There seems to be a glitch at Twitterholic.
Twitterholic not only shows top 100 lists by number of friends, followers and updates, but it also shows detailed information for a Twitter user account. The page http://twitterholic.com/twitter/USERACCOUNT contains a graph showing the trend for the number of followers for the previous 30 days and a table showing for the last 30 days the number of followers, friends, updates and favorites.
At this moment date ranges for the graphs start from 03/18, 03/19 or 03/20 and end one month later. It seems that the graphs are not updated any more. This makes the page confusing because the (outdated) graph is not in sync with the (up to date) table below.
Bloggers have found last week another strange phenomenum at Twitterholic, surprising gains of thousands of new followers for some Twitter accounts. This problem was situated at Twitter.com and is solved. Also last week another problem concerning private Twitter accounts being visible in Twittervision and Twittermaps got a lot of publicity, although this problem (or a very similar) was also described in a blog post on this blog a few weeks ago. This problem was caused by Twittervision and is also solved by now (see explanation by the guys from Twitter themselves).
How long will it take for the next problem in Twitter or in one of the popular tools in the Twitter-world to get noticed ?
May 29, 2007
There seems to be a glitch at Twitterholic.
May 23, 2007
Twitter users within the global Twitter community can be categorized according to different criteria. Based on the number of Twitter messages published and the number of followers I have identified 4 types of Twitter users.
A Lurker is a Twitter user who has published only a few messages and who has a limited number of followers (people reading his Twitter messages). Everyone starts as a Lurker.
A Bot is a Twitter account on which automatically generated messages are published. Such Twitter accounts can be set up to monitor website availability, to republish headlines of a news site or to indicate which songs have been recorded to name only a few examples of usage. These Twitter accounts have mostly only a limited number of followers and many many updates.
An High Influential is a Twitter user who publishes only a limited number of messages and at the same time has a whole herd of followers. High Influentials don't write much, but they are read by many people.
A Twitter Star publishes many messages who are read by many followers. These Twitter users tend also to have many friends.
Twitterholic is a service that monitors the Twitter Public Timeline to identify the most popular Twitter users. Twitterholic publishes a top 100 by number of friends, a top 100 by number of followers and a top 100 by number of updates (messages published). I have created a graph with all Twitter users in one of these 3 Twitterholic top 100 lists taking into account the number of updates and the number of followers. The graphs show clearly the relationship between number of messages published ("updates") and the number of readers ("followers").
The 4 types of Twitters users can be easily identified on the graph below.
Some examples of Twitter users/accounts
Dave Troy, developer of Twittervision, Twittermaps and recently also Flickrvision (201 messages, 6130 followers)
John Edwards, American Politician (35 messages, 2541 followers)
Michael Arrington, Techcrunch (167 messages, 1931 followers)
Jason Kottke, influential American blogger (74 messages, jkottke followers)
Robert Scoble, Tech Geek Blogger (1892 messages, 3861 followers)
Biz Stone, Twitter Inc. (1489 messages, 1428 followers)
Evan Williams, Twitter Inc. (1472 messages, 2564 followers)
Mr Messina (1326 messages, 998 followers)
Kstop : recorded music (28315 messages, 6 followers)
celebritynews : news and gossip on famous celebs using Twitter (10109 messages, 6 followers)
StationRipper : recorded music (27943 messages, 11 followers)
Keston : website monitoring (10224 messages, 2 followers)
There are lots of them, perhaps you are one ...
The global Twitter community (the Twitosphere) consists of many subcommunities. A subcommunity is charaterized by something the Twitter users have in a common. Good examples are the communities by country. In previous posts on this blog I presented States of the Twitosphere for the Twitter communities in 4 different European countries : Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
In order for a Twitter (sub-) community to be successful, a critical mass of High Influentials and Twitter Stars needs to be present within the community. These High Influentials and Twitter Stars will inspire a lot of followers to use the Twitter platform to exchange messages. The graphs below show the Twitter users identified in Spain, Italy and Norway.
