Twitter exec, Nebraska native Evan Williams at UNL April 10

Released on 04/02/2009, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Friday, Apr. 10, 2009

Lincoln, Neb., April 2nd, 2009 —
Evan Williams (color JPEG)
Evan Williams (color JPEG)

Evan Williams, the founder and chief executive of Twitter, will be at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln April 10 for a series of student events. The events will include question-and-answer sessions with students in the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management and the College of Journalism and Mass Communications that will be streamed for the public on the Internet.

Twitter is a growing social networking and micro-blogging service that enables Internet users to send and read other users' 140-character updates known as tweets. Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Currently as many as 5 million users are using Twitter, making it the third most popular social media application.

Plans for Williams' visit to UNL include lunch with representatives of the Raikes School and the University of Nebraska Foundation, followed by a broader discussion with Raikes School and several College of Business Administration students, availability with media, followed by a meeting with College of Journalism and Mass Communications students and an interview for the Campus Voices radio program. These sessions are not open to the public.

Interested Web users can watch Williams' session at the Raikes School live on the Web from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at http://raikes.unl.edu, and at the Journalism college from 3 to 4 p.m. at http://newsnetnebraska.org.

Williams grew up on a farm outside Clarks and moved to Columbus during his senior year of high school, graduating from Columbus High School in 1990. He entered UNL that fall, where he joined Farmhouse fraternity. He was enrolled at UNL through his sophomore year. He returned to Nebraska in 1993 and started his first Internet company in Lincoln in 1994. He co-founded Pyra Labs to make project management software. A note-taking feature spun off as Blogger, one of the first Web applications for creating and managing blogs.

Pyra was eventually acquired by Google and Williams left Google in October 2004 to co-found Odeo. In late 2006, he co-founded Obvious Corp. with Biz Stone and other former Odeo employees. Obvious has acquired all previous properties of Odeo, including Odeo and Twitter, another project started by Williams.

BusinessWeek magazine in 2008 named Williams one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web, saying: "Williams has a knack for figuring out how people want to keep in touch -- even before they seem to know it themselves. In 1999 he launched Blogger, a service that allows people to post their every thought online. That turned anyone with a computer into a global publisher. After selling Blogger to Google, Williams created a podcasting startup named Odeo that didn't take off. But in the meantime, Jack Dorsey, an employee at Williams' company, came up with Twitter. Twitter has popularized microblogging, the streams of short posts people write to groups of friends. During the past two years, the popularity of Twitter has exploded, as people turn to new ways to stay in touch."