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The state of the Twittersphere in February 2011


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An overview of Twitter in February 2011 using statistics, tools and freely available information.

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The state of the Twittersphere in February 2011

  1. 1. The state of the Twittersphere February 2011 Where are we now?
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The big picture </li></ul><ul><li>How does Twitter compare to Facebook? </li></ul><ul><li>Personalities and content trends </li></ul><ul><li>Beyond </li></ul><ul><li>Sources </li></ul><ul><li>More tools </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction This is an overview of Twitter in February 2011 using statistics, tools and freely available information. The purpose in it’s writing was to get myself up to speed with the latest data and to understand as near as possible how Twitter is being used today, rather than last month or last year. It was put together in preparation for a training course for business users, so the emphasis of research leans towards corporate and organisational usage, but I hope as a result also covers other areas. Kathryn Corrick, February 2011 @ kcorrick
  4. 4. The big picture
  5. 5. (circa) 200 million Number of Twitter registered accounts January 2011 Source:
  6. 6. (circa) 110 million Tweets per day 1 January 2011 Source:
  7. 7. (circa) 14 million Daily active Twitter accounts And about 40 million active accounts monthly January 2011 Source:
  8. 8. 8.2 million Number of Twitter accounts following Lady Gaga, the most followed account on the service 16 February 2011 Source:
  9. 9. 605 Number of tweets by Lady Gaga 16 February 2011 Source:
  10. 10. 22.5% Of Twitter users accounted for about 90% of all activity during 2010. Sysomos – December 2010 Source:
  11. 11. profile for * January 2011 27,985,892 – unique visitors 183,876,953 – visits Rank – 30 * Does not include visits via Twitter clients and applications Source:
  12. 12. Google Trends gives an indication of where visits originate for * Most unique visits to come from Japan * Does not include visits via Twitter clients and applications Source:
  13. 13. Origin of Google searches for Twitter Source:
  14. 14. Seven No. of languages the platform is translated into: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish January 2011 Twitter Translation Centre launched 14 February 2011 to crowdsource translations of the site into more languages, first up – Indonesian, Russian and Turkish. To join go to: / Source:
  15. 15. 6,939 Tweets per second sent When midnight struck, 1 January 2011 in Japan Source:
  16. 16. 4,064 Tweets per second sent at 10.07pm (EST) during the US Superbowl February 2011 Source:
  17. 17. 69 per cent Twitter users who provide a biography on their Twitter profile Sysomos - December 2010 Source:
  18. 18. From Jan – Aug 2010 new users accounted for nearly 44% of the total Twitter population Source:
  19. 19. Top Twitter cities London top Twitter city. Rankings are by and are total number of twitter users based on the ‘Location’ setting. According to Sysomos only 73% of users in 2010 had a location on their profile Source:
  20. 20. How does Twitter compare to Facebook? (This data is now a bit old, but it’s still just about relevant) A breakdown of 2010 social demographics Brand engagement According to this research, on Twitter 25% of users follow a brand (40% for Facebook) but 67% of those users will purchase that specific brand (51% for Facebook) Source:
  21. 21. Twitter, Facebook & YouTube compared using Source:
  22. 22. Personalities and content trends Entertainment is gaining ground Watching television and tweeting more common Sport finds a natural home Politics still much discussed
  23. 23. Top ten most followed accounts (16/02/2011) Source: Other than Barak Obama the top ten most followed accounts on Twitter are from the world of entertainment - popstars and chat show hosts from North America.
  24. 24. How does Lady Gaga use Twitter? Mostly for broadcast, she’s not very conversational, but has a high reach and high potential level of amplification Sources:
  25. 25. And what does her immediate network look like? Source:
  26. 26. And what of UK users? (16/02/2011) This is where things get a bit muddy. Twitter lists user locations by city and country. In London Coldplay tops the list with 3.4 million followers but search for United Kingdom and Sarah Brown (wife of Gordon Brown) comes top with 1.1 million followers, putting her above Chris Moyles if she were located in London. But note once again, entertainment pre-dominates, with a splash of Tech in the form of Tweetdeck, which has a US as well as UK audience. United Kingdom - / London - /
  27. 27. And who is following the most people? Here entertainment gets knocked off top spot, enter – politics and commerce. In the lead, it’s Barack Obama following over 700,000 other Twitter users. With Whole Foods , and a surprise of Yoko Ono in second and third, both following over 500,000 accounts. But look, the UK’s most famous black door features in fourth place. Question is; with such numbers in play reading those streams will be nearer to a firehose of information than anything else. Obama’s account is almost purely broadcast, where as Wholefoods do reply and interact with fellow Twitter users, Number10 ’s stream is a mix of it’s own messages and retweets of other departments. Source:
  28. 28. A different story: TwitterGrader’s UK Elite aims to measure the power, reach and authority of a twitter account * – rather than simply numbers of followers. Their ranking of UK accounts shows a tendency towards news sites and a few unexpected personalities such as speaker Mark Clayson and Robin Hood airport tweeter Graham Lineham. * See appendix for details on the algorithm Source:
  29. 29. What was everyone talking about in 2010? After using hashtags (which apply to all topics), globally entertainment was the top category trend in 2010, followed by sports, according to What The Trend. Source -
  30. 30. And in 2009? Hashtags were far less used. Business and tech took up a greater volume of discussion (at 11% as compared to 3% in 2010)
