The ubiquitous microblogging Website Twitter currently logs 50 million “tweets,” online postings of 140 characters or less, according to a blog post written by the company’s analytics lead, Kevin Weil. That figure breaks down to an average of 600 tweets per second; in 2007, Weil notes, the site’s daily tweeting average stood at just 5,000. “By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day,” he blogged. “Tweets grew 1,400 percent last year to 35 million per day.”
Weil also explained the chart did not include tweets classified as spam. “Tweet deliveries are a much higher number because once created, tweets must be delivered to multiple followers. Then there’s search and so many other ways to measure and understand growth across this information network,” he said. “Tweets per day is just one number to think about. We’ll make time to share more information so please stay tuned.”
Earlier this month, Website traffic monitoring specialist Pingdom reported Twitter had passed 1 billion tweets per month in December and 1.2 billion in January, when the average per day tweet load stood at 40 million. “Over the past few months there has been plenty of speculation around the Web that Twitter’s growth has stalled, but if we look at activity on Twitter in terms of the number of tweets, this is far from the truth,” the post states. Pingdom predicted Twitter would pass the 1.4 billion tweet mark in February, despite the month being the shortest of the year.
The company also pointed out over the last three months Twitter has experienced month-to-month growth in the neighborhood of 17 percent. “Viewing this, it becomes very clear that not only was 2009 the year that Twitter’s popularity really exploded, it also shows that Twitter usage is still increasing rapidly,” the post states. “The really good part about this chart is that it represents all tweets, including those made from third-party applications via Twitter’s API. This means that we see the actual activity of the Twitter service as a whole.”
As to the percentage of tweets that are of use to anyone, a 2009 survey by media analytics firm Pear Research reported 40 percent of tweets fall into a category they termed “pointless babble.” Pear took 2,000 tweets from the public timeline (in England and in the United States) over a two-week period, capturing tweets in half-hour increments, and categorized them into six buckets. The second most tweeted category was “conversational,” with 37 percent.
There is evidence to suggest despite an astounding rise in activity, Twitter’s quitters are a large roadblock in the site’s path to long-term viability. An April report from Nielsen Online showed that despite social networking site Twitter’s meteoric rise in popularity, the site is having trouble retaining its community of Twitterers. The data released by Nielsen shows the social networking site is struggling with low retention rates: More than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month.