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Twitter passes 200 million monthly active users; no longer a fad

I wrote my first in-depth post covering Twitter in March 2007 saying that Twitter would be the “message heard around the world.” Since then, we learned that Twitter has become a human seismograph where news no longer breaks it tweets. We learned to speak in 140 characters or less. We’ve witnessed Tweets erupt into revolutionsHashtags are now a way of life. And, we now live in a world where if it wasn’t tweeted, it didn’t happen. Life unfolds in a digital river where experiences and common interests are the ties that bind us. Twitter is indeed part of the fabric of how our world communicates and connects and it contributes to the evolution of our #digitallifestyle.

Unlike so many trendy services and apps that have come and gone, the Twitter Paradox continues to defy itself and also our expectations (and predictions) to bring the world closer together one Tweet and RT at a time.

Speaking of Tweets and RT’s, Twitter announced, via a Tweet of course, that the company only continues to gain greater momentum as the hub of our digital culture. The company has passed a key milestone by earning more than 200 million monthly active users, which represents a 42% increase in just nine months. Just shy of its 7th birthday, Twitter is already up to 400 million Tweets per day.

So how does that compare to other emerging networks?

Well, Google+ recently announced that its up to 135 million users.

Facebook boasts over 1 billion digital denizens.

Tumblr is home to over 77 million blogs and 3.4 million unique visitors (per comScore).

And Instagram is the photo network/app of choice for 100 million users.

Twitter’s momentum only continues to increase in velocity and also relevance. Twitter and Nielsen also announced that a new ratings system based on Tweets. The goal is to help advertisers, broadcasters, and producers better understand how the world’s digital water cooler plays host to conversations and how those discussions affect viewing habits, tune-in, and more importantly, behavior around advertising.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently announced that people will now have the ability to download their history of Tweets.

Twitter is still young and even at 200 million users, even though the Pope is now one of them, the Twitterati might well represent the vocal minority for the popular majority.

UPDATE: @DaveBirckhead asked if quantity is affecting the quality of the Twitter stream. He points to this interesting article by Nieman Lab that shows how Twitter is becoming a broadcast network for late adopters. I once asked if Twitter was a conversation, information, or broadcast network. The answer is, “all of the above.” But in the end, the experience you have on Twitter, or any other social network for that matter, is yours to define.

UPDATE 2: You can now download your Tweet history according to Twitter.

What are your thoughts on the state and future of Twitter?


Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

The End of Business as Usual is officially here…


26 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Twitter passes 200 million monthly active users; no longer a fad”

  1. Brian,

    Twitter does have a solid and faithful user base and following, but they’ll need to continue to morph and evolve.

    It’s simplicity and limits are both a benefit and a constraint. The decision to extend its functionality towards being more of an engagement platform and/or embedding its core functionality into already existing and emerging platforms are two potential paths of action to extend growth.

    Will twitter grow with the trend towards richer media or strategically focus on being the low res, simple social network – the heartbeat of real time information in small sudden bursts?

    It’s interesting to watch this play out. Thanks for your continued coverage and thoughts.

  2. What would be wrong with Twitter staying the way it is… and not “changing” to grow?

    Why can’t it just stay the way it is?

    If it stays “stuck” at 200 million users, for whatever reason, what is so bad about that? It’s not Facebook, it’s not Google +, it’s Twitter… and I hope it stays true to its origins, whatever the “user count” may end up at.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Twitter should learn from Sina Weibo, in order to truly be our top news source above all else in the US

  4. I just broadcast this post on twitter. Waiting to see if it turns into a conversation…. Oh wait, it already did. 😉

  5. lyceum1776 says:

    Brian: Twitter is alive and kicking! I am a big fan of Twitter. I have my Twitter handle, Lyceum, printed on my cap! 😉 The only thing that I don’t like at the moment is the “follow limit”. I can’t follow more fellow tweeps right now. I follow 4,236, but I have “only” 3,833, so I can’t follow more now. Do you have tips on a Twitter tool for this situation?

    • briansolis says:

      Thanks for the comment. Honestly, I don’t have any tips for you on this front. In fact, that’s a lot of people to follow and makes it difficult to manage the quality of your stream that way. I’m in the process of trying to narrow it, which is an ongoing process, to tune my stream.

    • lyceum1776 says:

      Brian: Thanks for your reply. I like to think that I will have more moments of serendipity if I could follow more tweeps in the future. I use Twitter as a lifestream of radio stations, tuning in and out during the day. Do you think that Path with a friends limit (based on Dunbar’s number) will take off?

      I think we will see more services like, Flipboard and RebelMouse, visualizing our different social media feeds, in the future.

  6. MyBlogTimes says:

    Twitter is doing its part of work which it was designed for. May be someone else will take a turn to make something different than this and we shall be reading a post about the new ‘Baby’ with 200 Million couple of eyes.

  7. Samantha Arrington says:

    I definitely agree with everything you’re saying. Twitter isn’t just a fad anymore, its a way of life for many of the users. I’m a college student and know people that spend more time on twitter than on homework. The hashtags are now even making their way into the facebook and instagram world. But like many people are saying on here, twitter has to learn how to evolve and change with the consumers demand. Some people may get bored or tired of using it. Twitter has to learn how to keep consumers interest and change for the better.

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