July 31, 2007

Twitter in Africa

Last week I concluded that there were Twitter users in all European countries, with the exception of three mini-states (Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City).

The picture for Africa is somewhat different. The map below contains quite some white spots.

The penetration of ICT infrastructure and the internet in Africa is far below what it is common in the Western world. With 14 percent of the world’s population Africa still has only 0.3 percent of global actvity in the internet. The average number of hosts per 1000 inhabitants for Africa is 1.74, where the world average density is 33 hosts per 1000 habitants (Source of data).

An additional reason to explain the extreme low number of Twitter users in Africa is the fact that in the former French colonies French is used as official language. In these countries knowledge of English may not be of a sufficient nature to stimulate the few internet users to use Twitter's website only available with an English interface.

The country with the highest Twitter penetration is South Africa, followed by Egypt. Ironically, I found also Twitter accounts in Sudan and Zimbabwe, two of the poorest and worst led countries in Africa. I was unable to find Twitter accounts in a lot of African countries, more precisely : Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo and Zambia.

July 30, 2007

The business model of Twitter

Dave Winer wrote an excellent post on Twitter, describing the different roles of Twitter.

Twitter is
- a network of users
- a micro blogging system
- a relatively open identity system
- an ecosystem

At the same time the guys at Twitter announced an new round of VC financing. One phrase in a blogpost of one of the investors amazed me : The question everyone asks is "What is the business model?" To be completely and totally honest, we don't yet know.

Anyway, I wish the guys at Twitter good luck and I hope they will soon find a business model.

July 25, 2007

Twitter all over Europe

Twitter has at least over 340 000 users with a public account (see this previous blogpost). These users are spread all over the world. I was able to find Twitter users in all European countries, except for Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. If you look carefully, you will notice three white dots for these three countries on the map below.

The list of European countries on Wikipedia excluding all autonomous provinces, British overseas territories and British crown dependencies contains 45 countries. There are 9 countries in Europe with a population of less than a million people. The table below shows the number of Twitter accounts found in these 9 countries. Proportionally to the its population, Iceland has the most Twitter accounts, one Twitter account for each 9678 inhabitants.

Twitter has neglected to register the twitter domain names for the various top level domains in Europe. The majority of the European domain names - especially the commercially most interesting ones - are currently registered by other companies or indivual persons. They are perhaps expecting that Twitter.Inc one day will try to obtain (understand "buy") these domain names. If someone at Twitter.Inc is following this blog, they can perhaps still register the following European domain names (if they are quick enough) :
Twitter.al (Albania)
Twitter.ad (Andorra)
Twitter.by (Belarus)
Twitter.ba (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Twitter.bg (Bulgaria)
Twitter.hr (Croatia)
Twitter.ee (Estonia)
Twitter.fi (Finland)
Twitter.is (Iceland)
Twitter.ie (Ireland)
Twitter.mk (Macedonia)
Twitter.mt (Malta)
Twitter.md (Moldova)
Twitter.mc (Monaco)
Twitter.pt (Portugal)
Twitter.sm (San Marino)
Twitter.si (Slovenia)
Twitter.tr (Turkey)
Twitter.ua (Ukraine)
Twitter.va (Vatican City)

July 22, 2007

Number of Twitter users

In a recent interview (in French) Laurent Pantanacce, author of TwitDir.com, revealed some figures about the number of public Twitter accounts.

On July 18, 2007, TwitDir.com identified 340 000 public Twitter accounts. On average every day 2000 new Twitter accounts are created, as shown on the graph below.

July 2, 2007

Twitterfacts - First state of the Twitosphere in Scandinavia : Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland

Over the last months I published posts where the state of the Twitosphere in different European countries was analyzed : Belgium (April 17, 2007), the Netherlands (April 22, 2007), Italy (May 7, 2007), Spain (May 18, 2007) and Ireland (June 23, 2007).

This time I analyzed the state of the Twitosphere in 4 Scandinavian countries : Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. A photo was taken of the Twitosphpere in these four countries at the same time, which makes it easy for comparison.

Sweden is the country with the largest population, almost twice as much as in the other three countries. I have listed in the table below for each country the number of active Twitter accounties I was able to find, the population according to Wikipedia and the number of people per Twitter account. Sweden, the biggest country, has proportionally the highest number of Twitter accounts. Finland has the lowest density of Twitter accounts, which can perhaps be caused by the fact that Jaiku, an alternative for Twitter, was developed in Finland. The first Twitter users in all Scandinavian countries appeared almost a year ago, between mid July 2006 and end August 2006. The oldest accounts for each country are listed below.

number of Twitter accounts307187238670
population (million)5,45,24,69,1
number of inhabitants per Twitter account17.59027.80719.32813.582
date of first Twitter messageJuly 19, 2006August 14, 2006August 30, 2006July 31, 2006

