There has been a lot written about the growth of Twitter. Hubspot recently provided some nice visualizations of this growth in the US in a guest post by Pete Warden, the founder of OpenHeatMap, a service that allows you to turn your spreadsheet data into a map. Pete noted that nine months after the creation of the service in March 2006, Twitter only had a few thousand users. A year later there were an estimated 150,000 people using the service. He offered a s series of US maps illustrating the growth of Twitter across the US from 2006 to 2009.
Now there are over 93 million global unique users according to Social Media Today on August 15, 2010. As they point out that does not mean the same as 93 million regular users. They mention the research from RJ Metrics showing that 83% of Twitter accounts are dormant every month. There is a base of committed users who are often active in other social media channels that make up for the majority of activity. I do not see an issue with this as that is the case wit most media.
Pete looked at the early days and Twitter provides data on new users by day. You can see spikes and flat areas of growth. With a single influential blog post adding 250 new users in one day when there were only 600 users. However, the continuous growth shows a service that users loved and shared with their friends, instead of one where traffic was driven by high-profile articles and hype.
In March 2007 Twitter won the top award at South-by-Southwest, and Pete wrote that this was when the service really started getting attention. He looked at several cites in this time period. “Austin had a massive growth spurt, from 61 to 402 users in three months, but what's interesting is that almost every other town also went through a similar rise, with Los Angeles going from 88 to 474 twitterers, and Boise jumping from 6 to 30. That roughly five-fold increase over the 3 months was remarkably evenly spread.” What surprised Pete was how little geography mattered for adoption.
He concludes, “one heartening thing for me and any other starving entrepreneur is how eclectic the initial growth was. There were spurts and slowdowns in the beginning, and while it was clearly a success story even at the time, the magnitude of their long-term trajectory wasn't obvious through the noise.”
This is encouraging to us at Darwin. While we growth spurts around events where we presented such as Enterprise 2.0 and Enterprise Search Summit, they continues to be steady interest.