you want and toss back what you don’t want”. I met David Meerman Scott and learned about Stocktwits, and talked about Twitter and trading. I found it hard to believe any serious trader would share information publicly. I still don’t think good information from serious traders hits Twitter until after they execute. So, Twitter becomes talking their now synthesizes tweets and turns them into machine readable format for HFT algos. Who saw that coming?I still meet people that are skeptical about Twitter. What I tell them is that the people in NYC found out about the earthquake in Washington DC on Twitter before the vibration was felt under their feet.Twitter is highly versatile. It’s a great medium, and represents the unbundling of the Facebook wall-status update. Because of its versatility, it can defend itself against incumbents. News is now broken on Twitter-and soon lots of things (stuff we haven’t even thought about-like heavy duty science) will happen on Twitter before they happen anywhere else.That brings up one vulnerability to social media that Ashton Kutcher tweeted yesterday. Because of the power and ubiquitousness of social media, we are changing from a society that is “innocent until proven guilty” to a European model of “guilty, prove your innocence”. That can be dangerous.

    1. LE

      What I tell them is that the people in NYC found out about the earthquake in Washington DC on Twitter before the vibration was felt under their feet.That’s like infotainment though. Who, other than people who need to know for some reason, needs to know that? How often does that happen where it actually matters? It’s almost similar to finding out who won the academy awards in a way. It really doesn’t matter unless you are writing a story for a newspaper and you need to know right when it happens.So if there is a flood in some state unless you have a relative in that area or if you are in that state it’s merely infotainment. Doesn’t change management of your life.I mean why do I need to know in real time that there is a gunman at a school in Chicago? I need to know if there is one at the school that my kids are at for sure. And twitter can help with that. But there already exists a pretty good system to tell me that information already. Someone calls you on the cell phone and information spreads the way it used to spread (if it is important enough). Edge cases exist for sure. My guess is that if the average person got value from twitter the average person would be using twitter. As such the average person doesn’t even find infotainment value in twitter, right? Let alone a true need for twitter.

    2. LE

      That brings up one vulnerability to social media that Ashton Kutcher tweeted yesterday. Because of the power and ubiquitousness of social media, we are changing from a society that is “innocent until proven guilty” to a European model of “guilty, prove your innocence”. That can be dangerous.100% correct.(You are referring to Kutcher vs. Lacy. )I totally agree. And this really really bothers me.Likewise what is happening with Bill Cosby. Guilty until proven innocent. Women come forward, so let’s just cancel his shows. Or what happen to Donald Sterling. Say something, loose sports team. Do we really want this?Cosby may very well be guilty. But that’s why we have courts and judges and juries and grand juries. We have a process to determine guilt or innocence. We simply can’t allow witch hunts. To me this is way way worse than all the shit that goes around about “privacy” and the government potentially listening in on your communications (assumption being for right reasons). Or net neutrality and so on.And the people that stand to lose the most from this are people that have worked hard and actually gotten to somewhere in life. Not “normals” who nobody cares about.

    3. Vasudev Ram

      Speaking of earthquakes, I remembered that I had tweeted about a few in the past, so did this search:…and got the right results, including some I experienced myself, and some big ones I read about.

  21. Matt Zagaja

    My first tweet was appropriately about the future:reading about the future of news media— Matt Zagaja (Matt Zagaja ) November 30, 2008 <script async=”” src=”//…” charset=”utf-8″></script>Lots of interesting memories about my college days sit in there. Mainly working on projects but also applying to law school. One tweet that really hit a memory was:On train from boston to worcester after meeting Setti Warren— Matt Zagaja (@mzagaja:disqus ) February 15, 2009 <script async=”” src=”//…” charset=”utf-8″></script>Setti Warren is the current mayor of Newton, MA and I was rather nervous because he was seeking my organization’s endorsement, a process that had never been done before. It was a political risk because he wasn’t the front-runner, but to this day he remains a friend of the PAC and students from BC campaign for him and his supporters donate to the College Democrats of Massachusetts PAC that I no longer run. A reminder that risks can pay off and loyalty is important.Lots of other tweets about politics and very little about tech at the end of 2009 and when I started law school. I was a boring tweeter, just tweeting articles or small comments on CT events, and most of the tweets only make sense in the context that they were written in. Then I tweeted the bar exam period of my life to death, it was a lonely time!Thanks Fred, that was fun.