Oldest Twitter accounts from Denmark
http://twitter.com/peme - Per Meldgaard - first message on 19/07/2006
http://twitter.com/boetter - Jacob Bøtter - first message on 21/09/2006
http://twitter.com/Svanes - Christian Sv Kolding - first message on 23/09/2006
http://twitter.com/ML - Morten Lund - first message on 25/09/2006
http://twitter.com/balslev - Jesper - first message on 28/09/2006

Oldest Twitter accounts from Finland
http://twitter.com/dw - dw - first message on 14/08/2006
http://twitter.com/Jaakko - juicyburger - first message on 22/08/2006
http://twitter.com/nette - nette - first message on 11/09/2006
http://twitter.com/jyri - Jyri Engeström - first message on 26/09/2006
http://twitter.com/olli404 - Olli 404 - first message on 26/10/2006

Oldest Twitter accounts from Norway
http://twitter.com/Elisabeth - Elisabeth - first message on 30/08/2006
http://twitter.com/asgeirn - Asgeir S. Nilsen - first message on 3/09/2006
http://twitter.com/larskflem - larskflem - first message on 7/11/2006
http://twitter.com/einar - Benjamin Jacobsen - first message on 9/11/2006
http://twitter.com/oyvind - Oyvind Solstad - first message on 17/11/2006

Oldest Twitter accounts from Sweden
http://twitter.com/alexanderljung - Alexander Ljung - first message on 31/07/2006
http://twitter.com/moonhouse - David Hall - first message on 4/09/2006
http://twitter.com/plindberg - Peter Lindberg - first message on 4/09/2006
http://twitter.com/Jonas_Blind_Hen - Jonas - first message on 6/09/2006
http://twitter.com/Johan - Johan - first message on 8/09/2006

History of the Twitter accounts
This first graph below shows the history of the Twitter accounts in the 4 countries. The graph is based on the date of the first message posted on each of the public Twitter accounts. Please be careful with your analysis of the graphs, the scale for Sweden goes to 600, the scale for the other three graphs goes only to 300. The second graph shows the same information, but on the same plot. From the start until December 2006, the number of Twitter accounts in the 4 countries was about the same. From April 2007 the number of Twitter accounts in Sweden, the largest country, accelerated stronger than in the 3 other countries.

Public of Private
A Twitter user can indicate in his profile that his Twitter messages are only visible to their friends. The percentage of private Twitter accounts varies from 6% (Finland) over 7% (Norway) to 8% (Norway and Sweden). These percentage have to be compared to 22% for Belgium, 9,5% for the Netherlands, 8,3% for Spain and 3,5% for Italy.
Private Twitter accounts 26121754
Percentage Private accounts8%6%7%8%

Number of friends
Percentage Twitter users without friends27%32%42%32%
Average number of friends 8,614,958,554,08
Highest number of friends 3055759573

The average number of friends in the 4 countries (between 4 and 9) is rather low compared to the average number of friends in the previously analyzed countries : 8,8 for Ireland, 9,6 for Belgium, 13,5 for the Netherlands, 15,8 for Spain and finally 32 for Italy. As the analysis for some of these countries was performed more than a month ago, these values have probably increased by now.

Top 5 for Denmark
http://twitter.com/dltq - Raymond - 305 friends
http://twitter.com/NickWilson - Nick Wilson - 178 friends
http://twitter.com/SPAMfighter - SPAMfighter - 93 friends
http://twitter.com/haugstrup - Andreas Haugstrup Pe - 66 friends
http://twitter.com/Heilemann - Heilemann - 62 friends

Top 5 for Finland
http://twitter.com/wxhelsinki - Helsinki Weather - 57 friends
http://twitter.com/vascellari - Andrea Vascellari - 52 friends
http://twitter.com/jatta - so much about myself - 34 friends
http://twitter.com/jarkko - Jarkko Laine - 26 friends
http://twitter.com/msameer - Mohammed Sameer - 26 friends

Top 5 for Norway
http://twitter.com/ap1978 - Anders Pedersen - 595 friends
http://twitter.com/oyvind - Oyvind Solstad - 100 friends
http://twitter.com/clq - Christian L. Quale - 99 friends
http://twitter.com/arnor - Twisted Intellect - 87 friends
http://twitter.com/skyelemmon - Skye Lemmon - 57 friends

Top 5 for Sweden
http://twitter.com/rogerjohansson - Roger Johansson - 73 friends
http://twitter.com/Johan - Johan - 69 friends
http://twitter.com/aragszxki - baki cakici - 56 friends
http://twitter.com/dreamlandind - Per S - 52 friends
http://twitter.com/dangli - Daniel Glifberg - 46 friends

Number of followers
A follower is someone who has indicated another Twitter account as friend and receives all updates of that other Twitter account.

