Is Twitter Really That Big?

Web security SaaS company Purewire evaluated the profiles of millions of Twitter users to show the depth of a new tool it has created called Tweet Grade. While the tool itself is not unlike numerous other Twitter grading services, the company has uncovered some very interesting user statistics. It seems as though far fewer people are actually using and contributing to the site than Twitter’s recent hype and massive growth would suggest. In fact, the data shows that a large percentage of Twitter users have not “tweeted” since the first day they joined the service and at least a quarter of its users don’t have any followers at all.

Twitter won’t give out its own numbers (and apparently won’t follow or listen to you either), but Purewire was able to pull together profile data from 7 million user profiles and this is what it found:

First, many Twitter users “have abandoned their accounts shortly after creating them, and a significant percentage are not showing signs of account activity”.

* 40 percent of Twitter users have not tweeted since their first
day on Twitter (i.e., the account was most likely created and
subsequently forgotten about).

* Approximately 25 percent of Twitter users are not following

anyone, while two-thirds are following less than 10 people (i.e., the

account was created but is not actually being used regularly).

Second, the data shows that “Twitter is used more as a mass medium for receiving information, rather than as a way to interact with others. Proof is shown by evaluating the followers and friends of Twitter users”.

* More than 1/3 of Twitter users have not posted a single tweet,
and almost 80 percent of the users have less than 10 tweets (i.e., while
Twitter is billed as a great collaboration tool, a large number of users
are there to consume content, not distribute it).

* Approximately 30 percent of Twitter users do not have any

followers, and 80 percent of Twitter users have less than 10 followers

(i.e., for many users, their posts are not being widely tracked or


* 50 percent of Twitter users are following more people than they

have as followers, and another 30 percent of Twitter users are following

the same number of people that are following them (i.e. users are

aggressively trying to attract followers by hoping they will “follow

back” but have been unsuccessful).

It’s clear that celebrities like Oprah and Ashton Kutcher have made Twitter the “flavor of the month”, but there are many people out there who will never quite get it. That’s alright with us. There are bound to be folks trying out different Web apps that won’t end up using them, we do it all the time. We still think Twitter has become a valuable mainstream communication platform and its usage will continue to evolve and grow.

Be sure to check out Purewire’s new Twitter grading tool Tweet Grade to see if you and your followers pass the test.

You can find ReadWriteWeb on Twitter, as well as the entire RWW Team: Marshall Kirkpatrick, Bernard Lunn, Alex Iskold, Sarah Perez, Frederic Lardinois, Sean Ammirati, Doug Coleman, Dana Oshiro, Steven Walling and Lidija Davis.

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