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Happy birthday, Twitter.

The social media company that made its mark by encouraging brevity — limiting users to 140 characters — turns eight years old on Friday. While its micro-blogging function remains largely the same, its user base has grown tremendously.

MORE: How to find your first tweet

About 500 million tweets are sent a day by more than 241 million monthly active users, according to Twitter. Here are eight memorable moments in Twitter's life:

1. SXSW

Even though the company launched nine months prior, Twitter's popularity took off at the 2007 South By Southwest conference. Live tweets about events were displayed on large screens in the hallways and daily usage of the service expanded wildly.

2. James Buck's release

University of California student James Buck was arrested on April 10, 2008, by authorities while photographing an anti-government protest in Mahalla, Egypt. He then sent a tweet with one word: "Arrested."

His Twitter followers in the U.S. contacted the media, the university and the American embassy, which in turn pressured for his release. Authorities let him go the next day.

3. Miracle on the Hudson

US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese when leaving New York City on Jan. 15, 2009. The engine lost power and Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger successfully landed the plane on the Hudson River.

Twitter user Janis Krums, @jkrums, was on a ferry that day. He took a picture of the partially submerged plane and sent it out on Twitter. Moments later the photo, which is now copyrighted, went viral.

This January, on the fifth anniversary of the event, Krums retweeted his now-iconic photo.

4. Osama bin Laden raid

IT consultant Sohaib Athar inadvertantly tweeted the raid of Osama bin Laden's compound in Aboottabad, Pakistan. Athar heard a helicopter in the early morning hours and sent out an innocuous tweet. "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," he wrote.

He tweeted for the next few hours about what he saw and heard. After reports came out saying bin Laden had been killed, Athar tweeted, "Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it."

5. President Obama's re-election

President Obama broke the then-record for the most retweets on Nov. 6, 2012, when he sent out a photo of him hugging Michelle Obama with the words, "Four more years." It was retweeted more than 800,000 times and sent to more than 200 countries, according to Twitter.

6. First tweet from the Vatican

The Vatican set up a Twitter account for former Pope Benedict XVI and solicited questions from the public with the hashtag #AskPontifex. On Dec. 12, 2012, the pope responded. He first posted, "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart." The tweet has since been removed and Pope Francis is now using the account to reach digital audiences.

7. Super Bowl XLVII blackout

The advertising capabilities of Twitter became even clearer during a power outage at the 2013 Super Bowl.

While fans waited for more than 30 minutes for the lights to come back on, marketers got to work.

Within minutes, Oreo sent out a tweet that capitalized on the situation. "Power out? No problem," the tweet read. "You can still dunk in the dark."

8. Ellen's Oscar selfie

At the 2014 Oscars, host Ellen Degeneres broke the record for most retweets with a celebrity-filled selfie. She crammed as many A-list stars as possible into the frame and actor Bradley Cooper took the picture. It now reigns as the most retweeted photo ever, more than tripling Obama's record.

Follow @lagrisham on Twitter

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