Spain - 1219 Twitter Users identified (for a population of 43,4 million)
Italy - 706 Twitter Users identified (for a population of 58,6 million)
Norway - 101 Twitter Users identified (for a population of 4,6 million)
As the three graphs above use the same scales on the axes, it is easy to compare the different communities. The Twitter communities in Spain and Italy seem to have a significant number of High Influentials and Twitter Stars. The Twitter community in Norway however consists mainly of Lurkers. There are no High Influentials and only one Twitter Star. Future will tell if within the Norwegian Twitter community a few Twitter users will become local High Influentials and Twitter Stars, so that the Norwegian Twitter community will flourish.
May 18, 2007
According to analysis presented at Ebiquity Blog Madrid is the 10th city in the list of cities according to Twitter usage. This is confirmed by Twittermaps, showing a high number of Twitter users in Madrid.
According to Alexa 7,8% of the worldwide traffic to Twitter.com comes from Spain. Again according to Alexa, Twitter.com is the 103rd most popular site in Spain.
These facts convinced me to analyse the state of the Twitosphere in Spain, as I previously did for Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.
Using the same approach as for the previous countries, I managed to find 1219 Twitter accounts from Spain. A Twitter account was considered to be held by someone from Spain if the location explicitely refers to Spain or if the Twitter user was located in Spain according to one of the Twitter mapping mashups. The actual number of Spanish Twitter users is probably higher as only a litle bit more than half of the Twitter users specify their location in their profile (see this previous post). With less inhabitants than Italy, there are more Twitter accounts in Spain. For a population of 44,7 million people, Spain has 1219 Twitter accounts, whereas Italy has a population of 58,9 million people and 706 Twitter accounts.
History of the Spanish Twitter accounts
This graph below shows the history of the Spanish Twitter accounts. The graph is based on the date of the first message posted on each of the public Spanish Twitter accounts. From the end of January 2007 there was an accelaration in the creation of new Twitter accounts in Spain. This growth was further accelerated around end March 2007. The graph indicates that the rate at which new Twitter accounts are created is slowing down from the end of April 2007.
Oldest Twitter accounts from Spain
http://twitter.com/ignazio - ignazio - first message on 18/07/2006
http://twitter.com/raulandres - Raúl Andrés - first message on 11/08/2006
http://twitter.com/shmuel - Shmuel Bowles - first message on 8/09/2006
http://twitter.com/eloyola - Eduardo Loyola - first message on 11/09/2006
http://twitter.com/Cyberfrancis - Francisco - first message on 26/09/2006
Public of Private
103 Twitter acounts from Spain or 8,3% have chosen the keep their updates only available to their friends. This percentage has to be compared with 22% for Belgium, 9,5% for the Netherlands and 3,5% for Italy.
Number of friends
8% of the Spanish Twitter accounts have no Twitter friends at all. An average Twitter account from Spain has 15,8 friends, which is higher than the 9,6 friends for a Belgian Twitter account and 13,5 friends for a Dutch Twitter account, but lower than the 32 friends for an Italian Twitter account. Would this indicate that people in Southern Europe tend to have more friends ?
http://twitter.com/FrikiTV - Friki TV - 370 friends
http://twitter.com/oSiNaReF - oSiRis NaReF - 257 friends
http://twitter.com/donjuan - Don Juan Tenorio - 236 friends
http://twitter.com/mmeida - mmeida - 199 friends
http://twitter.com/mnx - Manu Contreras - 183 friends
Number of followers
A follower is someone who has indicated another Twitter account as friend and receives all updates of that other Twitter account. 6% of the accounts have no Twitter followers at all, meaning that no one else on Twitter has indicated this account as a friend. An average Twitter account from Spain has 16,9 followers. For a Belgian Twitter account there were 10,5 followers, for a Dutch Twitter account there were 12,5 followers, for an Italian Twitter account there were 26 followers.
