Twitter, which launched in August 2006, was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
Dorsey came up with the idea of Twitter because he wanted to find a better way to stay connected to friends. The software engineer, who is in his early 30s, grew up in St Louis, Missouri, and studied at New York University, where he had a part time job designing dispatching software for taxi companies.
He abandoned his studies to move to California, the cradle of technology start-ups, and approached a small company, Odeo, where Biz Stone worked, with the idea of a communication service that helped friends keep in touch through status updates. Together, the pair made a working protoype of Twitter, and as chief executive of the new microblogging company, Dorsey was responsible for seeking investment and funding from venture capitalists.
Dorsey became chairman of the board in October 2008, and turned his attentions to improving Twitter's scalability and reducing downtime, with some success. Dorsey has hinted that next year could be the year when Twitter unveils a robust business model, and ways of generating revenue.
Jack Dorsey's most recent Twitter update reads: "Taking delivery of a big work table".
Williams hails from Nebraska. The 36-year-old entrepeneur has founded several successful technology start-ups, including Pyra Labs, which designed the Blogger blogging platform that boasts millions of users and was acquired by Google in 2003 for an undisclosed sum. He left Google in 2004 to co-found Odeo, an RSS syndication service and podcast-creation site, with Noah Glass.
By 2006, Williams had joined forces with colleagues Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey and several other Odeo veterans to form Obvious Corp, the enterprise from which Twitter was eventually born. Williams has been named one of the 25 most influential people on the web by Time magazine. He is currently Twitter's CEO, and lives in San Francisco with his wife and cat.
Evan Williams' most recent Twitter update reads: "Though I didn't get that excited when reviewing it at TC50, we're now using @dropbox at Twitter, and it's pretty great".
Biz Stone is a serial Silicon Valley entrepeneur, having had a hand in a range of tech start-ups, including Xanga and Odeo, where he helped to develop Twitter alongside Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey. He remains creative director of Twitter, and has published two books about the growth of social media. He says that Twitter really took off at the SXSW music festival in August 2006, when festival-goers used the platform to discuss acts, plan meet-ups and generally get in touch with fellow music and technology fans at the event.
Biz Stone's most recent Twitter update reads: "Having a hummus wrap at Heathrow".