Techworld

Changing the world 140 characters at a time: Twitter co-creator

Dom Sagolla tells the story of how Twitter came to be, and urges people to keep pursuing the next big idea.

Twitter co-creator Dom Sagolla.

Twitter co-creator Dom Sagolla.

It will probably come as no surprise to people that Twitter co-creator Dom Sagolla has more than one account on the social networking site and he likes to tweet a lot.

In fact, Sagolla encouraged the audience at Gartner’s annual Symposium/ITxpo on the Gold Coast to tweet as often as possible using the avenue he refers to as the 'story of people’s lives'.

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“Twitter is simply the fastest way to create hyper-text and if you boil it down to that, there is nothing to be afraid of,” he said. “The scariest time with Twitter is just before you start using it.”

Sagolla, who previously worked as a print journalist in the US, said he views writing on Twitter as breaking the news of his life and watching the news unfolding in front of him.

“I don’t watch television any more and I don’t even have broadband TV in my house. All of my news comes from the 886 people I follow on Twitter which would confound my mom as she’s a traditional media person,” he said.

However, Sagolla conceded that the danger with social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is that people get information and news overload.

He asked the audience if they had more than 10 unread emails in their inbox, the majority of delegates raised their hands.

“It’s so difficult to just get through all of your emails and then when you have something like Twitter it’s impossible to read all of the tweets,” he said.

“You do not have to read every email. Information overload can be solved with filters and that’s what we did when we created Twitter.”

Sagolla went into the history of the social networking site which began in San Francisco in 2006. He worked with Web developer Jack Dorsey on creating the site. According to Sagolla, Dorsey was a talented artist and liked to sketch his ideas.

“We were very fond of artistic pursuits and I would encourage you all to sketch to your own ability. Just take a few minutes every day to engage through drawing,” he said.

"That’s what Jack [Dorsey] did in 2001 when he made a sketch called Status which has a logo, text field, one button, ability to find your friends and a small sidebar.”

This sketch was the starting point for the profile page Twitter users see when they log into the social networking site.

“All we did was take this idea and add a bit of style,” said Sagolla.

In using his own story of Twitter, Sagolla urged the audience to have passion for the next project they would be embarking on as it might be the one that could potentially change the world.

“Whatever project you build next or activity you are pursuing, choose something that you need to have in this world — that is what brought me here. I needed to tell the story and help people use Twitter because I could see a lot of confusion out there,” he said.

“It is a system of public record but also a way to connect two people instantly.”

Hamish Barwick travelled to Gartner Symposium on the Gold Coast as a guest of Good Technology

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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