As reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, a report from analytics company Twopcharts states that only 44 percent of Twitter users have ever sent out a tweet. Before we debate that point, here are some additional facts from the analysis:
- There are currently over 987 million Twitter accounts;
- Only a small portion of those accounts, 127 million, have tweeted in the last 30 days;
- Average number of followers per existing account is 72;
- Average number of following per existing account is 67;
- The average user has sent out 404 tweets;
The initial takeaway is that while there are close to 1 billion Twitter accounts, only a small portion actively create content. But the second stat – that only 44% of users have ever tweeted – is more of a problem for Twitter (harder to use existing users to bring in new users, etc) than a sign that Twitter itself is not useful.
Of course, Twitter is a great communications platform, but it is also a wonderful tool to monitor issues, events, reactions, news, sports and a host of other subjects. In fact, I would argue it is incredibly valuable even if you don’t tweet.
And this is the key point that most social media evangelists neglect to understand: only a small set of users are “power sharers” who open their lives up to their audiences and livetweet their daily lives. There is a sizable audience – up to 44% of the total – who can be called “lurkers”: those who watch but don’t participate.
That’s OK. You still get great value from Twitter as tool to curate information from those you follow. But it is important to remember that there are many audience members you don’t see. But they are there.