We knew Twitter was a crowded place. And, as we told you here, we knew Twitter traffic was on the rise. But we had no idea how positively crazy it had become in the Twitterverse. According to Kevin Weil, who heads up the analytics squad over at Twitter, the microblogging platform is seeing something like 50 million tweets a day in 2010 – or, to look at it another way, an average of 600 tweets per second.
"Folks were tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007," Weil writes. "By 2008, that number was 300,000, and by 2009 it had grown to 2.5 million per day. Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day." That's some pretty radical growth. But what do the numbers actually mean? In recent months, several analysts have pointed out that although Twitter traffic is up, the site is struggling to retain users.
In January, for instance, RJ Metrics estimated that the average Twitter user has 27 followers, compared to an average of 42 followers last August. Another interesting stat, also from RJ Metrics: A full 80 percent of Twitter users posts 10 times or less before abandoning his or her Twitter feed. Meanwhile, the Pew Internet and American Life Project says that teens – an influential demographic, as far as online trends go – are flocking to Facebook, but rarely to Twitter.
So how can we interpret Weil's findings? Well, on the one hand, it likely means that Twitter is developing a base of "power users," who tweet hard and tweet often. And no matter which way you slice it, 50 million tweets a day is an impressive, jaw-dropping number. But Twitter clearly has a weakness in the retention and recruitment department: many users aren't staying, and younger users aren't exactly signing on in hordes.