June 29, 2008

2 million Twitter users

On January 6, 2008 I predicted that Twitter would reach 1 million users before April 1, 2008. The source for the number of Twitter users was (and still is) Twitdir. Twitdir finally reported 1 million Twitter users by the end of April. Twitdir announced that their was a flaw in their algorithm to count Twitter users, so the algorithm was changed. The backlog of Twitter users to be detected was caught up several weeks later. Yesterday evening I noticed that Twitdir reported just below 2 million Twitter users. Today the number reported exceeded 2 million.

The oldest Twitter accounts still active were created on March 21, 2006. It took Twitter over 550 days to get to 500,000 users (around the first half of October 2007). 150 days later (around mid March 2008), there were 1 million Twitter users. 50 days later (beginning of May 2008) there were already 1.5 million Twitter users. Another 50 days later Twitter had over 2 million Twitter users (end of June 2008). All these figures are based on the number of users reported by Twitdir.

The question of course is the reliability of the Twitdir figures. I performed a little test. Both Twitter and Twitdir offer the possibility to execute a location based search, returning both the number of Twitter users for a given location. I looked up the number of Twitter users reported by both sources for several locations.

For the 9 search arguments shown above, the number of Twitter users found by Twitdir is 20% to 30% lower than the number found by Twitter itself. It is likely that the number of Twitter reported by Twitter is also an underestmation of the real number. It is possible that there could be at this moment already over 2.5 million Twitter users. Who is capable of providing more insight on this issue ?

June 27, 2008


With the arrival of Twitter, the English vocabulary has gained several new words, Twitter-speak. The Twitter Glossary at the Twitter Fan Wiki is impressive.

I just discovered a new Twitter related new concept, a failwhale. I noticed that several Twitter users who strongly dislike the whale picture informing them that Twitter is not working as expected, changed their profile picture. Their current profile picture is now a failwahle.

Some clever guys have already set up a Twitter account and a website. And furthermore, at Zazzle you can buy failwhale related objects. If Twitter is down again, Twitter users should consider sending out letters or postcards to their followers, each marked with a failwhale stamp.

June 26, 2008

First State of the Twitosphere in France

On this blog I already published several posts with a detailed analysis of the twitosphere in a specific country. From time to time people ask me to have a closer look at their country, e.g. France.

The first question in such an analysis is the number of Twitter users in France. Twitter locates 4371 Twitter users in France (Twitter users who explicitely mention France in their location), Twitdir reports 3367 Twitter users.

Based on the location info in the Twitter profiles, I was able to find 6229 Twitter users in France, still active users. Persons who have closed their Twitter accounts are not included in this number. Because the number of Twitter users not mentioning a true location in their Twitter profile is estimated at around 50%, the actual number of Twitter users in France will probably exceed 6229. With a population of 64.473 million people (source : Wikipedia), the Twitter user density for France is one Twitter account for every 10350 inhabitants. Other European countries have an higher Twitter density, e.g. in Norway there is a Twitter account for every 1350 inhabitants, in The Netherlands there is a Twitter account for every 2800 inhabitants.

History of the Twitter accounts in France
The graph below shows the history of the Twitter accounts from France. The graph is based on the date of the first message posted on each of the public Twitter accounts. Twitter users who haven't published any messages and Twitter users with a private profile (their messages are only visible for their approved followers) are not included in this graph.

Oldest Twitter accounts from France
twitter.com/jdenoy - Johan Denoyer - first message on 18/07/2006
twitter.com/nicoguyon - nicolas guyon - first message on 19/07/2006
twitter.com/danielito - Daniel Gergès - first message on 12/09/2006
twitter.com/tewfiq - tewfiq - first message on 27/09/2006
twitter.com/hakonlo - Håkon Lorentzen - first message on 26/10/2006
twitter.com/i_randulo - fake-randulo - first message on 27/10/2006
twitter.com/zelig - Rafi Haladjian - first message on 5/11/2006
twitter.com/cnicules - ciprian - first message on 6/11/2006
twitter.com/ghotspot - Guy - first message on 16/11/2006
twitter.com/MathieuCoste - Mathieu - first message on 19/11/2006

Private or public
769 Twitter acounts from France or 12% have chosen to keep their updates only available to their friends.

Number of following
A Twitter user can choose to follow one or more other Twitter accounts, called "following". 997 Twitter accounts from France or 16% do not follow other Twitter users. An average Twitter account from France follows 29 Twitter accounts.

