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Is The Twitter Fad Fading?

Twitters growth from 2008 to 2009 was nothing short of stratospheric with growth headlining at over 1,300% .

Shows like Oprah and celebrity users such as Ashton Kutcher also provided popular mass media promotion that fed the Twitter craze.

In 2009 it went from 5 Million users to 30 Million users in 6 months.

In recent months Comscore, Quantcast and others have even reported declines in traffic as measured from the Twitter domain.

Blogs such as Forrester, Scobelizer, Mashable and Techcrunch have provided a variety of reasons for this trend such as.

  • “Twitter’s growth isn’t stalling. Rather, these stats aren’t capturing Twitter users utilizing apps, a growing chunk of the Twitterverse”.
  • “Twitter itself has a limited appeal. Only a small amount of people “have something to say” on a consistent basis.”
  • “They potentially undercount overseas users”.
  • “They potentially severely undercount users who use clients like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.”

Note: I just did a count of my Twitter stream and out of 100 only 12 were tweeting from Twitter, so the possibility of a severe underestimation of Twitter users is very possible as the calculations for Twitter traffic are only measured from the Twitter domain, not the Twitter apps such as TweetDeck that interface to the Twitter API .

So what are some of the developments and profiles of the maturing Twitter user?

I certainly have observed that the average Twitter user is maturing in their usage and the  Twitter adolescent stage is evolving as people find more business solutions, applications and commercial uses for Twitter (much to the consternation of the fundamentalist Twitter traditionalists). This is confirmed by a recent Forrester report which says:

“Twitterers are the connected of the connected, overindexing at all Social Media habits.  For example, Twitterers are three times more likely to be Creators (people who create and share content via blog posts and YouTube) as the general US population” . As reported in a Forrester report “Who Flocks to Twitter

Also a comprehensive look at the state of the Twitter universe is found with Hubspots “State of the Twittersphere Report – January 2010” where they have analyzed some of the key trends and changes that are emerging on Twitter which also highlights the maturing of Twitter.

This is a summary of their findings .

  1. The average user is following more people, followed by more people and has posted more updates.
  2. Bio in Profile 24% in July 2009,  53% in January 2010
  3. Location in Profile 31% in July 2009, 65% in January 2010
  4. Web Address in Profile 20% in July 2009,  41% in January 2010
  5. 15% of the top 20 Twitter locations in July 2009 were outside North America compared to 40% of the top 20 Twitter locations in January 2010 outside North America
  6. Top location in July 2009 – London and still No. 1 in 2010
  7. 82% of Twitter users have less than 100 followers
  8. 81% of Twitter users are following less than 100 people
  9. Thursday and Friday are the most active days on Twitter, each accounting for 16% of total tweets in our study
  10. 10-11 pm is the most active hour on Twitter, accounting for 4.8% of the tweets in an average day

I am still trying to find the real numbers on Twitters growth or lack thereof, though it appears though that it is still meeting a real need that  keeps many people occupied. Like me!

At this stage I think it is still “watch this space”.

So what are the real Twitter facts and figures in 2010? If you know, would love to hear from you.

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Dan Kelly

    I would LOVE the real facts & figures as they are a case study right now in my MBA.
    I would particularly like to know future marketing plans, development and revenue generating models too. I understand that they see mobile as the way ahead?
    Any help from any quarter much appreciated 🙂

  • There are so many intangibles and interactions contributing to the real numbers i doubt we will ever see a true picture.

    However, like most things in life the true value, may not show up in a chart. Twitter has become one of the most important news sources in history. This simple little app has been on the cover of Time magazine and is routinely a centerpiece of broadcast news.

    I learn more from my personal Twitter stream than any other source of information.

    On the business side, you have done a wonderful job documenting the value, Jeff, through insightful case studies. On a personal level, the value of the new connections, partners and yes, customers, I have acquired through this channel is incalculable.

    The power of Twitter to provide news, information and business opportunities is without question and GROWING, yet these intangibles will never show up on on graph.

