Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave (which granted, is quite tempting in this weather) you will have heard of Twitter and the massive hype that has come with it. When people mention Twitter, you are bombarded by all sorts of huge numbers and accomplishments. So is Twitter really that successful? The American research company RJMetrics has released some interesting facts & figures. For example, did you know that only about 17% of registered Twitter accounts sent a Tweet in December 2009?

Some of the most interesting findings of the reports are that Twitter had roughly 75 million members at the end of 2009. 25% of these accounts have no followers, and 40% have never sent a single tweet. A staggering number of 80% have tweeted fewer than 10 times.

Twitter Users by Number of Tweets

Twitter Users by Number of Tweets

Despite these rather poor figures on user engagement on the average Twitter user, the researchers noticed a rising trend of engament among the frequent users. This isn’t too surprising as Twitter is a free service that has enjoyed a massive media and internet hype. As such, many people will have registered purely to have a look what the fuss is all about, or to protect a specific username.

On the flipside, the people in the Search Marketing industry are all falling over each other in order to be the first, the loudest and the one with the most followers on Twitter. Due to the high penetration in our industry, I would say it is a valuable tool for networking but there are dangers associated with that.

Whatever you ‘tweet’ on Twitter can, and will, be used against you. Ensure what you say makes sense before you distribute it for the whole world to see. As far as I am concerned it’s not about the number of followers but the quality of each follower – quite similar to link building, but then with people. (Hrm I love that analogy)

Just to conclude the research, Twitter currently gets an average number of 6,2 million new users a month. The average user has 27 followers, which is quite a change to last year when this was still 42.

So is Twitter the future? Absolutely not, it is far too limited for that and hasn’t really brought any ‘new’ technology to us. It did do an excellent job at offering (very) old technology in a jacket the average user could understand and it has enjoyed great success as a result. It will probably continue to do so for a while, until the ‘next big thing’ arrives.

Author: Peter Kersbergen
Occupation: Managing Director
Twitter: @peterkersbergen