Handful of Twitter Users Do All the Tweeting

Daily News Article   —   Posted on June 5, 2009

Note:  This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

(by Emma Barnett, Telegraph.co.uk) – Only 10 per cent of Twitter users account for 90 per cent of all tweets, according to a report from Harvard Business School.

The report found that the use of Twitter is highly concentrated among its most prolific users. This is in contrast to usage patterns on other social networks, such as Facebook, where the top 10 per cent of users account for only 30 per cent of all content, three times less than the amount [of content] created by the top tweeters.

“This implies that Twitter resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network,” the report stated.

Wikipedia, the free online user-edited encyclopaedia , has a similar usage pattern, with 15 per cent of its members creating 90 per cent of all page edits.

The study also found that a typical Twitter user only tweets once in their Twitter lifetime, which supports evidence from a different study, that found half of all users abandon their accounts after one month.

Gender patterns were included in the research piece. Men are apparently more likely to reciprocate their followers’ friendship compared to women and tend to have 15 per cent more followers. They are twice as likely to follow other men too.

Women are 25 per cent more likely to follow a man than a woman, despite there being slightly more females on Twitter than men.

The authors of the study, Bill Heil and Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, could not explain the different gender ratios. Their study looked at a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users during May of this year.

Twitter’s most popular user happens to be male, Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who recently passed the 2m follower mark.

US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is Twitter’s most popular female with 1.7m followers.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the Telegraph. Visit the website at telegraph.co.uk

Questions

1. What is Twitter?

2. What percent of Twitter users account for 90% of all tweets, according to a report from Harvard Business School?

3. How does the percentage of Twitter users sending 90% of all tweets compare with the same percentage of Facbook users entering content at that site?

4. a) What conclusion do the researchers at Harvard make about Twitter based on their data? 
b) Are you surprised by this information?  Explain your answer.

5. Why do you think that a typical Twitter user only tweets once in their Twitter lifetime and that half of all Twitter users give up their account after one month?

6. What do you think is the best way to use Twitter? – For what purpose can Twitter best be used?

7. List the forms of social media you use. Which do you think are most helpful? Which do you find least useful? Explain your answers.

“…the term social media refers to the new wave of Internet-based communication tools such as blogs, social networks, and news aggregators. These sites allow users to post content, communicate with one another, and build online communities based on common goals and interests. In practice, however, social media is emerging as the collective voice of the people on the Internet.”
(from honestreporting.com)


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Background

Twitter is a form of social media.  Social media is defined as:

“…the term social media refers to the new wave of Internet-based communication tools such as blogs, social networks, and news aggregators. These sites allow users to post content, communicate with one another, and build online communities based on common goals and interests. In practice, however, social media is emerging as the collective voice of the people on the Internet.”
(from honestreporting.com)