Twitter Users are a Bunch of Quitters… and other Twitter Usage Statistics


By web gangsta | Published:

A report came out this week about Twitter, regarding how users new to Twitter use the service, a STATE OF THE TWITTERSPHERE, if you will.

In short, the conclusion is that the vast majority of Twitter accounts are inactive at best.  Some users sign in and tweet just once, resulting in an ORPHAN TWEET.  If you happen to run across one yourself, feel free to retweet it with the #orphantweet hashtag.

The bigger question, however, is how prevelant are these orphan tweets?   Consider this:  as in real-life, so goes Twitter:  the top 10% of the most active Twitter users account for over 90% of the overall Twitter traffic.

Compare this to other sites:

  • on most social sites, the top 10% create 30% of the total activity.
  • 90% of all Wikipedia edits are done by 15% of the registered users.

Extrapolated even further, a one-month study of 300,000 Twitter users showed the following information:

  • 80% of Twitter users are followed by at least one other account versus 60-65% of social network users that have at least one friend.
  • Male Twitter users have 15% more followers than female Twitter users.
  • Men are twice as likely to follow other men on Twitter versus following a woman, just like women using Twitter are 25% more likely to follow men over other women.

Most interesting, and something that correlates with the orphan tweet concept, is that the median number of lifetime tweets per user is 1.   Another way to look at the same data is that 50% of all Twitter users are tweeting less than once every 74 days.

So let’s get back to the State of the Twittersphere.  That report is based on information obtained from TWITTER GRADER (a site that you can use to determine how good… or narcisstic… a Twitter user you are) and their evaluation of over 4.5 million Twitter users.

Some of the more interesting facts that show some Twitter users are basically quitters include:

  • 52.71% have no followers at all
  • 54.88% have never tweeted
  • 55.50% are not following anyone

If we increase the criteria being used in the above three bullets from “0” to “less than 10”, Twitter Grader has determined that accounts that fall into these categories are inactive – especially compared to a typical Twitter account — and as such, they determine that 9.06% of all Twitter accounts are inactive.

What do stats look like for active Twitter accounts?

  • 47.29% have at least one follower
  • 45.12% have tweeted at least once
  • 44.50% are following at least one other account

And there you have the difference in a study that looks at just one month of 300,000 accounts that we began this post with versus looking at a broader spectrum of the “active” accounts of the 4.5 million viewed by Twitter Grader.

What are people tweeting?

  • 1.44% of all tweets are retweets
  • 37.95% of all tweets contain an @ symbol
  • 33.44% of all tweets begin with an @ symbol
  • By far, the vast majority of tweets use the full 140 characters that Twitter allows

When are people tweeting?

  • Most tweets are sent between 9am and 5pm, or “regular business hours”, with another peak around 11p bedtime
  • Tweets are most often sent during the week, with Saturday and Sunday being the least active Twitter usage days.  Thursday is the weekday tweet leader.

Where are people tweeting?  These are the top ten Twitter locations of Twitter users, as based on the Twitter “location” field in the Twitter users’ bios.

  1. London
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. New York
  5. San Francisco
  6. Toronto
  7. Atlanta
  8. Seattle
  9. Boston
  10. Austin

Of course, all these statistics may not be meaningful on month-to-month basis as Twitter has a high turnover rate.  NIELSEN ONLINE released a Twitter study (and an update confirming their original study) that shows 60% of US Twitter users that sign up one month do not return the following month.   While a 40% retention rate may not sound great, it is certainly better than the pre-Ashton/CNN/Oprah Twitter Explosion of 2009 of 30%.