April 26, 2007

Twitter Quotient

I just noticed that Peter Forret launced a new goodie. This new goodie calculates the Twitter Quotient for a Twitter user. The Google Quotient of a person is the number of hits found by Google. The Twitter Quotient consists of three indicators: babble index, popularity index and usefulness index. Have a look at the screenshots below.

My Twitter Quotient (below) is rather low, compared to the Twitter Quotient of Marco Derksen from the Netherlands (from marketingfacts.nl). If you want to know your Twitter Quotient, give the Twitter Quotient Calculator a try at web.forret.com/tools/twitter-tq.asp.

Nice done Peter.

April 24, 2007

Twitter accounts and rights

I have the impression that Twitter account twitter.com/secgen is being used by Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, or by one of his assistants.

You have to be careful, because several Twitter accounts have been detected as fakers (see the Fakers page on the Twitter Fan Wiki).

Someone who registers an internet domain can be traced by using whois to reveal his identity. It is currently not possible to trace the person who is using a Twitter account. The only thing you need to claim a Twitter account is an email address. Several Twitter accounts have already been created with company names, but there are currently no messages or just one message on these accounts e.g.

Luckely for those companies, the Twitter accounts are not yet abused for negative publicity for the products and offerings of the companies. (Disclaimer : I did not claim these Twitter accounts).

Currently it is not (yet) possible to transfer or trade Twitter names. Perhaps some cyber/Twitter squatters are hoping that this will be allowed in a short time.

The guys running Twitter Inc. should come forward with a set of rules to regulate the Twitter community, an addendum to the Terms of Service. Who has the right to a Twitter name, the person who claimed it first ? Or the company who registered the trademark ? Which country will have the priority, as trademarks in different countries for a given name are not always owned by the same company. Will Twitter Inc. make it possible to transfer Twitter accounts from one person/company to another ? As Twitter is at least at this moment commercially not very interesting for companies (e.g. there are no ads) there is no urgent need to solve these kind of questions. If Twitter becomes a huge success, people at Twitter Inc. will have to start thinking about these issues. Companies such as Coca Cola, Dell, IBM, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nike, Pepsi or Toyota care a lot about their image in the real and cyber worlds. Have these companies already discovered the bright new world of Twitter ? Future will tell.

April 23, 2007

First State of the Dutch Twitosphere

I was able to identify 451 Twitter accounts from the Netherlands. A Twitter account was considered to be held by someone from the Netherlands if the location explicitely refers to the Netherlands or if the Twitter user was located in the Netherlands according to one of the Twitter mapping mashups (see this previous post).

The actual number of Dutch Twitter users is probably a lot higher. I would not be surprised if the actual number is somewhere between 800 and 1000. I was rather conservative in labeling a Twitter account as being Dutch. Only a lit bit more than half of the Twitter users specify their location in their profile (see this previous post). Furthermore private Twitter accounts or public Twitter accounts with no or only a few friends are very difficult to find.

I was able to retrace the history of the Dutch Twitter accounts. The following graph is based on the date of the first message posted on each of the public Dutch Twitter accounts. There is a steep increase of the growth of the number of Twitter accounts starting from March 15, 2007. From that day on, about 10 new Dutch Twitter were detected.

Oldest Dutch Twitter accounts
twitter.com/cvodb - Caroline - first message on 15/07/2006
twitter.com/ianus - !ianus keller - first message on 15/07/2006
twitter.com/martijn - Martijn - first message on 15/07/2006
twitter.com/alper - Alper Çugun - first message on 4/09/2006
twitter.com/steverosebush - Steve Rosebush - first message on 10/09/2006

Public of Private
70 Twitter acounts from the Netherlands or 9,5% have chosen the keep their updates only available to their friends. According to the First State of the Belgian Twitosphere (Belgium is a neighbouring country of the Netherlands) 22% of the Belgian Twitter accounts are private. This can indicate that Dutch private Twitter accounts are perhaps partly missing from this analysis.

Deleted accounts
Only 2 accounts are not available anymore. The owners of these accounts have chosen for whatever reason to stop twittering.

Number of friends
11% of the accounts have no Twitter friends at all. An average Twitter account from the Netherlands has 13,5 friends.

Top 5
twitter.com/alefevre - André le Fèvre - 168 friends
twitter.com/tanjadebie - Tanja - 143 friends
twitter.com/marketingfacts - Marco Derksen - 139 friends
twitter.com/TheBFF - The BFF - 122 friends
twitter.com/gervis - Gerrit Visser - 120 friends

Number of followers
A follower is someone who has indicated another Twitter account as friends and therefore receives all updates. 8% of the accounts have no Twitter followers at all, meaning that no one else on Twitter has indicated this account as a friend. An average Twitter account from the Netherlands has 12,5 followers.

