Web security firm Purewire just released an analysis of seven million Twitter accounts. Techcrunch did some number-crunching:
What stands out from this data is that about a quarter of all accounts are not following anybody, nearly 30 percent have zero followers, and more than a third have not posted a single Tweet. The problem with all of this data, however, is that it includes abandoned accounts (as most likely does the Harvard data as well).
Like any popular Web service, millions of people create a Twitter account, try it once, and never come back again. The Purewire data shows that about 40 percent of users have not sent out a Tweet since the day they created their accounts. You can compare this with the 60 percent abandonment rate claimed by Nielsen. But even these may not be the true abandonment rates. Just because you are not Tweeting does not mean you are not listening.
Are these numbers surprising? Nope. But the last sentence is key: Just because you are not Tweeting does not mean you are not listening.
In online communities — forums, message boards, even blogs — there has always been a common ratio of active vs passive users. That ratio shows that you will, without a doubt, always find more lurkers than post-ers. Many more people will engage passively than participate actively. At AOL, this was a constant, sometimes by a huge margin of readers to post-er.
Does that mean the ‘readers’ aren’t participating? Of course not. The word ‘follower’ gets a bad rap. One doesn’t have to post Twitter messages to be an engaged user. The followers are out there, and they’re not going away. That only increases the need for organization of content on Twitter through search, trending and grouping mechanisms.
Now, come follow me at twitter.com/andreaitis.