How Are People Really Using Twitter?

Pear Analytics released their study of Twitter usage this month and it had some interesting surprises.  To conduct the study, they randomly sampled 2000 Tweets over the course of a 10 days between the hours of 11am and 5pm.  Their original hypotheses was that Twitter was being used primarily for self-promotion.

What the results actually showed was that the majority of tweets were totally pointless babble (41%) followed closely by total conversational (38%).  I knew that I see a lot of totally pointless babble in my Twitter feed, but the beauty of Twitter is that it makes it easy to scan and filter out the nonsense.

I am surprised that the News and Pass Along value are so low.

Excerpt from Pear Analytics Twitter Study

Excerpt from Pear Analytics Twitter Study

Pear also analyzed the Twitter usage by day of week and time of day.  For example, most re-tweets occurred on Mondays and a higher percentage of Pass Along tweets occurred early in the day.

Of course, individuals may get different results based on strictly you screen new followers or how rigorous you are in pruning out Twitter ‘deadwood’.  For example, I generally don’t follow anyone with less than 100 tweets or who do not include a link in their profile.  This keeps my noise level down even with over 1,000 followers.  Because of my self-filtering, my spam total is also fairly low.

It would be interesting to see Pear conduct this survey again or to have it verified by another research study.  But for now, it’s the best analysis out there.

The Pear study also provided these Twitter statistics from Quantcast from June 2009:

  • Twitter reaches 27 million people per month in the U.S.
  • 55% are female
  • 43% are between 18 and 34
  • 78% Caucasian, but African American users are 35% above Internet average
  • Average household income is between $30 and $60k
  • 1% of the addicts contribute 35% of the visits
  • 72% are passers‐by, while only 27% are regular users

You can download the entire Pear Analytics Twitter study from this link.


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