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Archives: March 2010

The Average Twitter User is 39.1 Years Old (And Probably A Woman)

Some interesting analysis from Brian Solis (courtesy of data provided by Pingdom) that suggests that the average Twitter user is 39.1 years of age, most likely female, and that all of social media is dominated by persons in the 35-44 demographic.

The Average Twitter User is 39.1 Years Old (And Probably A Woman)

Twitter isn’t for kids, at least not at the moment. Some 65% of all Twitter users are over the age of 35. This is good news for brands and marketers – there’s lots of disposable income there. We’ve suspected, and even known about this age-bias for some time, but it’s nice to be reminded of what increasingly appears to be a fact.

Of course, statistics can be misleading, and you certainly have to be very careful with averages. If you think about it, the ‘average person’ has one testicle and one breast. Still, Brian’s study is excellent and well worth a moment of your time.

PS. Brian’s new book, Engage, is out now, and I’ll hopefully be reviewing it very soon.

Has Twitter Ran Out Of Steam, Or Is It Taking A Breather Before The Next Big Push?

I’d like to have a look at yesterday’s Twitter traffic data from a different angle.

As I wrote in the piece, February is a short month, and this definitely accounts in part for the drop in Twitter.com’s month-by-month numbers. Furthermore, Compete’s data is very US-centric, and with Twitter.com possibly now accounting for less than 20% of all Twitter usage (different source here), it should, as I’ve consistently mentioned, be taken with a pinch.

But it still has value. Even with February being a shorter month, Twitter.com’s numbers were, at best, flat. Indeed, the website hasn’t really gained any ground with new visitors since June 2009, continuously hovering around the 22-23 million uniques mark ever since reaching that peak.

So, what about daily averages? Using Compete’s data, I’ve put together this chart.

Has Twitter Ran Out Of Steam, Or Is It Taking A Breather Before The Next Big Push?

Again, this is US-centric, but as we can see Twitter.com hasn’t seen any day-on-day growth since June. Indeed, it seems almost as if the website has become pegged against its users, like a currency. Is it consolidating for the next move upwards, or have we already seen the highs?

Read more

Twitter Traffic Down -9.63% For February, Facebook -4.32%, LinkedIn -8.30%, Friendfeed +71.79%

This is a monthly series that looks at visitor data for all the major social networks as calculated by Compete.com. Compete is USA-biased, and certainly in the case of Twitter the visitor numbers are distorted by the openness of Twitter’s API and the numerous Twitter software clients, but on a like-for-like basis the numerics have value and warrant investigation. Please refer to previous installments in this series for a more detailed overview.

Twitter traffic fell an eye-opening -9.63% in February, registering 21,303,254 unique visitors, and 143,947,420 overall (-5.01%).

Twitter Traffic Down -9.63% For February, Facebook -4.32%, LinkedIn -8.30%, Friendfeed +71.79%

Even accounting for a growing use in Twitter clients (which do not register at Compete), and February being a shorter month, that’s a pretty worrying statistic for Evan Williams et al, especially as they prepare their much-hyped advertising platform.

Facebook and LinkedIn also fell sizeably, down -4.32% and -8.30% respectively. Overall visits at Facebook dipped -2.51% to just over 2.8 billion.

MySpace took the biggest hit, losing -11.52% of unique visitors.

Elsewhere, Friendfeed rallied an impressive +71.79%, registering 858,703 uniques, its highest point since August 2009.

Assuming these figures are accurate (and remembering that they predominately reflect US data and visits to .coms), it’s a very mixed bag indeed, and possibly of concern for the larger social networking platforms. It’ll be interesting to see if February’s figures are an anomaly, and all sites bounce back in March, or whether we are witnessing the beginning of a more significant downtrend across all of social media.

Twitter Launches @Anywhere For YouTube, Amazon, Yahoo, eBay (And Your Other Favourite Sites)

From the official blog, and announced at SXSW by Evan Williams:

We’ve developed a new set of frameworks for adding this Twitter experience anywhere on the web. Soon, sites many of us visit every day will be able to recreate these open, engaging interactions providing a new layer of value for visitors without sending them to Twitter.com. Our open technology platform is well known and Twitter APIs are already widely implemented but this is a different approach because we’ve created something incredibly simple. Rather than implementing APIs, site owners need only drop in a few lines of javascript. This new set of frameworks is called @anywhere.

(Read more.)