  22. Colin Devroe

    I’m so happy that Twitter has made this move. A trove of information given back to the world. It still doesn’t quite work for me, though, but I’m sure it will soon. E.g. – Since Twitter absolutely blew up while I was at SXSW in 2007 you’d think this particular search would have a lot of results. Perhaps I’m doing it wrong?One other question, Fred… you have such good memories of tweeting personal observations and general “I had a grilled cheese”-type tweets in the early days… why do you no longer tweet? Or, I should say, why do you only share your blog posts on Twitter now with only a tweet or two per month thrown in? I think I counted 4 tweets total in October that weren’t links to your blog, as an example. Just an observation not a criticism!(Sorry if this was asked in this thread already. I can’t find a way to search all of the comments.)

    1. pf

      Assume you may have realized this by now, but the link is for sWsw. If you search for sXsw in that period, you get more results:…

      1. Colin Devroe

        @pf Wow. 🙁 Thanks so much. Doh!

  23. Chris Phenner

    ‘Internet Memoir.’ Not sure if it’s a genre of writing or literature (except it is). Love it.

  24. Tom Labus

    I think Twitter came of age during the Crash in 08/09. Info was appearing on twitter before it hit the Bloomberg terminals. Maybe crises are its forte.

  25. LE

    First I heard of twitter (twttr) was when Mike Arrington started to talk about it.Here’s the original TC post:…Later Mike was constantly complaining because TC was down that’s originally what got me thinking about it (but not using it). I thought “must be something here”. This is an example of any PR or media mention being good PR. [1] My “dead bodies on ebay” concept.[graphic attached][1] (Not for Cosby of course).

  26. karen_e

    I’m glad to see my first tweet was in 2008, but a little perplexed at the half-thought that croaked out: “@howardlinzon if.” If what? If I had invested like Howard invested, then?

  27. bsoist

    my first tweet…another favorite from way back…There’s a couple hours of my life I wish I had back. 🙂

  28. SubstrateUndertow

    Is the set of structured social-utilizes now built into twitter near complete or have they just begun scratching that iceberg ?

  29. Vasudev Ram

    Grilled cheese for lunch is better than a gem.

  30. ShanaC

    I’m gonna just look forward

    1. fredwilson

      i remember it willsame class as Disqus i think

  31. Nathan Gantz

    In keeping with the theme of Andy’s Twitter, here’s a Wired article profiling an open-source bio robot crowdfunding campaign he Tweeted about.

  32. Chimpwithcans

    I think Twitter needs to sell itself better – I don’t need to start a mass movement, and I don’t need up-to-the-second news. I think it should be primarily a feedback mechanism that delivers tangible results to consumers. In this way the IBM partnership could be extremely powerful. But this needs to be explained and demonstrated to us users.

  33. Raja Bhatia

    I joined Twitter in September of 2006. I was working on my first startup at the time and was following Obvious closely as they were using the same unproven tech stack (Rails) for Odeo as us when it was slow and unproven. Here is my first tweet, back when Twitter was primarily driven by sms.…And a few weeks later, I remember being at a BBQ and having a discussion with @ev on how I didn’t see any real longevity for their little side project at Obvious. I believe it was by direct message but somehow some of those tweets are now in my public timeline. Here is one of them:…It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong I was:…Sometimes you don’t know until you know. And I can’t help to think that despite the constant public scrutiny and sensationalist coverage that goes along with being a public company, Twitter is still in it’s first act. The best is yet to come and the next billion people coming online are going to use the platform in ways that the first 1.5 billion couldn’t have imagined.

    1. Chozinn

      I still remember hearing rumblings of twitter that I pushed aside, scoffing and saying “who cares? It’s just status updates.” I was acting like an old man unwilling to adopt new technology even though I was working in interactive advertising

  34. Prokofy

    I am so grateful for learning this command: from:fredwilson until:2007-6-30 It is EXTREMELY useful.

  35. Tess Cakey

    Good stuff.

  36. JLM

    .This Internet Interweb Twitter shit might be a big play, Sage.JLM.

  37. William Mougayar

    Th(minimum chars allowed on disqus is 2)

  38. SubstrateUndertow

    I c

  39. William Mougayar