Ah, 2008. Barack Obama was elected the first black President of the United States. The Large Hadron Collider was officially completed. And Twitter was a more wholesome, conflict-free online community of mundane life updates. At least, that’s what it seems like when you use a search function to see what everyone you are following today was tweeting 10 years ago.
Andy Baio, a technologist and the former CTO of Kickstarter, shared the search function on Twitter Thursday (note: if you’re on mobile, make sure to filter by “latest” for the timeline to work properly).
Immediately, people were shocked at how much simpler Twitter was a decade ago. Sure there were no memes, or threads…but there was also no outrage, no spats. It was weirdly…pleasant.
Baio told me via Twitter DM that he had wanted to figure out a way to get a list of all tweets out of Twitter search for a while. After marketer Andrea Lopez tweeted about a not-well-known search parameter, Baio finally figured it out:
“Then I realized I could reconstruct a complete timeline from any point in Twitter history of all the people you're following now,” Baio told me. “When I tried it myself, the results were charming and surreal. Ten years ago, we used Twitter very differently: very little news, no hot takes, mostly just status updates that would later be the kind of thing you post on Instagram.”
Considering what a dystopian hellscape Twitter tends to be these days, there’s something oddly comforting about remembering it in a simpler time.
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