Sites that will be using the @anywhere technology on launch will include:

Twitter Launches @Anywhere For YouTube, Amazon, Yahoo, eBay (And Your Other Favourite Sites)

What, no Facebook?

Not a lot of detail on how this is really going to work, and I can’t quite figure out if it’s going to be much more than the bastardised Twitter widgets a lot of folks are already using on their sites.

Still, there’s perhaps a focus here on targeting users that want to consume information on Twitter far more than they wish to contribute towards it, and this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late. It interests me, and it’s an area I feel I might have overlooked (and even dismissed) in the past.

Foolishly so, as there will always be more readers than writers, certainly capable ones – often it’s simply that many of the latter are so loud that our senses are easily fooled. And when it comes to noise, the former bear no responsibility at all.

Meanwhile, the @anywhere account is real (and new) and you can follow it here.

When Twitter Becomes Too Big To Fail (Even For A Few Hours)

Yesterday, Twitter had all sorts of problems.

Many users had frozen timelines that hadn’t updated for hours, and others weren’t able to log into the service at all.

When Twitter Becomes Too Big To Fail (Even For A Few Hours)A lot of people were, perhaps understandably, furious. It’s often only when something is taken away from us, or presented in a way that is less than ideal or compromised, that we begin to realise the true value.

I reported on the issue, and when it looked like it wasn’t going to be resolved anytime soon, I did what I felt was the smartest thing in the situation – I closed down my computer, and I went out for the day.

If necessary, I could still monitor events on my iPhone. But really, it was nice to have a break. I’m on Twitter a lot, but it isn’t my life. My work, family and friends all come first, although my television time has definitely taken a beating.

But it is a huge part of my life, and that holds true for a lot of other people, too, including brands, journalists, small business owners, and everybody else who uses the resource to send and receive news, information and ideas. Twitter needs to sort out these downtime problems, because as the platform continues to expand and becomes an even bigger part of all of our lives, these blackout periods are increasingly becoming unacceptable.

The company hasn’t quite reached the too big to fail stage, at least not yet, but the concept has. After two years, Twitter isn’t something I do anymore. It just is. I don’t think, “I should see what’s happening on Twitter!” and then make myself go there. It’s all very natural and organic. I realise it isn’t that way for everybody, or even most people, but, month by month, it’s getting there. Every day, there’s more of us, and less of them.

As Dave Winer suggests, Twitter needs to start thinking about the big picture and sharing the server workload, even if it’s with competitors. If it’s an issue, now, with an estimated hundred million users, just how big a problem, and how much of an impact is downtime going to make on our lives when a billion people are left blankly staring at the error page?

(And the best part? When it finally comes back, half of all the new tweets are users complaining that the service was down. I’m just grateful there was something on TV.)

Twitter Having Login Problems, Many User Timelines Are Frozen

All sorts of issues on Twitter today. Some users are experiencing frozen timelines, and while Twitter is aware of the problem lots of folks are still unable to see any new tweets from yesterday. Those whose timelines have been restored are reporting a gap in their history of up to 12 hours.

Others are unable to login to Twitter.com at all, and I’m getting the super-useful something is technically wrong page over and over.

You can feel it, too. The network seems like a wilderness.

Hit the comments to let me know of any problems you’re having.

UPDATE: The issue seems entirely tied into Twitter.com. I still can’t access the home page. However, all Twitter clients (TweetDeck, Seesmic, Tweetie, HootSuite etc) appear to be functioning normally, although many timelines have been impacted simply through a lack of updates from those who predominately access Twitter via the web.

If You Get Value Out Of Twittercism, Please Recommend It To Your Friends. Here’s How You Can Help!

Twittercism is a now little over a year old. In that brief period of time this blog has expanded from fairly humble beginnings to a fully-fledged Twitter resource, providing commentary, tips, tutorials and guides, as well as a little bit of occasional criticism, too.

Over 7,000 people now read Twittercism on a daily basis, accessing the content via RSS feed, email, Facebook and Twitter itself.

I’m on a big expansion drive at the moment, and I’d absolutely love if it you could help me out. Everything on Twittercism is completely free, and if you feel you’ve received some value from the articles and information I’ve written and published on this site, it would be incredible if you could help me grow the readership of this blog by recommending it to your friends.

It’s very easy to do. Here’s how you can help, and I’m also going to lay out for you the various ways you can subscribe to Twittercism.