Percentage Twitter users without followers31%32%42%34%
Average number of followers 9,335,786,765
Highest number of followers 23370269247

Top 5 for Denmark
http://twitter.com/NickWilson - Nick Wilson - 233 followers
http://twitter.com/Heilemann - Heilemann - 181 followers
http://twitter.com/dltq - Raymond - 171 followers
http://twitter.com/JonasRask - Jonas Rask - 138 followers
http://twitter.com/haugstrup - Andreas Haugstrup Pe - 75 followers

Top 5 for Finland
http://twitter.com/jyri - Jyri Engeström - 70 followers
http://twitter.com/alc990 - andi - 50 followers
http://twitter.com/ernesto_jimenez - Ernesto Jiménez - 44 followers
http://twitter.com/jaro - Jaro - 29 followers
http://twitter.com/msameer - Mohammed Sameer - 30 followers

Top 5 for Norway
http://twitter.com/ap1978 - Anders Pedersen - 269 followers
http://twitter.com/clq - Christian L. Quale - 63 followers
http://twitter.com/jillaroo - Jill Walker - 57 followers
http://twitter.com/skyelemmon - Skye Lemmon - 51 followers
http://twitter.com/Elisabeth - Elisabeth - 47 followers

Top 5 for Sweden
http://twitter.com/Trendio - Trendio - 247 followers
http://twitter.com/aziz - Aziz Ashofté - 77 followers
http://twitter.com/rogerjohansson - Roger Johansson - 77 followers
http://twitter.com/Johan - Johan - 68 followers
http://twitter.com/aragszxki - baki cakici - 67 followers

Twitter users can publish messages to let their friends and perhaps everyone else if their account is public knwo what they are doing. A Twitter message is also called an update (or a Tweet).

Percentage Twitter users without updates6%7%3%3%
Average number of updates 55,7950,2145,1848,3
Highest number of updates 17496369191098

The average number of updates in the 4 countries (between 5 and 10) is again rather low compared to the average number of followers in the previously analyzed countries : 72 for Belgium, 83 for Ireland, 88 for the Netherlands, 106 for Spain and finally 106 for Italy.As the analysis for some of these countries was performed more than a month ago, these values have probably increased by now. In the other countries I found several Twitter accounts for which the Twitter messages were automatically generated (by so called Twitter bots). These Twitter bots seem to be missing in the 4 countries.

Top 5 for Denmark
http://twitter.com/NickWilson - Nick Wilson - 1749 updates
http://twitter.com/NielsChristian - Niels Christian - 1196 updates
http://twitter.com/jdbauer - Jonathan David Bauer - 1023 updates
http://twitter.com/dltq - Raymond - 742 updates
http://twitter.com/gunnarhafdal - Gunnar Hafdal - 437 updates

Top 5 for Finland
http://twitter.com/dw - dw - 636 updates
http://twitter.com/ernesto_jimenez - Ernesto Jiménez - 565 updates
http://twitter.com/adelate - Noora - 416 updates
http://twitter.com/anamorphic - Joe - 407 updates
http://twitter.com/arabella - arabella - 355 updates

Top 5 for Norway
http://twitter.com/ap1978 - Anders Pedersen - 919 updates
http://twitter.com/marcusramberg - Marcus Ramberg - 474 updates
http://twitter.com/arnor - Twisted Intellect - 446 updates
http://twitter.com/Timo - Timo - 354 updates
http://twitter.com/unclr - rogrrr - 354 updates

Top 5 for Sweden
http://twitter.com/svartling - stefan svartling - 1098 updates
http://twitter.com/dreamlandind - Per S - 802 updates
http://twitter.com/aragszxki - baki cakici - 705 updates
http://twitter.com/pivic - Niklas Pivic - 628 updates
http://twitter.com/skamuel - Samuel Linde - 594 updates

Degree of activity
Twitter accounts with no update in the last 20 days57%53%59%59%
Twitter accounts with an update in the last 7 days27%32%21%28%

More than half of the Twitter users in the 4 countries did not post an update in the last 20 days. They can perhaps be considered as inactive accounts. In Finland only one third of the Twitter users did post an update in the last 7 days. For Norway this was only a little bit more than one fifth of the Twitter users.

This state of the 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 metrics used to characterize the Twitosphere in the 4 Scandinavian countries produces rather similar values for the 4 countries. The values observed for the Scandinavian countries are however different from the previously analyzed countries.

The Twitosphere in the 4 considered Scandinavian countries is still growing. The history graphs above show that there are still new Twitter accounts being created. On the other hand only between 21% (Norway) and 32% (Finland) of the Twitter users with a public profiel did post at least one Twitter message during the last 7 days. Twitter accounts in the 4 countries have less friends and less followers compared to Twitter users from Italy and Spain. Perhaps the critical mass to make a Twitter (sub) community succesful is not reached in the Scandinavian countries. Or can the low networking indicators be explained by cultural factors ? Are Scandinavians more reserved compared to people from the south of Europe ?