Twitter grew 109% in the last year

Ronny Kerr · August 11, 2010 · Short URL:

Main site usage in South America and Asia Pacific grew the most, by 305% and 243%, respectively

Twitter June 2010 YoYThough the biggest milestone made in the past month would have to be Facebook's having reached 500 million registered users, that's not the only social network showing healthy signs of growth.


Usage of the main Twitter site has grown by 109% in the last year, according to comScore, with 93 million unique users visiting the popular microblogging service in June 2010, versus 44.5 million in June 2009. 

Regionally, South America and Asia Pacific saw the biggest growth. The former blew up from 4 million users in June 2009 to 15 million in June 2010 (305% change) and the latter similarly grew from 7 million to 25 million.

As far as main site penetration, Indonesia, Brazil, and Venezuela top the list at 20.8%, 20.5%, and 19.0%, respectively.

Because comScore's data does not take into account Twitter access via third-party applications like Tweetdeck and Seesmic, whose usage rates are not usually insignificant (at least domestically), the report does not portray fully how much Twitter has grown in the past year.

Nevertheless, with well over 100 million users (if we take into account those extra applications), Twitter has affirmed itself as one of the most popular social networking sites on the Web. While only a fifth as large as Facebook, the microblogging site, along with MySpace and LinkedIn, has become an invaluable source of information sharing. 

As noted by Graham Mudd, comScore vice president, search & media, nearly 75% of global Internet users access social sites each month, "making it one of the most ubiquitous activities across the Web." With numbers like that, it's hard to imagine there only being one dominant service in the social space.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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