On Thursday, Twitter turned 7 - I can hardly believe it! It seems like just yesterday that everyone was trying to figure out "the Twitter" and what to do with it.
Over the years, Twitter has turned into a successful social media networking site, marketing tool, and customer service channel. I have to admit when it was first launched I didn't think it would last. Maybe that's because I'm too wordy for the 140-character message system. I've learned over time though how to make it work, though it has been a challenge in brevity.
The chart below shows the Twitter usage over time; you can see a huge spike in recent years; this, to me, signals the time that companies really started to "get it" and use Twitter to market to customers and engage with them quickly and with brevity. Of course, it's also become a place where people can follow and keep up with celebrities, the President, and most recently, even the Pope.
Twitter currently sees more than 400 million tweets a day, compared with about 340 million a day a year ago; 32 million at the beginning of 2010; and 2 million a year before that.
The most surprising fact is that Twitter has appealed to the younger set, even the teen crowd, with many teens preferring Twitter over Facebook at times. As the parent of a teenage girl, I had to know more about this. To me, it would seem that Facebook would be more appealing. I've been wrong before though.
Research points to the fact that Twitter is most recently being used as a customer service channel; perhaps this is because it is so fast moving, customers can ask a question of a company and get a response quicker than from other social sites or even email. It is also easier for companies to find customers on Twitter as opposed to other social sites; there are no real filters in place for following; a company can choose to follow anyone very easily. While people can choose not to follow a company back, or even block them if they choose to do so, targeting customers is much easier on Twitter than it might be on Facebook.
Some other interesting changes:
1. As mentioned, the younger set (15-24) has embraced Twitter recently, with a huge upswing in usage from this demographic in 2011 and 2012.
2. Back in 2009, 5% of Twitter users accounted for 75% of Twitter activity; that has grown to 25% of Twitter users engaging on the site multiple times per day.
3. The retweet is like wildfire - media outlets are very active on Twitter, with some saying they are the most active Twitter users. However, a recent study showed that only 15% of media outlet's tweets are received directly from users. The other 85% are received through sharing, or retweets. This goes to show how quickly Tweets can go viral.
4. Users share a variety of information, but mostly about their own lives: 72% of Twitter users Tweet about their own lives, while 53% share links and another 55% retweet others. Only 24% tweet about their location.
The infographic below depicts the most current Twitter trends and statistics:
It looks like Twitter is around to stay, at least for now. Hard to believe it's been 7 years. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Twitter over the next seven!