Top 5
twitter.com/FrRoderick - Roderick Vonhogen - 242 followers
twitter.com/marketingfacts - Marco Derksen - 119 followers
twitter.com/erwblo - erwin blom - 118 followers
twitter.com/frankmeeuwsen - Frank Meeuwsen - 104 followers
twitter.com/ppk - Peter-Paul Koch - 99 followers

Only 1% of the accounts from the Netherlands are still waiting for their first Twitter message (or Tweet) to be published. Currently an average average Twitter account from the Netherlands has 88 Tweets. Please kind in mind that this average is only a snapshot, as lots of new Twitter messages are published everyday. The first "human" twitterer in the Top 5 is Erwin Blom on the 3rd place.

Top 5
twitter.com/detelegraaf - De Telegraaf - 3633 updates
twitter.com/volkskrant - De Volkskrant - 1694 updates
twitter.com/tagmos - TagMos.nl - 1355 updates
twitter.com/erwblo - erwin blom - 1158 updates
twitter.com/gervis - Gerrit Visser - 958 updates

Degree of activity
10% of all Twitter accounts from the Netherlands with a public feed did not post an update in the last 20 days. These account can perhaps be considered as "almost dead" accounts. 73% of all Twitter accounts from the Netherlands with a public feed did post at least one message in the last 7 days, indicating that these accounts are still very well alive.

This state of the Dutch Twitosphere is only a snapshot, meaning that the figures mentioned in this post have already changed because the Twitosphere is a very dynamic environment with several new accounts being created every day, new connections being made between accounts (friends/followers) and of course new messages being written every hour of the day.

The number of Twitter users in the Netherlands remains rather low compared to the number of blogs, estimated at at least 1 million. The next months will show if the popularity of Twitter will continue to increase, not only for the Dutch Twitosphere but also for the global Twitosphere.

April 20, 2007

Some figures concerning the Twitosphere

In a article on Technology Review on April 6, 2007, the total number of Twitter users as of late March 2007 was said to be 100.000 and doubling every three weeks. This would mean that there are currently (on April 19) over 200.000 Twitter users.

In a blogpost on the UMBC eBiquity Blog a picture was shown of the global distribution of Twitter users. This graph is based on 300.000 Tweets (Twitter messages) from 35.000 Twitter users - taken from the Twitter public timeline. From the 35.000 Twitter users, 19.000 or 54% specified their geographical location.

According to the statistics available on the Twitterment site, there are on average over 20.000 Tweets (Twitter messages) each hour. The number of Tweets per day varies between 50.000 and 100.000. These figures are probably only based on the Twitter public timeline. Twitter messages from non-public users are not taken into account.

According to a blogpost on the BlogAllAlong blog Twitter is getting around 11.000 hits a second on peak times, which is a quite a lot for a site supported by Ruby on Rails. Scaling a Ruby on Rails environment is not easy task, as it is not possible to talk to more than one database at a time.

April 17, 2007

First State of the Belgian Twitosphere

The community of Belgians in the Twitter universe counts at least 308 accounts. I was able to identify these 308 Twitter accounts using a combined approach consisting of looking at markers appearing on TwitterMap, performing searches using TwitterSearch or Twitterment or even good old Google. Another useful source is following the friends of already identified Twitters from Belgium.

For the Belgian Twitter accounts open to everyone, I checked the date of the first update. This allowed me to create a graph, showing 4 distinct phases in the growth of the Belgian Twitosphere.

First phase : very early adopters - from August 22, 2006 until October 29, 2006 - 6 accounts.
Second phase : first accelaration - from November 11, 2006 until November 29, 2006 - 18 accounts.
Third phase : stable growth - from December 10, 2006 until March 9, 2007.
Fourth phase : accelarated growth - from March 10, 2007 until now.

I already published a first version of this graph on my blog in Dutch (bvlg.be) almost a month ago. The accelarated growth from March 2007 seems to continue. There is not yet a tipping point in sight.

Public of Private
70 Belgians or 22% have chosen the keep their updates only available to their friends. Most of them have probably read the blogpost of Peter Forret regarding the indexing of Twitter pages.

Deleted accounts
9 accounts or 3% are not available anymore. The owners of these accounts have chosen for whatever reason to stop twittering and to delete their accounts.

Number of friends
13% of the accounts have no Twitter friends at all. On the other hand Veerle Pieters has currently 98 friends. An average Twitter account from Belgium has 9,6 friends (which leads me to the next question - where can you find a 0,6 friend ?).

Number of followers
A follower is someone who has indicated another Twitter account as friends and therefore receives all updates. 12% of the accounts have no Twitter followers at all, meaning that no one else on Twitter has indicated this account as a friend. Veerle Pieters has the highest number of followers (535). An average Twitter account from Belgium had 10,5 followers.

