The State of the Twitterverse 2012

The first time I wrote about Twitter was March 2007. My, how time and Tweets fly. With 500 million registered users and 250 million Tweets flying across the Twitterverse every day, Twitter has become a fabric of our digital culture. Twitter is now ingrained in our digital DNA and is reflected in our lifestyle and how we connect and communicate with one another.

While many struggle to understand its utility or its significance in the greater world of media, it is the most efficient global information network in existence today. News no longer breaks, it Tweets. People have demonstrated the speed and efficacy of social networking by connecting to one another based on interests (interest graph) rather then limiting connections to relationships (social graph).  Twitter represents a promising intersection of new media, relationships, traditional media and information to form one highly connected human network.

I recently stumbled upon a well done infographic created by Infographic Labs to communicate the state of of the Twitterverse. It’s quite grand in its design. So, to help get the most out of it, I’ve dissected it into smaller byte-sized portions.

A Brief History of Twitter

July 2006 – Twttr’s hatched (Yes that’s how it was originally spelled), by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone

July 2007 – Raises $1 million, valued at $5 million

November 2008 – President-elect Barack Obama thanks his Twitter followers

2009 – 2 billion Tweets per day, Twitter raises $35 million

Dec 2010 – Raises $200 million, now valued at $3.7 billion

2011 – 100 million active users sending 33 billion Tweets per day

The Top 3 Countries for Twitter

1. United States – 107.7 million

2. Brasil – 33.3 million

3. Japan – 29.9 million

The Top 5 Moments in Tweets

1. “Castle in the Sky” TV Screening – 25,088 Tweets per second (TPS)

2. Superbowl XLVI Last Minutes – 10,245 TPS

3. (Tied) Madonna at the Superbowl – 10,245 TPS

4. Tim Tebow’s Win – 9,420 TPS

5. Beyonce at the VMAs – 8,869 TPS

Top 6 Reasons for Retweeting

1. Interesting content – 92%

2. Personal connection – 84%

3. Humor – 66%

4. Incentive – 32%

5. Retweet requests – 26%

6. Celebrity status – 21%

Top 4 Ways People Decide to Follow You

1.Suggested by friends – 69%

2. Online search – 47%

3. Suggested by Twitter – 44%

4. Promotions – 31%

Top Factoids You Didn’t Know About Twitter

1. Twitter’s projected ad revenue in 2012 is $259 million

2. Projected ad revenue by 2014 is $540 million

3. 11 Twitter accounts created every second

4. 1 million accounts opened every day

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  • Melody

    That is incredible!  It’s amazing to think that a million new accounts are opened daily.  I am not totally sure I understand the reasons for RT section – It looks like “incentive” is listed in two places.  Thank you for the interesting info. Twitter is definitely my fave social media hub!

    • briansolis

       Fixed. Great catch!

  • Janelle Zhao

    Nice – clear and concise. 

    • briansolis

       Thank you for reading!

  • David Mon

    Wow so much good data…thanks for writing this!

  • Steven Weiss

    Thanks Brian. Very thoughtful and thorough information detailing a meteoric rise. Especially interest that top 5 moments of highest volume are all sports and entertainment. What are your thoughts about that? Thanks Brian!

    • briansolis

      Hey Steven! I think it’s because they’re incredibly emotional events that draw the attention of a highly concentrated collective of passionate and connected people. I’ve always believe that emotion was the foundation for social networking…and sports/entertainment just makes sense. Take a look at the trending topics right now and they’re almost always focused on what’s on TV at that moment. :)

  • Des Walsh

    Intereesting example of Twitter’s pervasiveness today from here in Australia. The governing Labor Party had a leadership “spill” today (headline news here, Canberra invaded my journalists and political junkies) and the results from the party room, pre-empting the official announcement of the result, came via Twitter, with subsequent commentary on some of the mainstream media still banging on for minutes after that without apparent awareness of the result – of course.

    • briansolis

       Hello Des! Interesting…have to take a look. By the way, it’s always a pleasure to hear from you! Did you have a chance to take a look at the new book by any chance?

    • Des Walsh

      Footnote on my reference above to the political news breaking first on Twitter. It’s instructive that news as delivered via Twitter and thence via mainstream media was wrong, as was a “corrective” set of tweets. It took a while for everyone to catch up. One does not need to understand Australian Labor Party politics to see this as a potentially useful story to illustrate some points about Twitter as news breaker – details here, spun as “Twitter never wrong for long” (at which point a professor might say “Discuss” :))

  • Noah

    I don’t think Twitter tweets can “literally” fly.
    – The Literally Police

    • briansolis

       Noah…too funny. Thanks.

    • Linda Ray

      I’m glad you’re not Literally The Police :-)

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  • Sunayna

    So much good info here. thanks for sharing. Surprised tho that 64% of users access twitter via web. I expected the % under mobile to be much higher. Perhaps we’ll see those number switch with the ubiquity of smart phones and tablets. Cheers

    • Don Stanley

       I completely agree! I would’ve guessed the mobile usage to be much higher as well.

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  • Jim Bath

    I realise how dominant twitter has become, and don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, but I still prefer to get my news from a paper or the television! Anyway, it is incredible how many tweets/day there are now. I had no idea.

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  • Ivan Clark

    Hi Brian, I am confused. With over 500 million registered users and 33 billion tweets, that’s an average of 66 tweets per day per user, around 4 per waking hour. Then for 2011 it’s 100 million active users sending 33 billion tweets per day, an incredible average of 330 tweets per user per day, around 20 per active hour, one every 3 minutes. Then the infographic shows over 465 million users sending 175 million tweets a day, which to me seems a more plausible ratio of users/daily tweets. Can you clarify, thanks. Ivan

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  • Brian Kelly

    Thank you!

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  • Jac Xu

    I really like twitter and its limitless space to go viral.  I like your articles always provide infograph to let people see the data easily.  I hope twitter can also provide user an searching friendly engine. If you want to search someone on twitter, it is not a easy job, like google or even facebook.  I hope being a major media and marketing platform they need to fix that.

  • Kai F. Lahmann

     Tonight you could see, how much potential is still in there. Fox made a bit advertising for the account @keselowski (one of the NASCAR drivers) while the Daytona 500 had it’s “break”. He gained about _100.000_ new followers over that maybe two hours.

  • Drm23233

    You left out the exponential increase in triggered Twitter Spam

  • Karen

    Third sentence says Twitter has 500 million users, but the rest of the article says 100 million users (which I believe is correct).

    • briansolis

       active vs. registered. and even the definition for active is elusive…

  • Martz Hobert

    Twitter is a great social media site, but majority of the users share their perspective of a particular issue, stalking their favorite celebrities, and especially SPAM accounts.  Hope there would be a demographic data on the percentage of spam accounts *haha!.


Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. More so, he humanizes technology’s causal effect to help people see people differently and understand what to do about it. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation.

Brian has authored several best-selling books including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business as Usual. His blog,, is ranked as a leading resource for insights into the future of business, new technology and marketing.

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