Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Stats Show Twitter Power Users Still Prefer Third-Party Apps

Third-party Twitter clients such as UberSocial, TweetDeck and Echofon generated 42 percent of a large sample of the service’s tweets on a recent day, according to the social media business intelligence firm Sysomos.

Twitter has made clear its intent to clean house of third-party apps, last week telling developers not to build new ones and warning existing app makers that they’re on watch.

To downplay the impact of its stance on users, Twitter said 90 percent of its active users use Twitter’s official apps at least once a month. This includes the Twitter.com Web site and mobile Web site, as well as software clients for iPad, Android and other devices, according to a Twitter spokesperson who replied to a request for comment after this story initially published (it has been updated to reflect her comments).

Sysomos analyzed 25 million tweets sent on March 11, the day Twitter clarified its policy. It’s possible that Sysomos’ tweet sample was not representative; Twitter has released the total number of tweets sent on March 11, and it was 177 million.

But if Sysomos’ measures hold true, Twitter’s cherry-picked stat of 90 percent doesn’t tell the full story. Just because these active users visit an official app over the course of a month doesn’t mean that’s where all their tweets come from.

In fact, it seems highly weird that any active user *wouldn’t* visit the Twitter Web site at least once a month.

Sysomos shows that active Twitter users who do not use Twitter’s apps are among the most active. Many of these third-party apps have been around longer than Twitter’s official alternative and continue to offer more advanced functionality, so it’s quite natural that early adopters and power users will prefer them.

Also, I’d imagine third-party apps are probably often the choice of automated Twitter accounts. Perhaps bots comprise much of that 10 percent of active users who *don’t* visit Twitter apps.

On the whole, it’s possible that with ongoing growth, the dynamic of the company’s user base will move away from power users to a more mainstream audience that prefers Twitter’s basic, consistent official clients.

But as the Sysomos data shows, that doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

The company found 35.4 percent of tweets came from Twitter.com, 8.8 percent from Twitter for iPhone, and 5.5 percent from Twitter for BlackBerry.

Of the non-official apps, those owned or soon-to-be-owned by UberMedia have the largest market share. UberSocial generated 16.4 percent of tweets originated on such clients, followed by TweetDeck with 13.1 percent and Echofon with 9.2 percent.


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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