May 23, 2007

4 Types of Twitter Users

Twitter users within the global Twitter community can be categorized according to different criteria. Based on the number of Twitter messages published and the number of followers I have identified 4 types of Twitter users.

A Lurker is a Twitter user who has published only a few messages and who has a limited number of followers (people reading his Twitter messages). Everyone starts as a Lurker.

A Bot is a Twitter account on which automatically generated messages are published. Such Twitter accounts can be set up to monitor website availability, to republish headlines of a news site or to indicate which songs have been recorded to name only a few examples of usage. These Twitter accounts have mostly only a limited number of followers and many many updates.

High Influentials
An High Influential is a Twitter user who publishes only a limited number of messages and at the same time has a whole herd of followers. High Influentials don't write much, but they are read by many people.

Twitter Stars
A Twitter Star publishes many messages who are read by many followers. These Twitter users tend also to have many friends.

Twitterholic is a service that monitors the Twitter Public Timeline to identify the most popular Twitter users. Twitterholic publishes a top 100 by number of friends, a top 100 by number of followers and a top 100 by number of updates (messages published). I have created a graph with all Twitter users in one of these 3 Twitterholic top 100 lists taking into account the number of updates and the number of followers. The graphs show clearly the relationship between number of messages published ("updates") and the number of readers ("followers").

The 4 types of Twitters users can be easily identified on the graph below.

Some examples of Twitter users/accounts

High Influentials
Dave Troy, developer of Twittervision, Twittermaps and recently also Flickrvision (201 messages, 6130 followers)
John Edwards, American Politician (35 messages, 2541 followers)
Michael Arrington, Techcrunch (167 messages, 1931 followers)
Jason Kottke, influential American blogger (74 messages, jkottke followers)

Twitter Stars
Robert Scoble, Tech Geek Blogger (1892 messages, 3861 followers)
Biz Stone, Twitter Inc. (1489 messages, 1428 followers)
Evan Williams, Twitter Inc. (1472 messages, 2564 followers)
Mr Messina (1326 messages, 998 followers)

Kstop : recorded music (28315 messages, 6 followers)
celebritynews : news and gossip on famous celebs using Twitter (10109 messages, 6 followers)
StationRipper : recorded music (27943 messages, 11 followers)
Keston : website monitoring (10224 messages, 2 followers)

There are lots of them, perhaps you are one ...

The global Twitter community (the Twitosphere) consists of many subcommunities. A subcommunity is charaterized by something the Twitter users have in a common. Good examples are the communities by country. In previous posts on this blog I presented States of the Twitosphere for the Twitter communities in 4 different European countries : Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

In order for a Twitter (sub-) community to be successful, a critical mass of High Influentials and Twitter Stars needs to be present within the community. These High Influentials and Twitter Stars will inspire a lot of followers to use the Twitter platform to exchange messages. The graphs below show the Twitter users identified in Spain, Italy and Norway.

Spain - 1219 Twitter Users identified (for a population of 43,4 million)

Italy - 706 Twitter Users identified (for a population of 58,6 million)

Norway - 101 Twitter Users identified (for a population of 4,6 million)

As the three graphs above use the same scales on the axes, it is easy to compare the different communities. The Twitter communities in Spain and Italy seem to have a significant number of High Influentials and Twitter Stars. The Twitter community in Norway however consists mainly of Lurkers. There are no High Influentials and only one Twitter Star. Future will tell if within the Norwegian Twitter community a few Twitter users will become local High Influentials and Twitter Stars, so that the Norwegian Twitter community will flourish.


Anonymous said...

hmmmm .... it seems to me you left out a very big component. those are the people who post a few twitters per day or week and have a few handfuls of friends.

my stats are probably not that unusual:

627 updates,
72 friends

when you look at the graph, most people are in the middle of it. i suspect my stats would show up somewhere in the middle.

why have names for the outliers but not for the bulk of the distribution?

ok, let's name them, then. let's see, what should we call these twitterers ... (think, think, think) -- aaah! how about "normal people"?

(maybe that's because for once in my life i want to be called normal :)

catepol said...

just to give a name to one of the Italian TwitterStar: catepol

* Following 778
* Followers 656
* Favorites 1,488
* Updates 9,632

yes it's me :-)

Anonymous said...

Ha ha pretty funny!

if anyone wants to add this random chick. its

Anonymous said...

How did you pull the data for the per country graphs?

Anonymous said...

Excellent article! Thank you.

The Car Czar

xfranco said...

Nice! Still an interesting article, thanks. Have you any updated stats avail by any chance. Pls include South Africa.

You can find me at twitter/xfranco

Anonymous said...

I'm a "Twitterstar" ,yet I was not mentioned in your article.Perhaps that's vain or egotistical to say,but it's how I feel.

I'm not a celebrity,just an average woman with little to do with her day,as well as one with a highly addictive personality.

Yours Truly,someone who needs
a Twittervention.

Sara said...

I don't really understand why the stats are so important i just twit and enjoy everything from the social networking, but i love to try new mobile apps all tha time