Note: All of these subscription methods are 100% free of charge, and you can opt out at any time.

Email

Subscribe to Twittercism by emailAlmost three hundred people receive their updates from Twittercism via email. This goes out no more than once per day, and only when there’s something to say. No update, no email!

I’m really hoping to expand my email readership as in the weeks ahead I’m going to start sending out Twittercism newsletters, and these will only be available to email subscribers. The newsletters won’t be published on this blog or shared via Facebook or Twitter. Just email!

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POLL: Have You Ever Bought Anything Through Twitter?

Pretty simple question – have you ever clicked on a link in Twitter and gone on to make a direct purchase because of that click?

It’s a basic yes/no, but I’d like you to really think about it before answering. Certainly don’t dismiss this out of hand without some consideration.

Remember, this can be anything that resulted in a sale being made to you because of an interaction on Twitter – for example, a link that went to a book on Amazon that you bought. Or a t-shirt. Or a video game. Or a DVD.

Or it might even be participation in an affiliate program, or maybe somebody linked an eBay auction to Twitter, and you ended up clicking on the ‘buy it now’ button.

Anything. The only important part is the process began on Twitter, and ended with a sale.

(Note that I’m not asking if you’ve ever bought anything from Twitter. Those opportunities are yet to come.)

Hit the comments to expand on what it is that you purchased. I’m genuinely curious and would love to know the role that Twitter played in that sale.

[poll id="13"]

Maybe @HootSuite Pro Is The Answer?

Maybe @HootSuite Pro Is The Answer?I’ve written before about how much I love HootSuite, and that the only thing that stops me from rating it as the perfect Twitter client is that it doesn’t allow users to choose which URL shortener they want. Instead, you’re stuck with ow.ly, which has some nice stats and things like that, but because of the frame ow.ly adopts is pretty unpopular with a lot of users.

End result? Your retweets suffer. Massively.

Jonathan proposes that a Greasemonkey script might be a workaround solution, and has found one here.

But hacks are never ideal. HootSuite has a big-enough user base – and is close enough to being perfect – that a premium version of the software could be well-received by a lot of fans, particularly the Twitter power-users and brands that love the superb features of the client.

For a few dollars a month – and I mean a few – HootSuite Pro could give us:

  1. A choice of URL shortener (of course, everybody should go for bit.ly, but having a choice is the way to go) with full integration, including the stats
  2. More profiles
  3. Better management of our HootSuite team (i.e., being able to see stats for each)

Of course, this would all sync perfectly with the HootSuite iPhone app (which is highly recommended) as it does now (but you’d lose the ads). It would be nice to see things like Twitter-style retweets appearing in our stream, too.

Where’s the downside? HootSuite gets a revenue stream, and lots of us get what we want.

Why are desktop-based Twitter apps so scared of charging for their fine products? Hasn’t the success of Tweetie et al taught us anything? If you make your client absolutely first class, people will pay. They won’t pay a lot, but enough of them will pay something to make a difference for you. And you can still fund everybody else with adverts and ow.ly.

Here’s the thing: for me, stuff like Facebook and Foursquare implementation within my Twitter client is not important. In fact, I don’t care. If I want Facebook, I’ll go to Facebook.com.

However, if I want Twitter, going to Twitter.com isn’t really the best solution. That’s why I go to HootSuite. But if I have to co-manage HootSuite with bit.ly sidebar (for links) and Twitter.com (for retweets) then the process is broken.

And when somebody comes along who fixes all of this, I, like a ton of other people, will inevitably jump ship. HootSuite’s in a position here to do something really special. Let’s hope they make their move in time.

Twitter Now Wants You To Tweet (Not Update)

A minor, but important change that’s been slowly creeping its way into Twitter.com this week. And now that I’ve got it, I assume everybody has – Twitter has replaced the ‘update’ button on the website (below the text box) with the insular, but significantly more definitive, ‘tweet’.

Twitter Now Wants You To Tweet (Not Update)

Twitter has been furiously trying to trademark both tweet and retweet in recent months, with little success. In November, the company adjusted the call-to-action text on the homepage, changing it from ‘What are you doing?’ to the more philosophical ‘What’s happening?’

It’s all about the little things.

Still, it’s fairly evident that the platform has been moving away from being a simple status update service, both in terms of how it is seen and wants to be seen, and this change likely reflects that forward-thinking.

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