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Summary:

Yesterday we heard from Harvard Business School researchers that only 10 percent of Twitter users are generating almost 90 percent of the content. Today, HubSpot, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup, has released a study that not only backs up the findings of the HBS report, but also […]

Yesterday we heard from Harvard Business School researchers that only 10 percent of Twitter users are generating almost 90 percent of the content. Today, HubSpot, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup, has released a study that not only backs up the findings of the HBS report, but also offers more granular information about the Twittersphere.

The company crunched the data from more than 4.5 million Twitter accounts over a 9-month period to get a better sense of Twitter growth and report statistics on tweets and the Twitter user base, including user geography. The report, entitled June 2009 State of the Twittersphere, has some astounding findings. Here are some of the key ones: twitterusergrowth.gif

  • 55.5 percent of Twitter users are not following anyone.
  • 52.7 percent of Twitter users have no followers.
  • 54.9 percent have never tweeted.
  • 45.12 have tweeted at least once.
  • Over 9 percent of Twitter users are inactive.

In sharp contrast to Facebook, where people tend to share too much personal information, Twitter lacks personal user data.

  • Only 24.14 percent of users have a bio in their profile.
  • Only 31.32 percent have a location in their profile.
  • 20.21 percent of users have a home page URL in their profile.

The good news for Twitter is that people who like Twitter love using the service. For instance, an average Twitter user tweets at least once — actually 0.97 times — a day and thus far has tweeted about 119.34 times total. Well clearly in this one aspect, I am above average. Surprisingly, only 1.44 percent of tweets are re-tweets. That is a much lower number than I thought it would be.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter usage is the highest during the business hours. After all, who wants to work when you can tweet about it?

tweetsduringtheday.gif

  1. While these numbers are fun to look at, they do have a more serious purpose for the founders as they try to monetize or even simply assign a value to Twitter. When more than half the users haven’t followed anyone or sent a tweet, can the company really be valued at over half-a-billion?

    Adam
    http://www.twitterbacklash.com

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    1. No, it can’t be valued at such a high amount. Especially if next month’s traffic stats look worse.

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    2. No, it can’t be valued at $500 million. Especially if next month’s visitor stats look worse than May’s.

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  2. I said it yesterday but my comments were pruned. Hope this time it goes through. 90% of 10% active twitting is just from bloggers who tweet for every new blog or from spammers. Twitter is made and run by bloggers. It does not have substance. Rejecting $500m deal from facebook was a big mistake. They will realize it within next 6 months to 1 year.

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    1. I love that your comment, “Twitter is made and run by bloggers. It does not have substance”, is on a blog.

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      1. That was the reason probably that my comment yesterday didn’t go through. But today Om is probably in a different mood and allowed it:)

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  3. 45.12%? That’s rather precise. What’s the margin of error?

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  4. Can someone explain how 9% are inactive (defined as “< 10 followers, friends and updates") but 55.5% do not follow anyone? If 9% are inactive then that means 90% are active (define as "more than 10 followers, friends, updates".) My stats are rusty.

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    1. I was befuddled by that one at first too. I think the inactive number represents people who were once actively tweeting but have now gone dormant for some period of time.

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      1. Ah, good observation. There inactive/active score should have a time period attached e.g. 10 updates in last month. Not just 10 updates in all time.

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  5. I keep reading this story or variations of it on various sites. I can’t help but think about my own experience on Twitter. Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but the main reason why I’ve dropped off Twitter is that I got tired of never actually having a conversation with anyone. Let me clarify: I would initiate a conversation with another user only to never get any reply (DM or public) and I am talking about people I know IRL or even ones I don’t. Then, with something like the NYT or similar entities, they don’t really appear to be using Twitter for conversation and instead use it as a way to broadcast information. What is the point of the two-way aspect of the service if you are intending to use Twitter only to broadcast information and never converse (one-way)? Why don’t you just stick to RSS? Why are you following me if you aren’t going to talk to me when I try and talk to you (this makes me feel like some sort of research subject)? If I seemingly can’t engage in a conversation, why would I stick around? People say that Twitter-haters just don’t get it. I don’t hate Twitter and I’ve seen some great things come from Twitter, but for someone like me, the average user (you know, the 90%), I still don’t get it.

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    1. I think you are correct. It appears that Twitter is more of a broadcast medium than a communication medium. This is because most of Twitter active users are interested in other people getting their message, rather than conversing with them, especially when they don’t know them. This is different from Facebook, where people are active within a circle of friends and know each other. As well, the Following issue is not very clear. Practically it is not possible for someone to follow even 500 people. If each of these people tweets one message a day it means that you receive, and need to read, 500 messages a day. So people follow many other people just that the other people will follow them. What Twitter did is open the way for a new way of communication and now there is a need to put more substance into the communication to make it useful for the average user.

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  6. twits twitter. the rest of us work for a living.

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  7. Ironic perhaps, but not surprising. The adoption of twitter and its amazing spread, imvho, was largely due to the nature of the people who have a natural or professional interest in being on the cutting edge of news as it spreads, both as a consumer and a producer. Twitter points you where the action is. These numbers are likely to continue to diverge in the short to medium term.

    Its like beer – a relatively small percentage of beer drinkers account for a major share of consumption. For twitter, i might substitute production for consumption.

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  8. Twitter has been the most over hyped startup in recent years. It’s growth can be attributed to this hype and rejecting $500m was very foolish. This is not to say that Twitter won’t be worth $500m one day, but it’s probably still 3-4 years away from attaining that. Tackle on another 5-6 years before it’s worth one billion. There are of course no guarantees on its future value, but those $500m certainly were.

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  9. “..State of the Twittersphere points out that people may not be using Twitter to its full potential. If new users aren’t really engaged, should it really be considered growth?..”

    I feel there is a large gap between what twitter is and how twitter is used. Twitter homepage gives a perception of it being a status application, some users are using it for pure marketing. People come to me all the time and ask me what do I do on twitter. A bunch of my friend opened accounts but then got discouraged as they didn’t exactly know what to do. I feel Twitter invented a new way of communication which will be used in different ways.

    P.Arora
    http://www.omture.com
    http://www.twitter.com/parora

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  10. In regard to:
    * Only 24.14 percent of users have a bio in their profile.
    * Only 31.32 percent have a location in their profile.
    * 20.21 percent of users have a home page URL in their profile.

    Those numbers probably correlate pretty closely with the number of twitter “users” that are actually brands pushing their social media image.

    Brands who tweet are not covered in this article and have greater incentive to be more active. Of the ~10% of total users who are active, I wonder how much of that pie is made of up of glorified advertising.

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    1. I have to say i agree, twitter is not like facebook, or myspace or anything like that, its more on the advertising side of things, well thats the way that a lot of people are taking it i think. Sure they say that <10% of users are inactive, as for for me, i would be classified as inactive as i have less than 10 followers, less than 10 updates and so on, but i use twitter everyday. Maybe i am classified as inactive as i am not as popular as say Lance Armstrong who has followers in the 6 figure range. I don't stand out from the crowd so how am i meant to be an 'Active' twitter user if there is nobody to follow me? I simply use twitter to follow people of interest, its not really for me its simply for me to follow somebody else.

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