A ranking of Hispanic users of Twitter according to the number of followers can be found here. This list focuses on Twitter account where Spanish (the language) is used. The Twitter accounts in the list are from various countries, including Spain, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, ...
http://twitter.com/edans - Enrique Dans - 486 followers
http://twitter.com/mnx - Manu Contreras - 374 followers
http://twitter.com/minid - Diego Lafuente - 314 followers
http://twitter.com/sblanco - Sonia Blanco - 240 followers
http://twitter.com/FrikiTV - Friki TV - 222 followers
Only 1% of the accounts from Spain are still waiting for their first update to be published. Currently an average Twitter account from Spain has 106 updates, compared to 72 for a Belgian Twitter account and 88 for a Dutch Twitter account, and 106 updates for an Italian Twitter account. Please keep in mind that these averages are only snapshots, as lots of new Twitter messages (or Tweets) are published every day.
http://twitter.com/rmadrid - Real Madrid - 13462 updates
http://twitter.com/eldia - eldia.es - 4669 updates
http://twitter.com/tvitter - tvitter - 3415 updates
http://twitter.com/losantos - Jimenez Losantos - 2150 updates
http://twitter.com/valladolid - Valladolid - 1913 updates
Degree of activity
25% of all Twitter accounts from Spain with a public feed did not post an update in the last 20 days. They can perhaps be considered as inactive accounts. For Italy this was 33%, for the Netherlands 10% and for Belgium 12%. 58% of all Twitter accounts from Spain with a public feed did post at least one message in the last 7 days, indicating that these accounts are still alive.
This state of the Spanish Twitosphere is only a snapshot, meaning that the figures mentioned in this post have already changed because the Twitosphere is a very dynamic environment with several new accounts being created every day, new connections being made between accounts (friends/followers) and of course new messages being written every hour of the day.
The number of Twitter accounts in Spain is the highest for the four countries analysed until now. The number of accounts is still increasing. There is indication that the growth is slowing down. On 57% of the Spanish Twitter accounts at least one message was published in the last 7 days. This explains that there is a active Twitter community in Spain, more active than in any other European country according to Alexa.
PS. Suggestions for further states of the Twitosphere (new countries) are welcome. You can leave your comment below or you send me an email at Twitterfacts at gmail dot com.
May 15, 2007
Companies have to keep an eye on what's happening on the Internet regarding the image and the reputation of the companies and their products and services. With the arrival of Twitter, a site allowing people to publish short text messages, new challenges lie ahead for online repuration management.
Currently the total number of short messages published on Twitter is estimated at 6 million (according to John Kottke). A distinction has to be made between public messages, open to everyone, and private messages, exchanged between registered users directly or from private accounts. According to the weekly statistics published by Twitterment, over 150.000 new public Twitter messages are published every day.
>>> How can I search if the company I represent is being talked about on Twitter ?
Twitter does not offer possiblities to search the Twitosphere. Google has currently indexed over 700.000 pages from twitter.com. Other mainstream search engines (e.g. Live.com or Yahoo) have indexed fewer pages. Blogsearch engines such as Technorati do not seem very active regarding indexing Twitter messages. Different initiatives have been started in the Twitter area. Most of these initiatives focus on creating and reading messages. Luckily for people concerned with reputation management, a few initiatives allow to search the Twitosphere. At this moment the largest index of Twitter messages can be found at Twitterment. As of today, Twitterment has indexed 1,2 million Twitter messages. Other buzz tracking tools for the Twitosphere can be found in a previous post on this blog. Most of these buzz tracking tools have only a limited memory of a couple of days.
>>> How can I detect if there are links from Twitter messages to the site(s) of the company I represent ?
Because Twitter messages are restricted to 140 characters, URLs are very often replaced by short URLs generated by URL shortening services such as TinyURL. URL shortening services generate shorter URLs, freeing up characters for other content. The disadvantage is that it is not clear for a reader to which site a short URL is pointing to. If a webmaster of a company website detects incoming web traffic from twitter.com, it is almost impossible to detect from which specific Twitter messages the visitors are coming from, especially if a short URL is used. If the reference is made from a private message between two users or from messages from a private account, it is definitely impossible to retrace the message. Search engines such as Google offer the possibility to search for links (link:mycompany.com). Because the links are disguised as short URLs, these seach engines will not be of great help in finding links from Twitter messages.
I have the impression that tools for online reputation management for the twitosphere are still lacking or are immature. Hopefully companies will find solutions for the challenges mentioned above.
