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Is Twitter Tanking? An Update

The lack of transparency from Twitter on its traffic including its domain and API traffic from sources such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are surprising and mystifying unless it’s a secret strategy by the Twitter team to keep the Twittersphere guessing.

Some of the comments on my recent blog “Is The Twitter Fad Fading?” regarding this lack of numbers, reflects the interest in the actual  Twitter traffic trends and growth.

“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”

This frustration  is not surprising as many people have built their business around Twitter.

The announcement on Twitter by the CEO Evan Williams on January 11, 2010 was at best just a bland non specific statement that offers no comfort…it’s like a salesman saying “just trust me”.

A recent post byJohn Borthwick on his blog “Think Musings” may provide some encouraging news.

  • Twitter: Jan 11th was the highest usage day ever (source: @ev via techcrunch)… but no numbers Evan!!
  • Tweetdeck: did 4,143,687 updates on Jan 8, yep 4m. Or, 48 per second (source: Iain Dodsworth / tweetdeck internal data)
  • Foursquare: Jan 9th biggest day ever.    1 update or check-in per second (source: twitter and techcrunch)
  • Daily Booth: in past 30 days more than 10mm uniques (source: dailybooth internal data)
  • bit.ly: last week was the largest week ever for clicks on bit.ly links. 564m were clicked on in total. On the Jan 6th there were a record of 98m decodes.    1100 clicks every second.

Another chart that John highlighted was of the growth of Twitterfeed from  September 2009 to December 2009 showing growth of over 300% in Feeds processed.

The cynical view that you could take on this is, that the Twitter users are being more active in their use of Twitter and the Twitter apps are showing significant  growth but the  Twitter subscriber base is flatlining.

Come on Evan show us your Twits.

What are your thoughts?

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Obviously, those of us who suscribe to Twitter are Tweeting more. Maybe this means we need to be seeking to spread the word to others who are not presently using Twitter. I recently did a seminar for the company I work for (Nashville Wraps) and part of my presentataion was to explain how Twitter is a great B to B way to get your message across. The next day I had several new followers that were also new Twitter users. I personally use Tweetdeck & Hootsuite to monitor Tweets – rarely visit my homepage.

  • In the age of transparency and authenticity, by not being totally upfront about the usage stats, Twitter is doing itself a disservice, and this strategy of opacity can be fatal. If usage of existing users has gone up, it is all the more reason to own up, if the numbers have flatlined or gone down. We can rally to its cause, just because we are vested in it. The biggest reason to be transparent though, is Google Wave.

    Thanks for keeping us informed.


  • In the age of transparency and authenticity, by not being totally upfront about the usage stats, Twitter is doing itself a disservice, and this strategy of opacity can be fatal.

    If usage among existing users has gone up, it is all the more reason to own up, even if the numbers have flatlined or gone down. We will rally to its cause, just because we are vested in it. The biggest reason to be transparent though, is Google Wave.

    Just wanted it to be clearer. :))



  • nice post!

    I can speak for whatz hapenning in India..

    1. people are gradually becoming more aware..
    a. Thanks to contoversies re: @shashitharoor
    savvy businessmen : @anandmahindra
    n yes the celebs : @imsrk , @
    power journalists : @sardesairajdeep @virsanghvi @Bdutt

    2. Small Business have found a new avenue to showcase themselves
    Though surprisingly the big business are yet to join the bandwagon

    3. As more content based websites i.e. newspapers, e-magzienes , blogs etc
    have the Twitter share button ..more people are get accustomed to use it..

    4. Many TV shows n News Channels have gone the 140 words way…

    yes many do join.. n remain inactive … but i see the tipping point is somewhere close.. for a hoard of people to join the tweetworld…

  • It’s true. In this cynical age we are getting conditioned to mistrust everything. (Melting glaciers, global warming, only the wealthy will pay more taxes…) Nowadays, without substantiation, any comment or estimate is likely to be suspect. And since we are all running a business, we need some tangible evidence that our efforts are being put to the best use. Without reliable stats, we fly blind. Now it may be that new users are leveling off. It may be that Twitter is becoming more highly concentrated with business users, which would offset the negative impact of the leveling off of total population growth

    But whatever the case, users and the rest of the media is entitled to know the state of affairs. And whatever the case, the information will be neutral for Twitter, since, in a short time, the market will intuit the true state of affairs. Markets are smart that way!

  • John McGrath

    Any article on Twitter should be no more than 140 words. That’s a whole lot of characters and should be enough to tell the story.

  • Another great, post, Jeff, zeroing in on a topic around Twitter. Checking out stats from compete.com comparing usage from last year shows interesting trends. We can tell you that the number of usernames seem to be dwindling, the number of individuals in our circle of influence that are migrating towards twitter is increasing, and our volume of tweets and retweets are increasing steadily. We too think that not allowing this two way communication of information that has become the backbone of social media is of concern, and could potentially lead other social networks to pick up where Twitter is lacking, and cause Twitter to die a slow death similar to myspace.


  • I use twittermysearch desktop application t search twitter . I dont have a Twitter account, but rather use it as a search engine via twittermysearch desktop application.

    I see a steady rise in those using twitter for marketing purposes and not so many using it for true social reasons.

  • Great post. It is strange that Twitter won’t share more of the stats. As businesses decide to focus more energy on marketing and engaging on Twitter, having data available to support their ongoing investment in social media is critical. While metrics like increases in connections, leads & sales are most important, strength of the network is a pretty basic need too. Human nature makes me distrust Twitter’s secrecy and suspect that some of the numbers undermine their business case.

    Analytic data for sites I manage shows increased visitor traffic from Twitter over the past year. Initially I was seeing high bounce rates but over time the quality of the Twitter traffic seems to be improving.

    Unlike Andy P, I am seeing many more companies and people on Twitter engaging socially and not just focusing all their tweets on marketing. Even without solid numbers I am encouraged by the platform as a way to socialize and at the same time generate business leads.


  • We all hope Twitter
    comes out with clear numbers and comes out clean.

  • For me, Twitter is going through the same hype cycle as any emerging technology. Having rapidly climbed the technology trigger curve, it’s now reached the peak of inflated expectation and is careering towards the trough of dissillusionment from where people will gradually work out how to use it properly and it begins its journey along the path of enlightenment.

    Check out the gartner hype cycle