Twitter has announced - in a tweet - that it will list on the stock market in one of the biggest public offerings since Facebook's earlier this year. 

"We've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale," the company said, moments latter adding: "Now, back to work."

Twitter has become one of the fastest-growing and most influential social media services, and is estimated by the Wall Street Journal to be worth some $10bn. While those with the largest followings are pop singers such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, it has been credited with playing a role in world-changing events such as the Arab Spring.

The company said earlier this year it had more than 200m active users - an estimate regarded as conservative by analysts - and is expected to earn $583m in advertising revenue this year and nearly $1bn next year, according to industry tracker eMarketer.


The company was started by Jack Dorsey, who proposed the idea for Twitter while working with Biz Stone and Evan Williams at podcasting company Odeo. 

Asked by AFP in March 2011 why Twitter is such a hit, Stone replied: "A big part is that it is just very simple and connects people to other people they would not otherwise be connected to."

According to the analytics site Dashburst, at least 170 billion tweets have been posted since the company's launch in 2006, with users spending an average of 170 minutes on the site each month.

Some of the concerns over social media companies going public have faded with Facebook, which was valued at $16bn before its listing. Its shares debuted at $38 last year, and languished for months before recovering.

Facebook hit a record above $45 this week, and closed on Thursday at $44.75.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies