The History Of Social Data In One Beautiful Timeline

As a company that’s constantly innovating and driving forward, it’s sometimes easy to forget everything that’s led us to where we are today. When Gnip was founded 6 years ago, social data was in its infancy. Twitter produced only 300,000 Tweets per day; social data APIs were either non-existent or unreliable; and nobody had any idea what a selfie was.

Today social data analytics drives decisions in every industry you can imagine, from consumer brands to finance to the public sector to industrial goods. From then to now, there have been dozens of milestones that have helped create the social data industry and we thought it would be fun to highlight and detail all of them in one place.


The story begins humbly in Boulder, Colorado with the concept of changing the way data was gathered from public APIs of social networks. Normally, one would ‘ping’ the API and ask for data, Gnip wanted to reverse that structure (hence our name). In these early days, we focused on simplifying access to existing public APIs but our customers constantly asked us how they could get more and better access to social data. In November of 2010, we were finally able to better meet their needs when we partnered with Twitter to provide access to full Firehose of public Tweets, the first partnership of its kind.

This is when Gnip started to build the tools that have shaped the social data industry. While getting a Firehose of Tweets was great for the industry, the reality was our customers didn’t need 100% of all Tweets, they needed 100% of relevant Tweets. We created PowerTrack to enable sophisticated filtering on the full Firehose of Tweets and solve that problem. We also built valuable enrichments, reliability products, and historical data access to create the most robust Twitter data access available.

While Twitter data was where the industry started, our customers wanted data from other social networks as well. We soon created partnerships with Klout, StockTwits, WordPress, Disqus, Tumblr, Foursquare and others to be the first to bring their data to the market. Our work didn’t end there though. We have been continually adding in new sources, new enrichments, and new products. We also launched the first conference dedicated to social data as well as the first industry organization for social data. Things have come a long way in 6 years and we can’t wait to see the developments in the next 6 years.

Check out our interactive timeline for the full list of milestones and details.


Gnip’s 2013 Highlight Reel

Gnip 2013 Holiday Card

At the end of last year, we reflected upon the year’s happenings, and wanted to do a similar recap of Gnip’s 2013.

Three years ago, Gnip partnered with Twitter to license their data. Since then, social data has continued on its incredible ride. This year marked both Twitter’s successful IPO and Tumblr’s acquisition by Yahoo. This past year has been a great year for social data and Gnip, but we’re even more excited for what’s ahead in 2014!


Gnip interviews Harper Reed, the former CTO of Obama for America.


Time Magazine writes about Gnip’s work with The Library of Congress to make all public Tweets part of their archive.


Gnip takes Big Boulder to Austin with Big Boulder Bourbon & Boots and Derek Gottfrid from Tumblr speaks.


Gnip launches 6 new data collectors — Instagram, Reddit, bitly, Stack Overflow, Panaramio, and Plurk.

Gnip launches a new firehose, Estimize, a crowdsourced earnings estimates platform.


Gnip becomes the first and exclusive provider of anonymized Foursquare data.


Gnip holds the second annual Big Boulder, the world’s first conference dedicated to social data. More than 200 people attended the 16 sessions with speakers from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more. The Big Boulder Initiative launches as a collaborative industry group to discuss the challenges and obstacles facing social data.

Chris Moody Becomes CEO of Gnip

Gnip and MapBox collaborate to create three Twitter visualizations showing where locals vs tourists hangout, languages on Twitter and mobile device usage.


Gnip becomes the provider of GetGlue social data


Gnip is named a top 10 Place to work in the country by Outside Magazine

Gnip becomes exclusive provider of Klout Topics

Gnip launches its Profile Geo Enrichment, which significantly increases the amount of geo data available from Twitter.


Gnip Introduces Backfill, which simplifies and automates the process of collecting data that would otherwise be missed during brief disconnects.

Gnip launches the Search API for Twitter making it easy for Gnip customers to incorporate search into their products.


Gnip names Hottolink exclusive sales agent in Japan

Gnip works alongside Automattic to launch Automattic’s Certified Partner Program. Networked Insights and mBlast are the first companies to be certified.


Gnip interviews more than 25 people for its Data Stories project showing how people use social data in epidemiology, natural disasters, politics, product development and much more.

Gnip launches Gnip for Blogs, the only way to get Tumblr, WordPress and Disqus data in one easy-to-consume package.


Gnip’s partner program, Plugged In, turned one. In the first year, Plugged In added 23 companies, featured partners in 9 Gnip blog posts, wrote 4 partner whitepapers (FirstRain, mBLAST, TrendyBuzz, Clarabridge), held 3 partner webinars (SMA, Infomart/Infochimps, mBLAST), produced 2 partner videos (Union Metrics, Pivotal), and co-presented at 2 conferences! Phew.

The Big Boulder Initiative takes a big step forward with workshops in four different cities to discuss the future of social data.

And yesterday, Gnip published its 100th blog post for the year.


100 Billion Social Data Activities Delivered Each Month

Gnip has hit another big milestone — we’re now delivering 100 billion social data activities each month. In comparison, we were delivering 30 billion social data activities back in November. We’ve more than tripled the data delivered in a handful of short months.

What is the cause for all of this growth? Three reasons:

  1. Enterprise providers continue to rapidly adopt social data into their offerings. As such, our growth rate for new customers continues to accelerate.
  2. Companies are expanding their insight and analysis offerings over a broader spectrum of social conversation. We’ve added three premium full firehoses of data this year including Tumblr, WordPress and Disqus, as well as other sought after data sources such as Sina Weibo.
  3. The number of supported use cases for social data continues to expand beyond traditional brand monitoring. We see the use cases for social data evolving all of the time and have seen a substantial uptick in social data being used in finance and business intelligence specifically.

If you’re interested in working at a company with Big Software, Big Jobs and Big Impact, contact And if you want to talk about how your company can use social data, contact