Twitter Feb. 22 said its users were sending a combined 50 million Twitter messages each day, indicating a huge bump in Twitter use despite other claims that the Twitter machine is slowing.
"Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007. By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day," said Twitter analytics staffer Kevin Weil. "Tweets grew 1,400 percent last year to 35 million per day. Today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day-that's an average of 600 tweets per second."
It's easy to dismiss Twitter's analysis as pure public relations puffery. But don't look at the 50-million-tweet-per-day statistic as a sign of where Twitter is now; look at where Twitter is going as it seeks to compete with Facebook and Google Buzz in the social Web arena.
If the growth rate keeps up, it could signal great things for the microblog service, which is building professional services and an ad platform around which to make money. Here are 10 reasons why Twitter's tweet count matters.
1) Twitter is going strong
Showing the world that Twitter has grown from 35 million tweets per day in 2009 to 50 million per day in the first two months of 2010 shows that Twitter use is accelerating, not declining, even if unique user growth is slowing in the United States.
2) You are judged by your status updates
Tweets and status updates point to the frequency with which users are using your Website. One could argue that status updates are more important as user totals, where users are tweeting sparingly. It's better to have 50 million tweets per day than 50 million users who aren't tweeting.
3) The competition is a tweet away
Facebook boasts 60 million status updates per day. However, only 35 million of its 400 million users are posting status updates daily. If more people start posting updates on Facebook, it's possible they will stop tweeting.
4) Get 'Buzzed'
With tens of millions of users jumping on Google Buzz in the last two weeks, Google's new social service is coming on strong. Twitter needs to keep people at its Website or risk losing mind share, let alone market share. If the tweet rate drops, it might be a sign that users are turning to Buzz or Facebook to post status updates.
5) Twitter ecosystem
A huge application ecosystem has mushroomed around Twitter that relies on the frequency of tweets to thrive. The more people tweet, the greater the opportunity is for developers leveraging the Twitter API to build new services.
6) It matters to marketers
If it's the repeat tweeters help that keep Twitter humming, the marketing factions capitalize on tweeters' presence on Twitter. Dell, Pepsi and others are making millions of dollars from Twitter-based marketing.
7) From marketing to sales
If people are constantly on Twitter, marketers can blast out pitch tweets on behalf of their products and clients. They won't stay on Twitter if the Twitter audience fades.
8) This all matters because ...
Twitter is building an ad platform. Accentuating its tweet statistics is itself a form of advertising and will be crucial in luring advertisers to the service.
9) Advertisers will come
With Twitter use growing, it will increase the advertising opportunities for Twitter's ad partners because it means people are keeping their eyes on Twitter and its associated apps.
10) Wanted: frequent tweeters
A Twitter ad platform could be a huge step forward in helping the industry grok how to make money from the real-time Web, something that has eluded Twitter, Facebook, Google and the flurry of real-time search engines. If Twitter goes quiet, the ad platform will fail, rendering Twitter to the Web 2.0 abyss.