  • Great article as always Jeff. I was only thinking about this the other day how twitter seemed to be dwindling a little in usage.

    My girlfriend who was very active about 12 months ago says she rarely pops in anymore because conversations have stopped. She now hangs out on Facebook because more meaningful and ongoing communication is taking place there.

    I also think your point about how many followers are actively even tweeting anymore is relevant. I am finding less people are interested in what people are saying and more people are just talking and thinking out loud and hoping someone out there might care.

    So it will be very interesting to watch the statistics unfold in 2010 but my prediction is that it will actually keep trending down as people truly want more meaningful conversations, not just 140 characters of abbreviated tips, tools, chit chat and spam!

    Time will tell. Thanks for sharing.

  • As long as I’m able to connect with people that I typically would not have been able to connect with instantly, test new motivational messages, add value to other people and businesses and nurture older one’s I’m not to concerned with the findings. When the people I engage with start jumping ship then I may be concerned until then I look forward to connecting with you on Twitter.


  • It is incumbent on Twitter as a company to EITHER publish their own internal traffic statistics, OR to publish a method that 3d parties can use to objectively measure their traffic. From a personal perspective, as of right now, I have been on Twitter just over 1 year. I have 1106 followers, have tweeted 819 times, and at LEAST 50% of those have been from Tweetdeck. Perhaps 3% of those tweets were from Twitpic.

    I have taken random samples of my twitter-stream – and for those that I follow >85% of tweets come from the API, and there are long streams where NOBODY tweets from twitter.
    API, TweetDeck, Posterous, API, Dynamic Tweets, Ping.fm, Twitterfeed, HootSuite, Tweetmeme, FriendFeed, Tweetie, etc…

    Twitter should probably assign companies that build api-driven applications some sort of unique identifier – a tweetprint, if you will – so that Twitter could internally measure where their traffic growth comes from, so that they could see if some api-developments are more taxing on internal twitter technology & resources, and so that they could quantify their own enormous growth in a way that could be measured and audited by disinterested third parties.

    Perhaps they should consider making public a tweet metrics page where they publish their own internally measured traffic patterns, etc.

    Regardless of their solutin – if it is to be, it is up to them to make it happen.

  • The twitter.com traffic does not measure the actual use of the twitter platform. As the website usage is flattening or slightly dropping, 3rd party twitter clients are growing at a faster rate. See the following analysis on actual data showing that twitter.com represent only 20% to 30% of the overall traffic: “Is Twitter flattening? A short answer” http://bit.ly/6B7q4s.

  • The answer to that question would be very valuable indeed. Is Twitter improving or “maturing” as the reports state or are people losing interest? Probably a combination of the two. A guaranteed answer would clue entrepreneurs and businesses in to where to focus their energy – but of course there are no guarantees in life or business. Just as you learn the game, it changes.

    Concerning traffic metrics – I have found the Internet to be kind of “Wild West” where each site reports something different. The top ranked sites such as Twitter seem to be more accurate than lower ranked sites. I am wondering if the data can be trusted. I would be interested to hear what sources people have found to be most accurate.

  • 10-11pm of a specific time zone is the busiest time? if it’s a specific time zone, which one? thanks.

  • I believe the comments about the challenges of measuring usage specifically for Twitter are relevant, but that said it’s clear lots is changing — one can see it even over the last 12 months, in terms of what people do.

    The important numbers that ARE available are uniformly bad. I expect a social media bust around 2012, and I suspect Twitter is the most likely victim to be absorbed, bought or be gone due to it’s lack of features, limited functionality compared to other platforms, lack of a working business model.

    They’ll have lots of company but of the one’s with high buzz, twitter is vulnerable.

    It can all change, but I think Twitter needs radical changing to survive as anything but a niche thing owned by someone else.

  • fad

    Twitter is still popular, its still growing and will probably grow for a while, but it doesn’t make any money and doesn’t seem to know how to make money. Twitter is lame in some ways too, its making conversations shorter then they already are.

    In my opinion, it is surely a fad, it can’t last for ever and as a business its lacking.,