May 12, 2007
Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters. If someone mentions a URL in a Twitter message a lot of the available characters are already taken. To overcome this problem, Twitter in its web interface for creating messages converts sometimes long URLs into TinyURLs. In a TinyURL, the "long" URL is being replaced by a shorter URL of the form http://tinyurl.com/?????? where ?????? Is an automatically generated combination of letters and digits. Besides TinyURL there are other URL shortening services available. Twitteriffic also uses TinyURL. Twitteroo used to generate urltea.com URLs, but recently it has implemented rurl.org.
According to Google, these are the most popular URL shortening services used on Twitter.com.
Very often used
TinyURL.com - references
Sometimes used (more than 1000 references found)
urltea.com - references
snipurl.com - references
Occassionaly used (between 100 and 1000 references found)
rurl.org - references
tweetl.com - references
dwarfurl.com - references
Exceptionally used (between 10 and 100 references found)
urlx.org - references
kurl.nl - references
tinypic.com - references
shorl.com - references
Extremely rarely used (less than 10 references found)
digbig.com - references
snurl.com - references
Some of the other URL shortening services offer extras compared to TinyURL.
- a shorter URL (unfortunately only a few characters less)
- click stats : how often is the link clicked
- some degree of customisation for the generated URL
- guaranteed ad free.
- guaranteed no links to spam or porn sites
Why would someone use another URL shortening service instead of the default URL shortening service in the tool you are using while twittering ? Perhaps access to click through stats or a personal taste for one of these services perhaps combined with a dislike of the default service. Personally, I am a bit of lazy, so I am not going to invoke another service to convert a URL if Twitter (or one of the applications I am using to post and read Twitter messages) will do the job automatically for me.
May 9, 2007
There seems to be a bug in either TwitterMap or in Twitter that allows messages from private Twitter accounts (normally only visible to friends) to be shown op TwitterMap, TwitterVision and also TwitterSearch.
At least two Belgian Twitter accounts (clopin and pietel) switched several weeks ago from public to private. If you try to locate them using TwitterMap, their last message captured by TwitterMap appears. Either TwitterMap has access to private accounts, or messages from the accounts that been a while public but switched afterwards to private still appear in the Twitter public timeline.
I am curious if this behaviour has already been noticed by someone else ? If you switched your Twitter account from public to private it is perhaps interesting to have a look if your Twitter messages still appear on TwitterMap.
May 7, 2007
In a series of States of the Twitosphere for different European countries, this is the third edition, showing the State of the Italian Twitosphere. In the first edition, the Belgian Twitosphere was analysed. In the second edition, the Dutch Twitosphere was the topic of discussion.
The analysis of the Italian Twitosphere is based on 706 active Twitter accounts from Italy. A Twitter account was considered to be held by someone from Italy if the location explicitely refers to Italy or if the Twitter user was located in Italy according to one of the Twitter mapping mashups (see this previous post).
The actual number of Italian Twitter users is probably a lot higher. I would not be surprised if the actual number is over 1000. Only a lit bit more than half of the Twitter users specify their location in their profile (see this previous post). Furthermore private Twitter accounts or public Twitter accounts with no or only a few friends are very difficult to locate.
History of the Italian Twitter accounts
This first graph shows the history of the Italian Twitter accounts. The graph is based on the date of the first message posted on each of the public Italian Twitter accounts.
The second graph compares the history of the Twitter accounts from Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. It becomes clear the Twitter hype started much earlier in Italy, already in January 2007. From mid February 2007 to March 2007, the increase of Twitter accounts slowed down, accelerating again from mid March 2007. The Twitter hype in the Netherlands and in Belgium acceralerated strongly only from mid March 2007.
Oldest Twitter accounts from Italy
twitter.com/aron - Aron - first message on 30/06/06
twitter.com/ziodave - David - first message on 1/11/06
twitter.com/ivanl - ivanl - first message on 8/11/06
twitter.com/Agaponeo - Agaponeo - first message on9/11/06
twitter.com/danja - Danny Ayers - first message on 11/11/06
It is strange that no Twitter accounts were found that were created between June 30, 2006 and November 1, 2006.
Public of Private
Only 25 Twitter acounts from Italy or 3,5% have chosen the keep their updates only available to their friends. According to the First State of the Belgian Twitosphere 22% of the Belgian Twitter accounts are private, according to the First State of the Dutch Twitosphere 9,5% of the Dutch Twitter accounts are private. This can indicate that Italian private Twitter account are perhaps partly missing from this analysis.
