Twitter turns 7 on Thursday, and in some ways, it's like a lot of 7-year-olds.
The social-media platform can be bratty and combative. Its idea of a good conversation sometimes devolves into short bursts of shouting. It can have the attention span of a gnat, loving a shiny new plaything one day (ooh, Bronx Zoo's Cobra!) and then forsaking it for another without a second thought.
But it can also make you smile with the things it says. It can keep you more aware, and alert, than you've ever been before. And it can make you look at the world around you in a different way.
It's easy to take shots at the microblogging site, which debuted March 21, 2006, when founder Jack Dorsey typed the words "just setting up my twttr." (Creators had considered that abbreviated style for the company's name before settling on the full word.)
Anything with more than 200 million users who send out 400 million posts every day is going to have highs and lows. There are the silly trending hashtags, the badly spelled diatribes and, yes, as the cliched insult goes, even a few people who really do tweet about what they had for breakfast.
But Twitter has also been a crucial tool for revolutionaries in Iran, Egypt and elsewhere. It's been used to mobilize relief efforts and raise millions for charitable causes. It's become a national water cooler for chatter about big televised events such as the Oscars and the Super Bowl.
And while Twitter sometimes reveals the stupid side of celebrity culture, it's also brought fans closer to their favorite actors, musicians, writers and athletes than was ever possible before.
Twitter has, in fact, changed lives.
So, in honor of its 7th birthday, we look at both the upside and the downside of Twitter use through seven people whose lives were changed by the site.
If you don't know that Gilbert Gottfried sometimes tells inappropriate jokes, then you probably haven't heard of Gilbert Gottfried.
After all, this is the guy who once performed the nearly impossible task of offending the crowd at a Friar's Club roast with a joke soon after 9/11.
So, when a tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Gottfried did what he does: make jokes about it. This time on Twitter.
"I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said 'is there a school in this area?' She said 'not now, but just wait,' " went one.
About an hour later, the comedian had lost his high-profile job as the grating voice of the Aflac duck.
In an opinion piece for CNN last year (about another comedy controversy, no less), Gottfried wrote that it's a comedian's job to push boundaries and that Aflac shouldn't have been surprised at the tweets.
"I've been telling jokes like this for a very long time, so the reaction surprised me," he wrote. "It's like eating Corn Flakes every day for years, and then one day you eat Corn Flakes and all hell breaks loose."
Oxford was a suburban mom from Alberta, Canada, who took to Twitter as an outlet for her wry observations on life.
More than 450,000 followers later, she can add author and screenwriter to her credits.
Her sardonic humor, with topics ranging from family life ("How do you get a red wine stain off a baby?") to random observations ("That ninja guy in the Black Eyed Peas has probably killed 64 people, right?"), gained her a following that includes Hollywood stars and other notables like talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel (now a friend) and film critic Roger Ebert.
Now she's sold her first screenplay, "Son of a Bitch," to Warner Bros.; her book of essays, "Everything's Perfect When You're a Liar," is set to be released next month; and she's been hired to write a TV pilot.
His dad says funny stuff. Or, more accurately, funny s---. (Sorry, that's as close as we can get).
So he created the Twitter account "S--- My Dad Says" in 2009 to share it with the world.