  31. 31. Within entertainment which topics were top? As is already becoming clear from who is followed on Twitter, music is big on Twitter and one of the largest entertainment topics, followed by television and films. With the decline of MySpace this perhaps may become more significant as time goes on. And, whilst Lady Gaga may have the highest following on Twitter, Justin Bieber is talked about more.
  32. 32. More specifically? Source:
  33. 33. Trending topics in London right now 16/02/2011 <ul><li>#masterchef </li></ul><ul><li>#verysexy </li></ul><ul><li>Nou Camp </li></ul><ul><li>#barcelona </li></ul><ul><li>Valdes </li></ul><ul><li>Alex Song </li></ul><ul><li>Jack Wilshere </li></ul><ul><li>Abel Xavier </li></ul><ul><li>Piqué </li></ul><ul><li>Shakira </li></ul>Source:
  34. 34. What do these trending topics perhaps indicate? <ul><li>The increase in hashtag usage indicates a greater understanding in how the platform can work for communal conversations </li></ul><ul><li>The live nature of watching sport lends itself to Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>A greater increase in the user base towards the mainstream, with a lower percentage of discussions on topics of technology and business * </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the trending entertainment topics are for mainstream culture – be they popstars, tv programmes or films. Which leads us to conclude that Twitter has become a more mainstream platform over the last year </li></ul><ul><li>The entertainment topics also lean towards youth culture, which may also indicate as much about how Twitter is being taken up and used by younger demographics, as it does how large this user group may be. </li></ul><ul><li>That Avatar trended in 2010 is no surprise given it’s box office sales, yet that it was talked about less than Scott Pilgrim indicates that tweet volume ≠ sales. </li></ul><ul><li>* Note: this doesn’t mean the platform is no longer suitable for these discussions, merely that other topics have increased. </li></ul>
  35. 35. This leads us to ask: who contributed most on Twitter to trending topics in 2010? According to What The Trend the most active contributors to Twitter are based in the US, UK, Brazil, Canada and Japan. But note… The smaller populated country of the Netherlands is at number eight, and Indonesia (which has a population of nearly 230 million) is in at nine. China and India with the largest populations are not in the top ten. Source:
  36. 36. Top brand accounts according to – February 2011 <ul><li>BBCWorld </li></ul><ul><li>FoxNews </li></ul><ul><li>G1 (Globo) </li></ul><ul><li>NYTimes </li></ul><ul><li>BBC Breaking News </li></ul><ul><li>Huffington Post </li></ul><ul><li>Reuters </li></ul><ul><li>Engadget </li></ul><ul><li>ESPN </li></ul><ul><li>Mashable </li></ul><ul><li>All news sites. </li></ul>Source:
  37. 37. Brand trends in 2010 Source:
  38. 38. Beyond in 2011
  39. 39. The Twitter ecosystem of services and applications A diagramatic overview of Twitter services and applications by US based Brian Solis and Jess3. (See next slide for breakdown of rings and types of service) Interactive version: http :// twitterverse
  40. 40. Brian Solis & Jess3 Twitterverse rings <ul><li>Branding </li></ul><ul><li>Geographics </li></ul><ul><li>Interest graph </li></ul><ul><li>Dashboard </li></ul><ul><li>Event management </li></ul><ul><li>Live streaming </li></ul><ul><li>Geo-location </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing & advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Rich media </li></ul><ul><li>Communication management </li></ul><ul><li>Research & analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Stream management </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile applications </li></ul><ul><li>Trends </li></ul><ul><li>Social CRM </li></ul><ul><li>Influence and resonance </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter search </li></ul><ul><li>Causation (charity causes) </li></ul>Note: the basic function of sharing and tweeting content from other services, such as Tumblr, WordPress and Flickr, seems to have been omitted from the diagram, but is often key to connecting communities with content, and increasing reach. Source:
  41. 41. This is just scraping the surface Whilst these statistics give some indications of the extent to which Twitter is being used in 2010 and early 2011, they are simply scraping the surface. Not mentioned here are a long list of ways Twitter is being used as a communication platform - from activism to watching and participating in television programs – but I hope it’s brought a few statistics together and joined a few dots.
  42. 42. Sources / / / q / http :// / / / / / / / /
  43. 43. More Twitter analysis tools http :// / To analyse Twitter accounts / Link Trends / Tweets per minute by city in real-time http :// / Tweets by country /
  44. 44. algorithm factors 1. Number of Followers: More followers leads to a higher Twitter Grade (all other things being equal). Yes, I agree that it’s easy to game this number, but we are looking at measuring reach and I did say all other things being equal. 2. Power of Followers: If you have people with a high Twitter Grade following you, it counts more than those with a low Twitter Grade following you. It’s a bit recursive, and we don’t get carried away with it, but it helps. 3. Updates: More updates generally leads to a higher grade — within reason. This does not mean you should be tweeting like a manic squirrel cranked up on caffeine and sugar. It won’t help either your Twitter Grade or your overall happiness in life. 4. Update Recency: Users that are more current (i.e. time elapsed since last tweet is low) generally get higher grades. 5. Follower/Following Ratio: The higher the ratio, the better. However, the weight of this particular factor decreases as the user accrues points for other factors (so, once a user gets to a high level of followers or a high level of engagement, the Follower/Following ratio counts less). 6. Engagement: The more a given user’s tweets are being retweeted, the more times the user is being referenced or cited, the higher the twitter grade. Further, the value of the engagement is higher based on who is being engaged. If a user with a very high Twitter Grade retweets, it counts more than if a spammy account with a very low grade retweets.
  45. 45. Questions? @kcorrick Admin[at]