Number of friends
7% of the Italian Twitter accounts have no Twitter friends at all. An average Twitter account from Italy has 32 friends, which is a lot higher than the 9,6 friends for a Belgian Twitter account and 13,5 friends for a Dutch Twitter account (these averages were calculated several weeks ago).
twitter.com/estudiante - silvano - 803 friends
twitter.com/desgrassia - desgrassia - 502 friends
twitter.com/miawallace1976 - Carla Bruni - 428 friends
twitter.com/BluBlog - Luca Moretto - 332 friends
twitter.com/cannola - pasquale - 332 friends
Number of followers
A follower is someone who has indicated another Twitter account as friend and receives all updates of that other Twitter account. 4% of the accounts have no Twitter followers at all, meaning that no one else on Twitter has indicated this account as a friend. An average Twitter account from Italy has 26 followers. For a Belgian Twitter account there were 10,5 followers, for a Dutch Twitter account there were 12,5 followers.
twitter.com/pandemia - Luca Conti - 355 followers
twitter.com/fullo - Fullo - 297 followers
twitter.com/Giovy - Giovy - 258 followers
twitter.com/Chewbacca - Chewbacca - 237 followers
twitter.com/abeggi - Andrea Beggi - 232 followers
Only 2% of the accounts from Italy are still waiting for their first update to be published. Currently an average Twitter account from Italy has 106 updates, compared to 72 for a Belgian Twitter account and 88 for a Dutch Twitter account. Please keep in mind that these averages are only snapshots, as lots of new Twitter messages (or Tweets) are published every day. The averages for Belgium and the Netherlands were calculated a few weeks ago.
twitter.com/catepol - catepol - 2308 updates
twitter.com/lastmac - Last Mac News [IT] - 1293 updates
twitter.com/gecco - Carlo Minucci - 1291 updates
twitter.com/eio - eio - 1143 updates
twitter.com/elena - elena - 1090 updates
Degree of activity
33% of all Twitter accounts from Italy with a public feed did not post an update in the last 20 days. They can perhaps be considered as inactive accounts. For the Netherlands this was 10% and for Belgium 12%. 57% of all Twitter accounts from Italy with a public feed did post at least one message in the last 7 days, indicating that these accounts are still alive. For the Netherlands this was 73% and for Belgium 74%. These figures indicate that the number of inactive Twitter accounts in Italy is higher than in the other two countries. Perhaps the hype about Twitter is partly over in Italy.
This state of the Italian Twitosphere is only a snapshot, meaning that the figures mentioned in this post have already changed because the Twitosphere is a very dynamic environment with several new accounts being created every day, new connections being made between accounts (friends/followers) and of course new messages being written every hour of the day.
The comparison of the Italian Twitosphere with the Dutch and Belgian Twitospheres reveals that the maturity of Italian Twitosphere is higher. Italian Twitterers have more friends and followers, they have written more messages. On the other hand the number of inactive Twitter accounts is also higher. The fact that 57% of the Italian Twitterers have at least one message in the last 7 days indicates that Twitter is still alive in Italy. Keep on twittering Italy.
I would like to thank Tony Siino for his assistance in identifing Italian Twitter accounts.
May 4, 2007
If a Twitter user does not indicate that he wants his account to be visible only to his friends, all his Twitter messages can be read by anyone. To get an idea what someone is twittering about, you can have a loop at at his personal Twitter page. Twitter is also indexed by Google - with a very high pagerank - meaning that you can search specific words or phrases for a given Twitter user. There are two services that allow you to have a closer look at the traces of a Twitter user.
First let's have a look at the Twitter page of a random chosen Belgian Twitter user, Bart De Waele. He seems quite active with over 1000 updates. He is also popular in Belgium, having 54 friends and 106 followers. By the way, I know Bart personally and I am one of his Twitterfriends.
Twitterment is an initiative of the eBiquity Research Group at the University in Maryland Baltimore County. Twitterment scans Twitter messages from the Twitter public timeline. They have recently added the possibility to search Twitter messages by author. What does Twitterment reveal about Bart De Waele ?
