Twitter, Facebook and Zynga holiday records

Ronny Kerr · January 6, 2011 · Short URL:

Twitter experiences record number of tweets/second, Facebook for photos, and Zynga with CityVille

Japan Twitter New Year

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

Meaning “Happy New Year!” in Japanese, it’s the message that set a new record for most number of tweets per second just four seconds after midnight in Japan on January 1st. At that moment, users published 6,939 tweets/sec, more than doubling the previous record of 3,283 tweets/sec, set when Japan defeated Denmark in the World Cup last summer.

The data represents a great milestone for the slowly maturing microblogging service, as it continually aims to be the go-to place for real-time information.

It’s not as epically beautiful as Facebook’s visualization of the world’s social graph, but Twitter has posted a video that represents worldwide tweets as 2011 swept across the world:

Twitter wasn’t the only one to break a record over the holiday season.

Over New Years’ weekend, users uploaded a record 750 million photos to Facebook. Dwarfing nearly every other service on the Web, including dedicated photo sites, Facebook sees over 100 million photos added to its site daily. To match those incredible usage rates, the social network has been fleshing out its photo service, with the help of the brilliant team from Divvyshot, by fine-tuning the upload system and even testing face recognition features.

Finally, Zynga’s CityVille continued capturing more and more users on Facebook, making it the first app to best FarmVille’s record of 83.7 million users set in March 2010. Right now, CityVille has 90.7 million monthly users, a huge win for Zynga, still easily the biggest and most successful developer on the Facebook platform.

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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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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit