CHARTS OF THE WEEK: How Many Users Does Twitter REALLY Have?

SAI chart Twitter following

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  • Myspace’s Revenue Collapse
  • Apple’s Developer Conference Is The Hottest Ticket In Town
  • Amazon Still Has A Gigantic Growth Opportunity, Even In Books And Electronics
  • How Many Users Does Twitter REALLY Have?
  • Facebook Has Little Effect On What You Buy Online

Myspace's Revenue Collapse

The Wall Street Journal twisted the knife in Myspace with a devastating report that says advertisers are running away from the dying social network.

The big problem with MySpace, according to the people that spoke with the Journal: It's in a state of flux and there's no telling what it will be in the next few months. Why advertise on a site you can't figure out?

It included the following chart which shows the absolute collapse in revenue for the company over the last three years with an ugly forecast for this year.

Apple's Developer Conference Is The Hottest Ticket In Town

Apple's iPad 2 isn't its only product in short supply this month: The company's Worldwide Developers Conference sold out in record time this year, just hours after tickets went on sale yesterday.

Here's how this year's sellout compared to previous years, based on press reports from sites like Macworld, Ars Technica, and MacRumors.

Why is WWDC such a big deal? (Especially this year, when Apple supposedly won't even announce a new iPhone?)

As Instapaper developer Marco Arment explains, WWDC is the only mass gathering where actual Apple engineers really explain stuff to you about how their systems work, and will actually look at your code in hands-on lab sessions. Plus, if you're in the biz, it's a great social and professional networking opportunity.

Amazon Still Has A Gigantic Growth Opportunity, Even In Books And Electronics

Amazon still has tremendous growth opportunities ahead, Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt writes today.

Despite Amazon's growth so far, it still only represents 8% of global e-commerce, Devitt writes -- and ecommerce is only 6% of retail.

Therefore, as Amazon continues to steal market share from retailers -- Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Best Buy are immediate U.S. targets -- Devitt thinks it can reach $100 billion in revenue by 2015. That's more than double the $45 billion in sales that the Street expects from Amazon this year.

Even Amazon's mature industries like books can still produce plenty of growth. Today's chart shows Amazon's media and 'EGM' (electronics and general merchandise) sales -- versus the competition, and versus the broader books and consumer electronics market.

How Many Users Does Twitter REALLY Have?

How many people use Twitter? Many fewer than Twitter would lead you to believe.

According to its 'about' page, Twitter has 175 million registered users. But 'registered users' is a funny term. What it really means is the number of accounts. So, according to Twitter, 175 million Twitter accounts have been opened during Twitter's history.

That's nice to know, but it doesn't really answer our question, does it? Fleshed-out a bit, our question is: How many individuals are active users of Twitter?

Facebook has a simple answer to this question. It says 600 million people visit Facebook each month, and that half come back every day.

Twitter doesn't share this number.

Fortunately, we know someone with full access to Twitter's API. Even more fortunate, this person took it upon himself to have an engineer write up some code and actually count the real number of users on Twitter.

Well, that's sort of what he did. What he actually did was look at follower/following statistics, to see how many users are following or are followed by a certain number of people.

Using data that is now just one month old, he found out that…

  • There were 119 million Twitter accounts following one or more other accounts.
  • There were 85 million accounts with one or more followers.

With these figures, and Twitter's claim of 175 million accounts, a little subtraction shows us that there are 56 million Twitter accounts following zero other accounts, and 90 million Twitter accounts with zero followers.

Those are some interesting figures, because they show us Twitter is much smaller than the '175 million!' number might lead us to believe.

But they still don't answer our question: How many active users does Twitter have?

To get close to answering that question with this data, we have to take a guess at how many accounts an 'active' Twitter user follows.

At Facebook, a company source tells us, they believe that a user is not going to end up sticking around unless they make friends with 10 people.

So let's say an 'active' Twitter user is someone who follows at least 10 other accounts.

How many such 'active' Twitter users are there? Our source's API data shows that there are 56 million accounts on Twitter following 8 or more accounts. There are only 38 million following 16, and just 12 million following 64.

Your author, by the way, follows 700 people. There are only 1.5 million accounts on Twitter following 512 or more accounts.

Some context:

  • Facebook has more than 600 million monthly active users.
  • Foursquare has 7.5 million registered users.
  • The Huffington Post reaches 30 million people each month.

Facebook Has Little Effect On What You Buy Online

While Google is 'super nervous' about the growth of Facebook, here's one data point to put the search company at ease for right now.

According to a Goldman Sachs survey, social sites have very little influence over online shopping decisions. Search engines, and recommendation engines have a much greater influence.

As long as Google has influence over shopping habits, it will continue to pull in big ad dollars. Advertisers tend to want to advertise where there's a chance a purchasing decision can be influenced.

However, in the not too distant future Facebook could become an e-commerce juggernaut with more influence over online shopping. If and when that happens, Google should be really worried.

CHARTS OF THE LAST WEEK: The New York Times' Delusional Digital Pricing Scheme

Click here to see last week's charts as a slideshow →

Or select individually:

  • The New York Times' Delusional Digital Pricing Scheme
  • The Real Reason AT&T Is Buying T-Mobile
  • Did Groupon Have A Terrible February?
  • Look At How Much More Money colour Has Than Its Rivals
  • Investors Run Away From RIM

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