- last messages : of Bart's over 1000 messages, only 192 are indexed by Twitterment
- hourly trends : at what time of the day is this author twittering ?
- daily trends : at what days of the week is this author twittering ?
- tagcloud : what are the most frequently used words in his messages ?
Twitterholic generates top 100 lists of Twitter users by number of followers, number of friends and number of updates. If you take a closer look, you can get some details for each of the users listed in the top 100 lists, and even for other users. Bart De Waele is not yet in one of the Twitterholic top 100 lists, but Twitterholic has some information about his Twitter account. Twitterholic shows a trendline for the number of followers and provides a detailed overview of the number of followers, friends, updates and favorites for the last month.
These graphs from both sources are not available for all Twitter users. For instance, my Twitter account (BVLG) is not showing up yet in both sources, although it is public.
If you want to find out yourself what these services know about you, you can use the URLs below. Substitute XXXXXX with your Twitter Username.
May 3, 2007
Several news providers have discovered Twitter as a channel to distribute news alerts. As messages in Twitter are restricted to 140 characters, news alerts in Twitter can only consist of a headline (sometimes truncated) and a URL of the article where the full text can be read. Twitter is an additional channel where news alerts that are already available on other platforms (e.g. website, news ticker, RSS feed, SMS alert, ...) can also be distributed without cost for the subscriber. Several gateways between the existing news alert feeds and Twitter were initially build by persons who were not affiliated with the publishers of the news alerts. Even now it is not always clear if the news alerts on Twitter are officially endorsed by the original publishers.
The BBC was one of the first broadcast companies to publish news feeds around different subjects in Twitter. Currently there are at least 26 different Twitter feeds. Several of these Twitter feeds from the BBC appear in the top 100 lists of Twitterholic (based on the number of friends, based on the number of followers and the number of updates). The BBC Twitter feeds were initially implemented by Mario Menti. From time to time new BBC news feeds are announced at Mario Menti's blog.
CNN also publishes news alerts on Twitter on three Twitter accounts.
The New York Times has a wide offer of Twitter feeds for different topics.
Digg, a site where users can suggest, share and discuss stories, has also several feeds on Twitter.
Finally I have collected a few other feeds from various news sources, from the UK and the USA.
Twitter is currently an open system, revealing exactly how many persons are subscribed to Twitter feeds. This allows to get a clear view on the usage of the various news feeds on Twitter. The average number of followers of all news feeds mentioned above is 124. Although this number may seem impressive, I think it is rather low compared to the number of subscribers to the various RSS feeds of the news sites.
If someone would subscribe to all news feeds listed in this blog post, this person would receive on average 1885 messages a day or 79 messages each hour. If this person would receive these messages on his mobile phone, his phone would be beeping all the time. If someone would like to try this, please share your experiences.
May 2, 2007
Twitter is according to the FAQ a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives. Twitter is sometimes described as a microblogging tool. Twitter is lacking some of the functionalities you can find in other blogplatforms, e.g. comments, labels, categories or trackbacks to name only a few. But on the other hand Twitter offers several advantages.
The case for Twitter.
Why should someone who would like to blog use Twitter ?
- You have only 140 characters, you need to stick to the the essential.
- You can use Twitter on multiple platforms : web, windows, mac, mobile phone.
- Twitter is an open platform, with lots of tools available to post and to follow messages.
- Twitter is free. There is no need to register a URL. There is no need to look for a hosting company to host your blog.
There are however several reasons not to choose Twitter.
- A lot of bloggers - including myself - do not want to limit a blog post to 140 characters.
- A Twitter message can only consist of characters. It cannot contain HTML code. It is not possible to post pictures, music or videos.
- Customisation of your Twitter page is limited, only the colours and a background image can be set.
- Twitter does not allow widgets on your personal page. E.g. it is not possible to put a counter on your Twitter page.
- Link your blog and your Twitter account. Put a Twitter badge on your blog let your blog readers know what you are doing today. Mention the URL of your blog in your Twitter profile.
- Add frequent readers and commenters of your blog as friends in Twitter. Build the community around your blog on Twitter.
- Inform your Twitter followers that you have written a new blogpost through a Twitter message.
- Ask for feedback about your blog on Twitter.