Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Numbers: Cool, But How Many Users Does It Actually Have?

Twitter today published a variety of impressive stats about its growth on the occasion of its fifth anniversary; for instance, it now has 140 million tweets per day, up from 50 million a year ago, and 460,000 accounts created per day.

But what the company didn’t give is a very standard stat for any Web service: How many users it has.

Twitter has for years avoided sharing its number of active users (often defined as people who visit at least once a month). At times it has said how many total registered accounts it has; I believe the last number was “about 200 million,” from an email sent to all users in early February.

It’s true that Twitter is more of a publishing platform than other social Web services, and that many members of its audience are readers and celebrity followers rather than tweeters. Many of its visitors don’t have registered accounts. And much of the messaging service’s distribution is out of its control, on cable news broadcasts and the like.

But the company can indeed measure its usage, and better than third-party stats providers, who don’t have access to all its platforms. By giving out its own specialized stats–like the very cute tweets per second (TPS reports!)–it’s hard to understand Twitter in the context of the rest of the Web.

But! There are now a billion tweets sent per week!

Image via Flickr user Bill Moser.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik