Recently a couple of studies all about Twitter usage were released. This is great news to all of us working in the social media field who previously had mostly case studies and empirical experience to guide organizations in best practices for Twitter. Twitter was founded in 2006, making it one of the youngest social networks. But, what is Twitter, you ask? From Wikipedia:
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). [...] Estimates of the number of daily users vary as the company does not release the number of active accounts. In November 2008, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research estimated that Twitter had 4-5 million users. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranks Twitter as the third most used social network (Facebook being the largest, followed by MySpace), which puts the number of unique monthly visitors at roughly 6 million and the number of monthly visits at 55 million. In March 2009, a Nielsen.com blog ranked Twitter as the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for February 2009.
But who's using Twitter and what's the behavior pattern. I recommend taking a look at the State of the Twittersphere from HubSpot. Inspired by Technorati.com's State of the Blogosphere report (also highly recommended), HubSpot used Twitter Grader to compile its data. Here's a few interesting facts from the report:
- 70% of Twitter users joined in 2008
- 20% of Twitter users have joined in the past 60 days
- The average user has been on Twitter 275 days
So it is pretty much all newbies, and mainstream adoption is just getting started.
- The most popular days of the week to Tweet are Wednesday and Thursday
- An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 new accounts are registered each day.
- Only 5% of all Twitter users have more than 250 followers.
- Only 0.8% have more than 1,000
- 22% have five or fewer followers
- Another 24% (the largest group) have between 11 and 25 followers
And here's a slideshow summary:
We also recommend taking a look at the excellent new Pew Internet Report to inform your online social media outreach and stay current with the trends: "Twitter and Status Updating." It's interesting to note that bloggers use Twitter at over twice the rate as the overall Internet population (27%) and journalists we can all see are following their lead. Here's a snippet from the report summary:
As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.
Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older Internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter.
The use of Twitter is highly intertwined with the use of other social media; both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood than an individual also uses Twitter. Twitter users and status updaters are also a mobile bunch; as a group they are much more likely to be using wireless technologies--laptops, handhelds and cell phones--for Internet access, or cell phones for text messaging.
Cheryl Contee is a partner and co-founder of the social media consultancy Fission Strategy where she specializes in online advocacy, engagement, and communications. Prior to launching Fission Strategy, Cheryl was Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard San Francisco where she acted as lead digital strategist for the West Coast, helping clients manage their brands and online campaigns. Before Fleishman-Hillard, Cheryl led the interactive team as Vice President at Washington, DC public affairs firm Issue Dynamics Inc. where she launched and led the group blog BloggerRelations.com. Previously, she was the Web Director for Oceana, an international marine conservation organization. Before Oceana, Ms. Contee launched 40 multi-lingual Web sites for Discovery Communications as Senior Producer for International Networks for television brands Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery Health, Discovery Kids, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @ch3ryl