Happy birthday to Twitter, the social media platform that has spent ten years informing us, entertaining us and leaving us swearing at it when our messages come out to more than 140 characters. On March 21, 2006 Jack Dorsey tweeted “Just setting up my twttr,” and a decade later more than 300 million people have done the same.
Of course, part of the fun of being on Twitter is following the famous folks constantly vying for our re-tweets. With that in mind, let’s engage in the 21st-century equivalent of pulling out a high school yearbook: Looking back on the often embarrassing first tweets of the rich and famous.
2016 Numbers: 42.1 million followers, 21.2 thousand tweets.
Date of first tweet: March 21, 2009
Takeaway: “Hey guys it’s Kim Kardashian! I finally signed up for Twitter!” tweeted the future queen of social media. “There are a few fakes so just know this is the real me!!!” Kim seemed to grasp the concept right away — speaking informally and punctuating everything with multiple exclamations. In many ways, this was the tweet heard ’round the world.
Kim was also quickly introduced to the dark side of Twitter, as the first person who replied to her very first tweet accused her of having butt implants. The third person to respond to her wasn’t much nicer, tweeting back: “LMFAO! You’re stupid. You’re verified so we know its the real you.”
2016 Numbers: 17.5 million followers, 9 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: Jan. 15, 2009
Takeaway: “Dropping my first tweet,” wrote the media-savvy celeb who would someday play Steve Jobs. Was the term “dropping” still considered cool in 2009? Was it ever? Regardless, Ashton got his point across clearly, consistently — and a bit metaphysically, since his first tweet was about his first tweet.
2016 Numbers: 77.5 million followers, 30.7 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: May 11, 2009
Takeaway: Considering that he’s the youngest person on this list, it’s pretty funny that Bieber’s first tweet featured a MySpace shout-out that made him sound like your grandpa. “Check out my single ‘ONE TIME’ on my myspace and spread the word for me. Thanks.” Thirty-thousand tweets later, Biebs has stopped giving shout-outs to his MySpace — which is a good thing, because that page currently looks like the Internet equivalent of a pay phone.
2016 Numbers: 31.9 million followers, 11 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: April 17, 2009
Takeaway: On television, Oprah spent decades crafting a warm, BFF personality. So, when she joined Twitter, why did she start screaming at everyone? “HI TWITTERS . THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY.” Oprah, why are you so angry at us? Luckily, at some point during her Twitter usage, an assistant (or maybe Stedman) seems to have shown her how to turn off caps-lock.
2016 Numbers: 19.5 million followers, 50.4 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: April 18, 2009
Takeaway: It may have been six years before she started posting sparkly butt shots for all the world to see, but Khloe created an “adults only” atmosphere right out of the gate. “I finally joined twitter! What’s up bitches!!!!” Like all Kardashians, Khloe took to the medium like a duck to dirty pond water — when in doubt, profanity is always a great way to get everyone’s attention.
2016 Numbers: 84.8 million followers, 7 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: Feb. 20, 2009
Takeaway: Like so many celebrities, the “I Kissed a Girl” singer loves updating everyone on her international travel — and places far less importance on good grammar and … you know … cohesive thoughts. “Just got into Berlin… feeling better thank you, have my vicks inhaler by my bedside… and P.S. I TWITTTTER! GAH. Such a follower!” she tweeted in 2009.
2016 Numbers: 35.1 million followers, 8,400 tweets
Date of first tweet: November 6, 2009
Takeaway: JLo took a different approach with her first tweet, directing it at others. Based on the context, it seems like she may have had a conversation with Kim Kardashian and Ryan Seacrest, and the famous friends sold her on the benefits of social media. “@KimKardashian @RyanSeacrest U got me curious.Rehearsing 4 AMAs, in the studio and shooting a movie! I’ll do my best with this twitter thing.”
2016 Numbers: 1.55 million followers, 44.4 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: Sept. 16, 2009
Takeaway: Bubba Watson is a golfer, and quite possibly the least famous person on this list, with “only” a million-and-a-half followers. But his first tweet is noteworthy, if only because it plays off the old cliche that people on Twitter are always posting inane messages about food. “i am eating my pb&j right now!” Watson reports with an exclamation point. The best part is, if you gave a 5-year-old his own Twitter account, you’d likely get the same tweet.
2016 Numbers: 20.4 million followers, 742 tweets
Date of first tweet: May 17, 2013
Takeaway: Arguably the most controversial Twitter user of all time, Kanye began by doing what he does best: Sell something. “NEW SONG AND VISUAL FROM MY NEW ALBUM BEING PROJECTED TONIGHT ACROSS THE GLOBE ON 66 BUILDINGS,” he tweeted, linking to a page that provided locations for the event. Employing the Oprah method of USING ALL CAPS SCREAMING TO STAND OUT, Kanye seems to have quickly discovered that lower-case letters can be just as effective.
Kanye also seems to have transformed his approach over the years. What was once a marketing tool, he now sees as a canvas. “My tweets are a form of contemporary art,” he tweeted recently. “Only compromised by people trying to tell me what to tweet and not to tweet.”
2016 Numbers: 2.59 million followers, 24.6 thousand tweets
Date of first tweet: May 1, 2010
Takeaway: Ultimately, the most successful celebrity Twitter users figured out how to use the social media platform as a daily extension of their brand. Which is why, from the very first tweet, comedian Patton Oswalt was on point. With tongue firmly in cheek, he tweeted: “I hope the 17 fans on my Geocities page follow me here.”