2011 was the year Twitter truly came into its own — from being a key tool in the deposing of dictators, and essential to democracy’s “primal scream” — users of the social network shooting out bursts of 140 characters have made the service much more than anyone ever imagined it could be.
While the service has reached these heights, to its future investors, what has probably been most noteworthy has been how it has grown.
2011 saw it finally cracking the 100-million active users benchmark; and though the overwhelming majority of those new users have been your average Joe and Jane, the social network has also attracted more than its fair share of “big names”.
Here’s a quick look at some of these new big twits.
Still riding high from his 2009 smash hit film Avatar, 2011’s first big entry onto Twitter was Academy award winning director, James Cameron.
ryan seacrest told me I had to get on Twitter.So here I am.First tweet.I feel younger already.
— James Cameron (@JimCameron) January 28, 2011
Promising “personal observations”, February saw Matt Drudge of one of the web’s most successful aggregators, The Drudge Report, joining.
Thx for continued support coming up on 17 years now! I know tonite’s headlines are fright, but love can still be found everywhere, can’t it?
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) November 18, 2011
Following what is best described as a fabulous exit from the hit show, Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen joined Twitter breaking the record for gaining the most followers in the shortest period of time. His first tweet was an instant classic.
— Charlie Sheen (@charliesheen) March 1, 2011
Following a minor “name squatting” issue, the world revered figure for peace and reconciliation, Nelson Mandela — with tweets from his foundation — joined Twitter in April.
Welcome to the U.S. Secret Service official Twitter account. Follow us starting May 9, 2011.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) May 9, 2011
Democracy is flourishing in South Africa, thanks to the active participation of all citizens. It’s wonderful. Vote 18 May!
— Jacob G. Zuma (@SAPresident) May 10, 2011
Tweeting in both his native spanish and english, he of the “big booty” as Serena Williams put it, Rafael Nadal finally took to Twitter in July.
Hi all! I have Twitter profile! I am thrilled to have your support here! You’ll hear more from me Rafa
— Rafael Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 2, 2011
If you seek news from the big man himself, June saw the Pope — or most probably a younger priest at the Vatican tweeting as the Pope — joining Twitter. Tweeting mostly links on news about the Vatican, whether Papal Infallibility applies to Twitter is still to be seen.
What we can learn from the way Muslims pray … §RV rv.va/ln4T9H
— Vatican – news (@news_va_en) December 9, 2011
Perhaps having something to do with the “public brawl” they allegedly had outside a Hollywood nightclub, apologising to erstwhile friend and founder of Twitter’s main rival, Mark Zuckerberg, in his first tweet, Sean Parker joined Twitter in October.
Sorry Zuck, I had to do it eventually. (Actually @scooterbraun made me do it.)
— Sean Parker (@sparker) October 3, 2011
As cool as you’d expect him to be, Samuel L. Jackson has been entertaining his countless fans with his (foul-mouthed) rants about all and sundry on Twitter since October.
From one thankful muhfukkah to the resta yall, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) November 24, 2011
Wife of Microsoft founder, Bill Gates — also thought to be the person who got him interested in the charity business — Melinda Gates saw fit to “join the conversation” this year.
— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) September 21, 2011