The top 10% of Twitter users account for more than 90% of all tweets, according to a study of the micro-blogging network by the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
Based on a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users in May 2009, HBR reports that a typical Twitter user contributes very rarely, with the median number of lifetime tweets per user just one, translating to more than half of Twitter users tweeting less than once every 74 days.
The study contends that makes Twitter more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication platform, noting that on a typical online social network, the top 10% of users account for just 30% of total production.
Instead, Twitter more closely resembles user-generated digital encyclopedia Wikipedia, where the top 15% of most prolific editors generate 90% of edits.
HBR reports as of May, 80% of Twitter users are followed by or follow at least one user--by comparison, only 60% to 65% of rival social networks' members had at least one friend at a comparable stage in their respective development.
While females account for about 55% of total Twitter users, men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users and tweet at the same rate.
However, men enjoy an average of 15% more followers than women, and also lead in reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. HBR contends the "follower split" suggests women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships.
In addition, the average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman, and the average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman.
HBR adds that on other social networks, most of the activity is focused around women – men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know.
For more on the Twitter study:
- read this Harvard Business Review article