Home Twitter Hits 50 Million Tweets Per Day; Still Dwarfed by Facebook & YouTube

Twitter Hits 50 Million Tweets Per Day; Still Dwarfed by Facebook & YouTube

Twitter just announced that it now sees 50 million non-spam messages every day. That’s interesting but it means more when you look at it in context.

The company says that means there are 600 tweets per second. According to a separate Tweet by Twitter’s new VP of Communications this afternoon, approximately 83 tweets per second contain product or brand references (20%). Here are some other interesting numbers and an official chart. Putting Twitter in context, Facebook and YouTube remain much larger. Twitter is showing remarkably strong growth, though.

Some interesting data points:

  • Two years ago, TechCrunch reported that a source close to the company said there were 3 million Tweets being sent per day in March 2008. Twitter didn’t respond to that report but today said the following: “By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day.” So either that estimate was off by a factor of nearly 10X or 90% of Twitter messages at that time were already spam. Most likely reality was somewhere in between. In other words, true activity on Twitter appears to have been smaller than was believed a few years ago.

  • YouTube was reported this Fall to be serving up 1 billion videos per day. That means there are 20 times as many videos played on YouTube each day as there are Tweets sent. Twitter remains less mainstream than YouTube. In July of 2006, that number was 100 million. That was 18 months after YouTube was launched and 4 months before it was acquired by Google. Twitter was launched in July of 2006. That means that YouTube saw 2X as many video views (100m) after 18 months as Twitter now sees Tweets after more than 40 months. In terms of sheer numbers, YouTube grew twice as fast in less than half the time. Of course that’s a little arbitrary to equate video views and Tweets, and YouTube videos are infamously expensive to deliver. Is it fair to compare Tweets published with videos consumed? With a grain of salt, I think it is, those two acts require roughly the same investment of time and energy by users. You certainly couldn’t compare Tweets published with videos published, as there is a much higher barrier to entry in video.

  • How much bigger is Facebook? According to Facebook VP of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, last October that site was seeing 8 billion minutes being spent on the site every day and on a busy day it could see up to 1.2 million photos served per second. “Served” photos is probably more comparable to total deliveries of Tweets (one for every follower of every person who sends each tweet) but the number is big none the less. Last June the company said it was seeing 1 billion Facebook chat messages sent per day. Given its incredible growth, that number is probably much higher today.

50 million Tweets per day doesn’t look so big in comparison. That is a pretty nice growth curve, though. Twitter says it will be releasing more numbers soon.

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