Facebook dominates but Twitter is rocking

Bambi Francisco Roizen · June 2, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/8ac

It wasn't long ago that MySpace was king

 We love you. We love you not. Social network users are a fickle bunch. 

Long long ago on Internet time - which is last year - MySpace was king of social networks. Nearly 75% of the time spent on social networks was on MySpace back in April 2008. Today, the honor of being the top social network goes to Facebook.

The social networking site, which was valued at $10 billion last week, saw minutes spent on its site surge 700% in April to 13.9 billion minutes in April of this year, according to Nielsen Online's latest report on social networking usage. Today, social network users spend under 25% of their time on MySpace vs. 66% of their time on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Twitter was the fastest-growing social network in April, with minutes spent online soaring 3700%. 

Overall, time spent on social networks across the board jumped 83%.

Makes you wonder who's going to be king of social networks in April 2010.

“Remember Friendster? Remember when MySpace was an unbeatable force?" asked Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights at Nielsen Online. "Neither Facebook nor Twitter are immune. Consumers have shown that they are willing to pick up their networks and move them to another platform, seemingly at a moment's notice.” 

Here are the top social networking and blog sites, ranked by total minutes for April 2009.

Company      minutes '08       minutes '09      percent change

Facebook:       1.7 bln             13.9                    699%

MySpace:        7.3 bln               5.0                    - 31%

Blogger:          449k                  583k                    30%

Tagged:             30k                 328k                   998%

Twitter:              8k                 300k                  3712%

MyYearbook     131k                 269k                    105%

LiveJournal       55k                 204k                     273%

LinkedIn          120k                 202k                      69%

SlashKey            n/a                188k                      n/a

Gaia Online       173k               150k                    - 17%

(Image source: itinual.com)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Author of "Unequally Yoked"; Co-founder Vator and Invent Health; Former Columnist/correspondent Dow Jones MarketWatch; Business anchor CBS affiliate KPIX

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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.

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