Twitter – less than 20% access through the web

Mar 19, 2010 by

The other day journalism professor Jay Rosen had the following to say about a Venture Beat story discussing some Hitwise stats showing that relatively few people get news from Twitter.

The article was given fairly prominent billing as it goes against the grain of Twitter breaking and helping to develop news.

Instead, Venture Beat reported that Hitwise’s figures showed that “the micro-blogging site comes in at No. 39 on a list of where people go for breaking stories. Surprisingly, Facebook is No. 3 — a second victory for the site, following yesterday’s revelation that it has surpassed Google as the most visited web site in the U.S. Google News.”

Good for Facebook, but as Jay Rosen pointed out the Twitter stats are close to meaningless.   Why?  Because most regular Twitter users no longer access Twitter through the web using a client instead.

The figure below shows that 80%+ of users don’t update via the Twitter website – it was a TwitStat snapshot taken at 7am UK time, but it’s consistent with what TwitStat showed during the day yesterday (and peak US log-in times).

It also tallies in with figures published in Tech Crunch 1+ year ago, which showed web access at 32% – and in the past year the Twitter market has both matured more, Twitter clients themselves have become better known, and smartphone usage has increased.

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13 Comments

  1. James

    Strange to see TweetDeck in there twice. I take it one instance is the desktop version and the other the iPhone app?

  2. I never thought I’d rely on Twitter for news, but last night for the first time I did. I live near one of the big AZ fires and our skies were filled which choking dust and smoke. I googled to see if we were in danger but did not find the answer. One of the local newscasters tweeted what was going on! We were in no danger, but the wind had shifted sending clouds of smoke our way. I won’t laugh at people getting news from Twitter anymore. – Arlie Jarels

  3. This report shocked the hell out of me to be honest. I thought that Facebook and Google would be higher up on the list. Twitter was really popular at first but when something is that popular with the younger generation consumers, then there is going to be a lot of competition.

  4. @Emmitt: I can only concur. I’ve been online for 15 years, longer than anyone I know, yet I too cannot see how Facebook or Twitter could be the place to get breaking news.

  5. With all the means on how we can access the web and update our social networking accounts, I am not surprised to find out that more people are updating their twitter account using other means. Almost all people use the internet whenever they go which gives them the chance to post anything whenever they want.

    Lea Myers
    My last blog post: Alfani Shoes for men

  6. I’m mystified why anyone would get their news from Facebook or Twitter. I guess that’s for kids and I’m just an old fogey.

  7. I think I’ve heard about every major event for the past 6 months from Twitter first. It usually takes longer for me to see it on facebook but that could be because I haven’t installed facebook on my phone.

  8. As stated, Facebook ranked number 3 where people hear breaking news. I guess the reason for this is that there are more users of Facebook than Twitter. Facebook can actually be used by kids, teens, and adults, whereas as I observe it, there are few kids and adults who have twitter accounts. We conducted a survey in our school regarding the most browsed site, and I am not surprised but Facebook topped the survey!

  9. Most of my friends update Twitter and Facebook all of the time, however just like the statistics say, they are doing it from their cell phone. Especially pictures…so convenient to take a picture and have it posted right to your social media accounts.

  10. Danika

    maybe its because you only want to see some very specific Twitter posts. Its not like you would go to Twitter and start searching for cool tweets. I think its mainly for mobile users these days simply because its like a text message. * Danika

  11. Adam

    No surpize because most people are either using twitter on their mobile phone or are using it through something like Facebook – which is why the twitterfeed is ranked so high.

    - Adam

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  13. Strange to see TweetDeck in there twice. I take it one instance is the desktop version and the other the iPhone app?

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