The 10 Billionth (Or So) Tweet

According to the site Gigatweet, we are about an hour away from the 10 billionth tweet sent since the dawn of Twitter. More incredible, this milestone comes less than 5 months after the 5 billionth tweet.

The only problem? It’s not an exact science.

Gigatweet isn’t counting to an exact number, but rather is extrapolating out when the 10 billionth tweet will hit based on previous tweet data provided from a range of sources. Most recently, we do know that Twitter is seeing about 50 million tweets per day now, because the service released that information. Other than that, it’s kind of a crapshoot.

To determine when the 5 billionth tweet would happen, watchers were looking at the numbers appended on to the URL of each tweet when it’s sent. The same is true this time around. For example, this recent tweet has the number 9996229078 in the URL. So yes, it would seem that is tweet number 9,996,229,078, but the problem is that Twitter has altered these numbers several times over the years, notably to move up the so-called Twitpocalypse (both 1 and 2).

As Twitter employee Ryan King notes, “Though its more numerology than math, it still scares me that this is my job,” followed by a link to Gigatweet. What he means is that no, it’s not exactly right, but it’s kind of cool, and perhaps close enough.

An interesting side note: the guy who sent tweet number 5 billion, Robin Sloan, now works at Twitter. Who will be number 10 billion? We’ll know in about an hour.

Update: And here it is — but apparently, most of us can’t see it because that user has a protected stream. What a buzzkill.

Update 2: According to Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, the whole team was watching for the tweet on the “big board.”