Twitter activity is highly concentrated among a small subset of heavy users, according to an analysis from researchers at the University of Illinois, published in First Monday. The study used Twitter Decahose as the basis of its analysis, with the data set examined over a period of 39 days constituting about 0.9% of Tweets ever sent and 35.6% of all active users as of December 2012. Among the highlights of the study was the revelation that the top 1% of Twitter users accounted for 20% of all tweets. Expanding that out a little, the top 5% accounted for 48% of all tweets and the top 15% accounted for 85%.
During the 39-day period, about one-quarter of active users tweeted a single time, and half tweeted 1-4 times. Three-quarters of users were active for 10 days or less, while just 1% of users were active each of the 39 days.
Other intriguing findings from the study follow:
- On average, the number of tweets per hour increased from a low of slightly more than 1 million between midnight and 3AM PT to slightly more than 2 million between 7 and 9AM PT;
- On a typical day, just 2% of all tweets included geographic metadata;
- The volume of tweets and the penetration of electricity were very highly correlated, suggesting that the platform may have difficulty making inroads into rural areas with less reliable electrical infrastructure;
- 23.9% of tweets included a retweet notification;
- The domains with the most links from tweets were twitter.com (16.8%), instagram.com (13.3%), facebook.com (11.9%), youtube.com (6.2%), Ask.fm (3.2%), and tmblr.co (2.9%).
About the Data: Detailed methodology can be found by following the link above.