Twitter seeing 50 million tweets per day

Chris Caceres · February 22, 2010 · Short URL:

Twitter slowing down? I don't think so...

Twitter may have seen some slowdown in regards to traffic on its site, but when it comes to measuring tweets per day, the micro-blogging startup is seeing phenomenal growth.

On Monday, the company revealed it is now seeing 50 million tweets per day.

To put this number into perspective, just back in January of 2007, Twitter was seeing a mere 5,000 tweets per day.  One year later, that number grew to 300,000 and by 2009, Twitter was seeing 2.5 million tweets per day.  By the end of last year the service grew 1,400% to 35 million per day.

Twitter's Kevin Weil said these 50 million tweets per day equal about 600 tweets per second.  He also noted the above graph only accounts for real tweets, not those identified as spam, (which I've definitely come across in my tweeting days.)

Another interesting concept brought up by Weil was the fact Twitter is simply counting individual tweets by users.  Once those tweets are created, they are delivered to multiple followers, and retweeted, etc.  Those numbers could exponentially increase the numbers we are seeing right now.  Weil said, "Tweets per day is just one number to think about.  We'll make time to share more information."  

Last year was a major year for Twitter.  It saw its service explode during major news events like the Hudson River plane crash, which was first reported via Twitter, users Tweeting news during the Iranian conflict, and simply any other major news event you can pretty much think of - let's not forget Michael Jackson's death as well.


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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.