Today in 2006, Twitter launched.
Back then it was a bit of a novelty.
It didn’t even have any vowels in its name!
And the site that would end up having a huge effect on the real world as well as online space was a backup plan when the company’s original idea for a podcasting platform didn’t pan out.
Of course, today a lot of people would argue that this social media giant is profoundly broken, figuratively speaking.
But in the early years the platform was literally broken.
It crashed a lot.
Often you’d try to tweet and instead you’d see an image of a happy, sleepy whale being carried by a flock of orange birds.
Users nicknamed it the “fail whale,” but officially its name is “Lifting A Dreamer.”
The artist is Yiying Lu, who was born in Shanghai, China, educated in Australia and the UK and based today in San Francisco.
She had designed it for a birthday card; Twitter found it on a stock image site.
And while running into one of Twitter’s then-regular outages was frustrating, seeing the whale was a treat.
It has been 10 years since my art piece "Lifting a Dreamer" became the Twitter Fail Whale, a symbol as @Twitter's service outrage during 2008-2013. It has inspired hundreds, probably thousands, of funny, clever & amusing homages and take-offs from users globally. Here are a few: pic.twitter.com/o3I2n6IfAQ
— Yiying Lu 🐳 🥟 🧋 陆怡颖 (@YiyingLu) November 18, 2018
While the company stopped using the image in 2013, the fail whale has stayed busy.
People have made it into cakes, sculptures, t-shirts, tattoos, and more.
There’s even a beer called Fail Whale Pale Ale.
So for an image that was associated with something that didn’t work, the whale has done pretty well.
If you’re a fan of scuba diving or snorkeling, here’s a new high tech way to do it: the Geneinno S2 is a kind of undersea scooter.
It’s kind of like a motor with handlebars, and it’ll take users up to 98 feet below water, running 2.7 miles per hour for up to 45 minutes.
And it won’t get in the way of your GoPro if you’re going super high-tech down there.
Twitter launches (History.com)
An Underwater Sea Scooter for Exploring the Ocean (UrbanDaddy)