Everyone loves social networking

Ronny Kerr · February 9, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/16e4

90 percent of U.S. users social network; users spend 15 percent of online time on social sites

To follow up on data we published yesterday furthering evidence of Facebook’s rise to online dominance, we’re presenting today a wealth of more social networking data from 2010, courtesy of comScore.
So many astounding figures abound, it’s hard to pick where to start. No matter what, everything points back to one fact: people love their social networks.
Nine in 10 U.S. Internet users visit a social networking site monthly. In fact, for users age 15 and older, 14.4 percent of all time spent online in 2010 was spent on a social networking site. The average user spent over 4.5 hours each month on social sites. The international picture is pretty similar, with users age 15 and older spending 15.6 percent of online time on social networks.
The majority of all that time, of course, is being spent on Facebook.

Increasing 38 percent versus the year before, the site’s audience grew from 111.9 million to 153.9 million, making it the fourth most visited Web property and the most visited social networking site by a long shot. Myspace’s audience continued to wither, in spite of changes at the company, internal and external. (Hey News Corp., is the site for sale yet?)
U.S. users spend more of their time on Facebook than any other destination, with 49.4 billion minutes being spent on the site for December 2010, up 79 percent from 27.6 billion a year before. Total page views for the month grew 71 percent from 44.9 billion in 2009 to 76.9 billion in 2010.
As far as demographics go, Facebook didn’t see many substantial shifts in what age groups use the site. Twitter, however, saw a 9.4 percent gain in 18-34 year olds using the site, making up 46.6 percent of the site’s visitors versus 37.3 percent a year ago. The 18 and under age range dipped 8.0 percent from 17.5 percent of Twitter’s visitors to just 9.5 percent.

More broadly, comScore found that women are widening the gap by increasingly using social networking sites more than men. Women spend 16.8 percent of their online time (one out of every six minutes) on social sites, versus 12.0 percent for men.

Now it's not very hard to imagine why advertising on Facebook is huge.

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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 Twitter.com, 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 Twitter.com, 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 Virginamerica.com 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.