Top 10 following
twitter.com/arnaudrobail - rnud Robil - 7.379 following
twitter.com/jeanlucr - Jean-Luc Raymond - 6.313 following
twitter.com/stellafrederic - stellafrederic - 6.260 following
twitter.com/wallpapers - Wallpapers Zone - 5.255 following
twitter.com/neo_igs_police - neo_igs_police - 3.573 following
twitter.com/MMartin - Martin Menu - 1.842 following
twitter.com/HenryMichel - HenryMichel - 1.560 following
twitter.com/LucMandret - Luc Mandret - 1.387 following
twitter.com/valerefagot - valerefagot - 1.213 following
twitter.com/betapolitique - betapolitique.fr - 1.131 following

Number of followers
A follower is someone who has indicated another Twitter account as following and receives all updates of that other Twitter account. 279 Twitter users from France or 4% have no Twitter followers at all, meaning that no one else on Twitter has indicated this account as following. The messages published by these Twitter users are only read by themselves (and by search engines). An average Twitter user from France has 32 followers.

Top 10 followers
twitter.com/arnaudrobail - rnud Robil - 2.204 followers
twitter.com/jeanlucr - Jean-Luc Raymond - 2.134 followers
twitter.com/pressecitron - Eric - 1.688 followers
twitter.com/MMartin - Martin Menu - 1.319 followers
twitter.com/FredCavazza - Frédéric CAVAZZA - 1.293 followers
twitter.com/fubiz - Romain Colin - 1.061 followers
twitter.com/MonsieurDream - Monsieur Dream - 1.035 followers
twitter.com/rodrigo1971 - Rodrigo SEPULVEDA - 1.034 followers
twitter.com/fuelmyblog - Kevin Dixie - 909 followers
twitter.com/guim - GuiM - 887 followers

An update is the term refering to Twitter messages published by a Twitter users. These are also called tweets. The average number of updates for a Twitter users from France is 239. 296 Twitter users (or 5%) are still waiting for their first message to be published. Below you can find two top 10 lists, one with Twitter users where messages are published in an automated way, the second one with "real" Twitter users.

Top 10 updates from "real" Twitter users
twitter.com/Ravana - Ravana - 12.603 updates
twitter.com/strangeblackh - strangeblackhole - 12.163 updates
twitter.com/Bechamel - Jibé - 11.923 updates
twitter.com/Charles_Liebert - Charles Liebert - 9.901 updates
twitter.com/princesszeni - ? zeni - 8.568 updates
twitter.com/dimic - Dimic - 7.747 updates
twitter.com/SimonRobic - Simon Robic - 7.649 updates
twitter.com/jegoun - jegoun - 7.165 updates
twitter.com/seestribe - Jonathan Bonzy - 7.009 updates
twitter.com/stagueve - stagueve - 6.965 updates

Top 10 updates from non human Twitter accounts
twitter.com/lejddfr - lejddfr - 101.639 updates
twitter.com/lci - La Chaine Info - 25.305 updates
twitter.com/fonzz - fonZz - 23.069 updates
twitter.com/xanapa - xanapa - 15.698 updates
twitter.com/FRANCE24 - france24 - 11.831 updates
twitter.com/eddymitchum - Eddy Mitchum - 11.033 updates
twitter.com/funkastik - funkastik - 8.242 updates
twitter.com/pomemail - pomemail - 7.833 updates
twitter.com/le_figaro - le_figaro - 6.755 updates
twitter.com/LeMondeWorld - Le Monde - World - 6.421 updates

Tweet frequency
The tweet frequency is het average number of Twitter messages published on a unit of time, calculcated from the first message published. Twitter accounts created in the last 30 days and Twitter accounts without a Twitter message in the last 30 days were not taken into account.

