If media attention is any indication, Twitter has exploded into an all-out phenomenon. Celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, business leaders and everyday users are flocking to the service en masse, generating a frenzy of activity and attention.
Everybody is talking about Twitter, but what do the numbers say?
eMarketer estimates there were roughly 6 million Twitter users in the US in 2008, or 3.8% of Internet users.
eMarketer projects that the number of Twitter users will jump to 18.1 million in 2010, representing 10.8% of Internet users.
By all measures, Twitter is growing, and quickly.
comScore reported that Twitter.com drew 4 million unique visitors from home, work and college/university locations in February 2009, up from 340,000 a year earlier-a 1,086% increase.
Nielsen Online reported 7 million unique visitors to Twitter.com during the month, up even higher-1,381%-from 475,000 the prior year.
The Compete figures were higher for the month charted, and according to its latest figures, Twitter had over 14 million unique users in March 2009.
comScore also reported a surge in March. After months of double-digit growth, traffic to Twitter.com accelerated 131% to 9.3 million visitors for the month.
And the number of Twitter users is considerably greater than the number of visitors to Twitter.com, as a result of the multiple access points for the service (for example, mobile devices and desktop apps).
What’s driving this phenomenal growth?
“Twitter lets people know what’s going on about things they care about instantly, as it happens,” Evan Williams, Twitter’s CEO, told The New York Times. “In the best cases, Twitter makes people smarter and faster and more efficient.”
A survey of Twitter users from MarketingProfs backs Mr. Williams’ views. On a scale from 1 to 5 (with 1 for strongly disagree and 5 and for strongly agree), the phrase “I find it exciting to learn new things from people” averaged a score of 4.65 and “I value getting information in a timely manner” averaged 4.58.
“Above all, people on Twitter are truly motivated by learning new things and getting information real-time, as it’s developing,” said Ann Handley of MarketingProfs.