March Issue 2010

By | Technology | Published 14 years ago

Twitter went through tremendous growth in 2009. World events like the Iranian election protests, swine flu and even the shocking death of Michael Jackson caused huge spikes in traffic and helped embed the Twitter name in the public consciousness. Twitter became a go-to source for information on breaking news, popular events and celebrity watching. In the case of Michael Jackson, at one point on the day of his death in June 2009, 25% of tweets were about his death.

But over the last few months, there has been chatter about Twitter flatlining. The growth is users in slowing, off from its peak of 13% month-to-month growth in March 2009.

New users are not anywhere near as active with Twitter as early adopters either. One report in the UK even concluded that the vast number of British Twitterers are silent, saying79% of time on the site comes from 7% of users.

Still, that doesn’t mean Twitter is a fad and is failing as was pointed out on by Ian Delaney:

There are at least a couple of reasons why newer users aren’t following or tweeting as much as older users, and neither of them are that Twitter is a fad or a failure. First, if you join Twitter now, it’s all rather odd and intimidating. Every other user is seemingly more popular and interesting than you are. There are no instructions about what to do — why would anyone be interested in what I’m doing right now? Even I’m not interested in that. Then a bunch of marketing bots will start following you. The people you know who are already on Twitter are following too many people already and, as nice as you are, don’t want more on their list.

Second, and more importantly, there’s more than one Twitter. Here are four:

– there’s the one where geeks swap links and chat;
– there’s the one where people make thinly veiled boasts about their professional success;
– there’s the one where marketers and publishers spurt content blips at people;
– there’s the one where you read celebrities’ micro-blogs.

So instead of looking at silent accounts and slowing user growth, Twitter the company wants marketers and businesses to focus on the growing number of tweets. Here are stats from the Twitter blog:

Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007. By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day–that’s an average of 600 tweets per second. (Yes, we have TPS reports.)

That entry was from February 22, 2010.

So Twitter is versatile and growing, no matter how you look at it. It is important to remember that Twitter has a growing number of users and its users are even more connected then they used to be. In January, HubSpotasked industry watchers and businesses to consider this:

â–ª Today the average Twitter account has 300 followers; in July, it had 70
â–ª The average account now follows 173 accounts; in July it was only following 47
â–ª The average account today has posted 420 updates; in July that number was 119

Yes, Twitter is nowhere near as popular as Facebook, but Twitter is also a totally different beast from FB.

The reports of Twitter’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

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New to Twitter? Check out the BBC’s Twitter newbie guide.

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