June 11, 2009
Twitter Usage Patterns: Peer-to-Peer Communications or One-Way Micro-Broadcasting Service?
A recent Harvard Business School study by Bill Heil and Mikolaj Piskorski, New Twitter Research: Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets, suggests that the top 10 percent of Twitter users produce more than 90 percent of all Tweets. On a typical online social network, the top 10% of users account for 30% of all production. "Twitter's usage patterns are ... very different from a typical on-line social network. A typical Twitter user contributes very rarely. Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. This translates into over half of Twitter users tweeting less than once every 74 days."
Purewire reports that 80 percent of Twitter accounts have fewer than 10 followers and 30 percent have no followers according to Erick Schonfeld's article on TechCruch, On Twitter, Most People Are Sheep: 80 Percent Of Accounts Have Fewer Than 10 Followers. Purewire stats as reported in Schonfeld's story:
Accounts with 0 followers: 29.4%
Accounts with 1 to 9 followers: 50.9%
Accounts with 10 or more followers: 19.7%
Accounts following 0 people: 24.4%
Accounts following 1 to 9 people: 43.4%
Accounts following 10 or more people: 32.2%
Accounts with 0 Tweets: 37.1%
Accounts with 1 to 9 Tweets: 41.0%
Accounts with more 10 or more Tweets: 21.9%
Based on these recent Twitter usage studies, Schonfeld writes "[i]t just may be that Twitter really isn’t as much about two-way micro-conversations as it is about one-way micro-broadcasting." As Dan Giancaterino (Jenkins Law Library) writes on Jenkins Blog, "there seems to be a lot more listening than talking going on with Twitter." [JH]
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