What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access.
The use of Twitter’s application programming interface for sending and receiving text messages by other applications such as Tweetie often eclipses direct use of Twitter.
Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained notability and popularity worldwide.
Here are some stats on the use of Twitter worldwide and the implications of these stats to Twitter’s future.
Who is Searching for Twitter
According to Google Trends, as of April 2010 Brazil is the country that searches the term “twitter” the most in the world. Here is the top 10 list of countries that search for “twitter” on Google:
The increase of Brazilian users of Twitter explains why several times between December 2009 and March 2010 the trending topics list include words or terms related to Brazil and/or in Brazilian Portuguese.
To allow geographic segmentation of trending topics, Twitter introduced a feature that allows its users to change the geographic focus of the trending topics. As of April 2010, Twitter allows its users to segment trending topics by 6 out of the top 10 countries using Twitter.
What Languages are Used on Twitter
According to the French think thank Semiocast on March 2010, English now accounts for less than 44% of messages on Twitter. Even though Twitter has headquarters in the United States, the use of Twitter has started to decrease in the region. However, the United States still accounts for 30% of the worldwide use of Twitter.
Semiocast also reports:
Twitter’s growth in Japan is on par with Twitter’s worldwide growth. Japan is the country where users tweet the most in the official language (Japanese), with 95% of tweets from Japan that are in Japanese.
The third largest Twitter nation is Brazil, with nearly 12% of messages worldwide, about 6.2 million messages per day. 85% of tweets in Portugese come from Brazil.
To identify the languages, Semiocast used technology that can identify the language in which short messages are written, differentiating between 41 languages in all major writing systems.
The most prominent languages on Twitter are English (44% of messages), Japanese (14% of messages), Portuguese (9%), Malay (6%) and Spanish (4%). Looking even further, Italian, Dutch and German each account for 1% – 2% of all messages on Twitter.
Implications for Twitter
Compete reveals that the rate of Twitter user growth has lost a lost of steam since since August 2009.
If Twitter is to continue increasing its user base, it is very important that Twitter addresses the needs of its international users.
So far, Twitter has moved in the right direction with the launch of its translation project back in October 2009. As of April 2010, Twitter is currently available only in English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
However, Twitter still has to catch up to the very similar community-driven translation project of Facebook, which resulted in the Facebook site being translated into more than 70 languages.