It’s a fun fact!
It all started with this online app that tells us when we joined Twitter. WhenDidYouJoinTwitter.com. Someone “tweeted” about it, I visited the link and the app told me I had joined Twitter on 13 July 2006. I then shared that information on Twitter. Subsequently someone mentioned I might be the first Indian on the platform.
I didn’t think much about it then – because it was simply a probability and I had no way of determining that as a factual data point.
Soon enough, the Tweeple.in website was collating data on Twitter users from India and it too showed me as the first Indian on the platform. [ The website doesn’t seem to be in existence anymore and there seems to be no information on the Wayback Machine or Google Cache. Unfortunately, I don’t have a screenshot either. ]
2006 was when I quit my “MBA job” and started working on asidebrands. I was actively networking for business using online platforms like LinkedIn and received multiple recommendations and client assignments.
It was from one of those connections, that I received an email informing me about this new thing called “twttr” that I must sign up for. Since I have always been keen to try out new technology and online platforms – and Orkut really wasn’t my thing – I signed up for “twttr”. [ Despite much digging through archived email from the year 2006, I am unable to locate the email that invited me to sign up – I recall it was from a person as opposed to an automated invite and their name started with a J. Maybe it was @jeremy but I have no way of knowing. It could’ve been @jack too. ]
I recall that when I signed up, all I could see were updates from people in Palo Alto / Silicon Valley / California and most of the updates were “Let’s go have coffee dude!”
I could be wrong but I recall posting something about Bombay weather. Since I couldn’t possibly have coffee with someone in the States and I couldn’t find anyone else from India, I didn’t log back on till 2008 when suddenly, the entire Indian blogosphere was buzzing with this cool new thing called Twitter. [ I vaguely remembered signing up for it. Fortunately the Forgot Password link worked. I logged back on. ] This time, I found lots of company for coffee and “Tweetups” were the cool new thing.
I downloaded my Twitter Archive recently but the first tweet it shows from my account is from 2008 – I’m guessing Twitter wasn’t archiving updates in 2006. Pity.
I have been posting updates aka “tweeting” regularly since 2008. I’ve had a few bouts of “I need to quit Twitter” but I have not managed to follow-through and I am happy about that. I get to learn so much from the people I follow and from those who follow me. Real-time updates from any corner of the world, earthquakes, weddings, brand launches, observing competitors, daily inspiration…
Twitter is an integral part of my life – personally and professionally.
Press & News
Based on the Tweeple.in website and other superficial research, I got various interview offers from publications who were doing stories on Twitter. One of my favorites is this Social Samosa article. [ Note that it mentions me as the first Indian Twitter user – which was, at that time, determined to be true mainly because no one came forward to claim otherwise and Tweeple.in showed me as the first. ]
As is the nature of Twitter, I was often “accused” of using the “First Indian on Twitter” data point as a shameless self-promotion tool – all I’d done was include it on my Twitter bio. After much wasted time trying to explain what it was, I finally removed that tidbit of information from the bio and decided that since no one else was going to do any research to find out who really is the first Indian on Twitter – I might as well get down to it.
I was able to locate one seemingly Indian name who had signed up before I did. [ It was an arduous process of manually entering Tweet numbers and going back in descending order – I must have manually looked through at least 5,000 individual tweets till I got to the famous first tweet sent out by @jack ]
Now if Twitter will kindly give me a “Verified” checkmark for the above data point.
[ I know many must be thinking, “Huh. First Indian Woman on Twitter?! Who cares?!” Good. At least we have a conversation starter. Stop being jealous! The next time someone asks me about this subject, I will simply point them to this article. ]
UPDATE : New link possibly adding to the validity of my claim above : See this link on Medium and don’t miss the comments. It’s an archive of the first 140 people who signed up to Twitter.