Twitter’s Reach is Exaggerated: But The Importance of Monitoring It Grows


The first accurate usage numbers for Twitter are beginning to come into focus. They aren’t exactly Facebook-esque. Yesterday, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch broke the important statistics for judging Twitter’s reach:

The key measure of Twitter usage is total users, total active users and total messages sent. And according to a source close to the company, these are the current Twitter usage stats.

March 2008
Total Users: 1+ million
Total Active Users: 200,000 per week
Total Twitter Messages: 3 million/day

Silicon Alley Insider’s Peter Kaftka follows up with his own numbers from his source this morning:

“Our own source close to Twitter tells us that as of three weeks ago, the service was up to 1.3 million users, with nearly 4 million “connections” — Twitterers following each other. It’s that second stat that speaks volume about Twitters’ appeal to its users.”

He’s right in the second number speaking volumes. It also speaks volumes to marketers who must realize that a large amount of their customer base may have “connections” with folks like Arrington and are likely “following” his every move on Twitter. As much as I laughed it away in the beginning and belittled its appeal, I am taking notice now (Even got my twitter feed up in my bio).

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Twitter’s Reach is Exaggerated: But The Importance of Monitoring It Grows


Twitter still doesn’t have that mainstream appeal (Heck, even David Kirkpatrick noted to me that Facebook status updates have more appeal to him), but it has a high appeal to most technology bloggers and thought leaders with cult like followings. This makes monitoring Twitter a necessary part of the daily routine for marketing and communications executives – especially those working with products and companies in the technology space.

Look no further then Sarah Lacey’s bomb of an interview with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg blowing up through the Twitter audience at SXSW and Michael Arrington rallying the “instamob,” as Jeff Jarvis described, against Comcast when his internet service went down in early April. Consumer revolts now start through Twitter and extend through the web and mobile internet faster then the rumors and innuendo that spread through the blogosphere.

More importantly, the conversations are often starting on Twitter before appearing in mainstream blogs. For brand managers, marketers and communications executives it is easy enough to monitor for potential corporate firestorms and stay ahead of them on Twitter, as Arrington originally noted in dealing with his Comcast dilemma:

“It’s trivially easy to do a brand search on Tweetscan and create a feed for any new postings. Whether you join in the conversation directly or reach out to aggrieved customers is up to you.”

Comcast proved its communications and customer support savvy and turned a potential nightmare into a fairly positive story. One can only hope that Marvel and the next brand to find itself confronted with a Twitter “instamob” will do the same.

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