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Twitter hits 5 billion tweets

Despite Twitter's recent explosion of mainstream and celebrity use, the landmark tweet appears to have come from one of the dot-com nerds who pioneered the service.

Former Current Media executive Robin Sloan appears to have posted Twitter's 5 billionth tweet, in the form of a reply to another user that otherwise read only "Oh lord."

A third-party app called Gigatweet has been measuring the service's total tweet count for some time now, and last week some onlookers picked up on the fact that it was getting awfully close to five billion. That said, Twitter's engineers have bumped up this number at least once or twice, and who knows how many test tweets were sent out in the company's early days.

But Sloan's tweet, which he has nicknamed "The Pentagigatweet," does get at least some landmark status because it actually has the number 5,000,000,000 in the URL. That's because the number at the end of a tweet's URL is apparently the running count of tweets that have been posted until that point. We've e-mailed Twitter co-founder Biz Stone for more information and will update if and when we hear back.

The guy who posted Twitter's 5 billionth tweet. Robin Sloan's Facebook profile

It's sort of fitting that Twitter's 5 billionth tweet came not from one of the celebrities or marketers who have flooded the service in recent months, but from one of the quirky Bay Area dot-com nerds who formed its first loyal pack of users.

Sloan, who lives in San Francisco, recently departed his gig at Current--which is headquartered only a few blocks away from Twitter's own home base in the South of Market neighborhood--to write a still unnamed novel" that he is funding through creative-microfinance site Kickstarter.

He may have just gotten a convenient leg up in publicity.

Meanwhile, some third-party observers have been remarking that Twitter's rapid growth may be slowing down. The company recently raised another round of funding at a valuation somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion.

This post was expanded at 10:20 p.m PDT.

Correction at 2:25 p.m. PDT Tuesday: This post initially referenced an incorrect title for the novel Sloan is working on. The novel is still unnamed.