The Twitter account from Belgium with most updates is Andrea Guerra - who is twittering in Spanish. At the moment of this writing, this account has 778 updates. 4% of the Belgian accounts (deleted accounts not included) are still waiting for their first update to be published. Currently an average average Twitter account from Belgium has 72 updates.

Degree of activity
12% of all Twitter accounts from Belgium with a public feed did not post an update in the last 20 days. These account can perhaps be considered as "almost dead" accounts. 74% of all Twitter accounts from Belgium with a public feed did post at least one message in the last 7 days, indicating that these accounts are still alive and kicking.

April 12, 2007


I just noticed the announcement of Twitterment on the eBiquity blog. Twitterment is a brand new Twitter search engine and buzz tracking system. Twitterment provides a search interface over an index of recent updates obtained periodically from the public timeline API.

I submitted several queries to evaluate the possibilities of Twitterment. Twitterment offers the possiblity to compare the buzz for two search strings. I tried to track a specific trend : how often are people discussing work and sleep ? I tracked these words in different languages, in English of course, but also in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and Dutch (my mother tongue). The results are rather different.

Persons twittering in English talk more often about work than about sleep. The time pattern does not reveal real peaks during the day. This is perhaps due to the fact that lots of people, scattered worldwide are using English in there messages.

For French it seems that there is very clear preference for sleep (dormir). The word "dormir" is however also a valid word in other languages, e.g. Spanish and Portuguese. As all graphs in this post show the absolute number of tweets, the only valid conclusion is that Twitter is only used by a small number of people using French to talk about work. A comparision between sleep and work is not possible.

For Spanish speaking twitters, work (trabajar) is a little bit more popular than it is for French speeking twitters. Sleep however remains more popular.

To talk about work is For Portuguese speaking twitters as unpopular as it is for French speeking twitters.

It seems that Italians do not prefer to talk about work, but rather about going to sleep (or not going to sleep ...). This conclusion is again based on a very low number of messages.

Persons using German (in countries such as Germany, Austria or Switserland) apparantly discuss work and sleep in about the same frequency. The number of messages is again very low.

For Dutch, in the morning work ("werken") is more often talked about, whereas going to sleep is popular in the evening. Timings in the graphs are in EST, not in European time.

My main conclusion is that English is the most dominant language, in comparison to the selected languages. Twitterment is a very handy tool to perform the kind of comparisons as discussed in this post.

Mapping the Twitosphere

Several sites combine information from Twitter with maps.

GeoTwitter is a mashup that uses the Google Maps API and Twitter API. The most recent updates are fetched from Twitter's public timeline and mapped once every minute.

Twittervision is a real-time geographic visualisation of posts to Twitter. Messages from twitters with a location and an image defined that appear on Twitter's public timeline will appear on the map.

Twittermap is a fancy Web 2.0 Mash-Up created using Twitter's public timeline and the Google Maps API. For a given place on the world, TwitterMap shows twitters which recent messages located in the neighbourhoud of the given place. Twittermap even allows you to look up the location for a Twittername.

Twitter Atlas
Fresh Logic Studios have created a mashup of their Atlas product (based on Microsoft Virtual Earth) with Twitter's public timeline.

Twitterami announces itself as "twitter someone local to you - twitter + where am i = twitterami". It is Frappr service where twitters can add themselves. As of this writing about 140 twitters are listed.

Mibazaar is a mashup of the Twitter public timeline with Google Maps.

Twitter Earth
Twitter Earth is mashup written by Genexis Consulting of Twitter's public timeline with Microsoft Virtual Earth.

April 11, 2007

Monitoring the buzz in the Twitosphere

With the increasing popularity of Twitter, people want to know what's hot within the Twitosphere. Several initiatives have popped up.

Twitterbuzz shows you what people using Twitter are linking to. TwitterBuzz offers users different timeframes : an hourly view, a weekly view, a view from the start.

What is Twitter Doing Today : a tagcloud featuring the most used words in messages from Twitter. Different possibilities are available : words used today, the last hour, the last 5 or 10 hours or yesterday.

Twitterzone offers 4 possibilities to get a view what's hot in the Twitosphere : most twittered words, most twittered links, most active twitters, most active services. The timeframe can be one hour, 24 hours, 7 days or 1 month.

TwitterSearch allows you to look up the twitter messages containing a keyword of your choice. TwitterSearch has limited memory, only going back a few hours.

What are people twittering about ?
A very simple interface shows a list of the 20 most common nouns or noun-phrases seen in different timeframes : last hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, 1 day, 2 days and 1 week.

Twitterholic provides insight to the top 100 twitters according to the number of updates, number of friends and number of followers. Twitterholic does not reveal the actual buzz, but rather the users who are likely to create the buzz.

As English is currently the most frequently used language by twitters, most services only provide information for English. Persons looking for twitters using other languages will have to wait a little bit before other, more localised services will pop up.