I found today an excellent article by Nicholas Carlson at BusinessInsider.com which does an in-depth analysis of Twitter’s userbase size.

According to Twitter, as of September 2010, there are over 175 million registered accounts.

That is a pretty massive number, even when compared with Facebook’s over 600 million monthly active users…

Facebook claims that 50% of those 600 million users come back on a daily basis.

However… Twitter does not reveal how many of those 175 million accounts are active users.

What makes this piece most interesting is that Nicholas happens to have a contact with full access to the Twitter API, and that individual engaged an engineer to program a way to use the API in order to count the number of actual users.

The process involved counting the number of followers a user has, as well as how many users that person is following.

Tracking that data over a month, Nicholas developed the following chart which reveals some very interesting insights about Twitter’s userbase:

Size of Twitter Userbase


Applying the best estimates to the data collected,the API data shows that there are 56 million accounts on Twitter following 8 or more accounts ( a very conservative number of people to follow) – that is far less than 175 million.

I have many acquaintances who have signed up for Twitter just because it was the “in thing” to do when Twitter first started. They may have sent out one or two Tweets and then just went back to their Facebook accounts.

Will they ever go back to using their Twitter accounts? Will they simply leave their profiles “floating on the web” on Twitter’s servers? Only time will tell…

I use Twitter regularly both professionally and for personal use. It has its place and time in my regular lifestyle… Still, I don’t see it able to tie into all the different parts of everyday life for most people as Facebook does.

Which leads me to ask…

What do you think?

Do you have a Twitter account and regularly use it?