In the year leading up to this talk, the web tool Twitter exploded in size (up 10x during 2008 alone). Co-founder Evan Williams reveals that many of the ideas driving that growth came from unexpected uses invented by the users themselves.
Evan Williams is the co-founder of Twitter, the addictive messaging service that connects the world 140 characters at a time.
It is by sharing these moments as they're happening that lets people feel more connected and in touch, despite distance, and in real time. This was the primary use we saw for Twitter from the beginning, and what got us excited.
One of the many ways that users shaped the evolution of Twitter was by inventing a way to reply to a specific person or a specific message. So, this syntax, the "@username" that Shaquille O'Neal's using here to reply to one of his fans, was completely invented by users, and we didn't build it into the system until it already became popular and then we made it easier. This is one of the many ways that users have shaped the system.