Top 10 tweet frequency real Twitter users
twitter.com/strangeblackh - strangeblackhole - 52,20 tweets/day
twitter.com/Ravana - Ravana - 30,59 tweets/day
twitter.com/dimic - Dimic - 26,00 tweets/day
twitter.com/rade - radeville - 23,73 tweets/day
twitter.com/waden - Thomas Guillot - 23,55 tweets/day
twitter.com/madd0 - Mauricio DIAZ ORLICH - 22,61 tweets/day
twitter.com/marcvasseur - marcvasseur - 22,07 tweets/day
twitter.com/cpafo - Christopher Rousseau - 20,26 tweets/day
twitter.com/geoffreydorne - Geoffrey Dorne - 18,55 tweets/day
twitter.com/UlrichFR - Ulrich - 18,41 tweets/day

Top 10 tweet frequency non human Twitter accounts
twitter.com/xanapa - xanapa - 71,03 tweets/day
twitter.com/pomemail - pomemail - 49,26 tweets/day
twitter.com/eddymitchum - Eddy Mitchum - 30,14 tweets/day
twitter.com/le_figaro - le_figaro - 21,86 tweets/day
twitter.com/LePoint - LePoint.fr - 19,19 tweets/day
twitter.com/LeMondeWorld - Le Monde - World - 16,51 tweets/day
twitter.com/lesechos - Les Echos - 16,41 tweets/day
twitter.com/GeekMusik - GeekMusik - 15,52 tweets/day
twitter.com/EMSC - EMSC - 13,41 tweets/day
twitter.com/rcstrasbourg - rcstrasbourg - 12,95 tweets/day

Degree of activity
30% of all Twitter users from France have publised at least one message in the last 7 days.
36% of all Twitter users from France have not published a message for more than a month.
17% of all Twitter users from France have published at least message on in the period between 7 and 31 days (older than a week, but in the last month).

12% of all Twitter users from France is private, so no information on their degree activity is available.
On 5% of the Twitter accounts from France not a single message has been published.

The graphs show that there is an active Twitter community in France. It is still growing day by day. The penetration of Twitter in France is however lower than in other European countries. This can be caused by the fact that the Twitter web interface is only available in French (and in Japanese ...). Knowledge of English is not widespread within the French population and people from France tend to stick to their language.

Compared to other countries already analyzed, I was not able to detect many "non human" Twitter accounts, Twitter accounts on which the messages are automatically generated. Examples for such "non human" Twitter accounts are Twitter accounts for news services.

If the Twitter web site would be available in other languages, Twitter would be a greater success, especially in European countries such as France.

June 23, 2008

Tweetburner - clickthrough rates

Tweetburner lets you track what happens with the links you share on Twitter. Links can be recognized as "twurl.nl". Tweetburner is an initiative of two entrepreneurs from The Netherlands.

One of the nice features of Tweetburner is that it generates a lot of statistics. Most of these statistics are even public available to everyone interested. As of this writing, Tweetburner has generated 274418 Twurls (shortened URLs), which have alltogether been clicked 2192254 times. This means that on average each shortened URL has been clicked about 8 times.

I had a closer look at 60 Tweetburner users from The Netherlands, the home country of Tweetburner. The full details of these users can be found in the list below. This list contains probably the most active Tweetburner users from The Netherlands combined with several less active users.

The global average clickthrough rate for Tweetburner shortened URLs is about 8 times. The average clickthrough rate for the observerd Dutch Twitter users varied from 4 (@iPieter) to 54 (@erwblo). The clickthrough rates have to be linked to the number of followers for each of the observed Twitter accounts. If a Twitter user has only a limited number of followers, the number of clicks will be probably low. If on the other hand a Twitter user has very high number of followers, the number of clicks will be (very) low. The ratio of average clicks per number of followers varies for the 60 observed Dutch Tweetburner users from 2% (@pixites - 803 followers) to 91% (@tuecursor - 7 followers).

As the graph illustrates, there seems to be a power relationship between the average number of clicks per follower and the number of followers. Twitter users with a very limited number of followers have very high clickthrough rates. Almost all their followers click on the links in their Twitter messages. Twitter users with a high to very high number of followers have a low clickthrough rate (less then 5%).

This is an analysis of 60 Tweetburners users from the Netherlands. These 60 users have only generated less then 2% of all shortened URLs. It remains to be seen if these conclusions can be extrapolated to all Tweetburner users and even further to all Twitter users using URL shortening services (e.g. tinyurl).

This is the full list of the analyzed 60 Tweetburners users from the Netherlands.

June 11, 2008


TwitArcs is a new tool to visualize content from Twitter. TwitArcs takes the latest 100 tweets for a twitter ID or term of interest and creates a list representation that has arcs connecting messages sent to the same users or that use the same primary term.

Have a look at the snapshot below, or try it yourself (here).