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Exploring the Use of Twitter Around the World

January 2010
By Sysomos Inc.

In our initial Twitter report published last June, one of the areas that looked at were the countries and cities where Twitter was being used. Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of unique users (62.1%) were located in the U.S., while the U.K. and Canada were a distant second and third.

Given how Twitter has much grown over the past six months, we wanted to take a fresh look at global usage to see if there were any major changes. To gather this insight, we looked at our entire twitter repository between mid-October to mid-December, 2009. We aimed to understand twitting activity both in terms of the country/city of origin of each twitter but also in terms of overall twitting activity (how frequently they tweet).

In doing our research, we discovered that almost no one is using the geo-location API tool that Twitter launched last August, with only 0.23% of all Tweets tagged with geo-location. To determine someone’s location, Sysomos uses proprietary technology to infer geography based on user disclosed information which does not rely on Twitter's geo-location API.

Considering the country of origin of twitters, among the most significant differences was a surge in Brazil, which accounted for 8.8% of unique users, an increase of more than four-fold from 2% in June. Twitter users in Indonesia accounted for 2.4% of the population, compared with less than 0.5%, while Twitter users in Germany rose to 2.5% from 1.5%.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. unique users was 50.8%, a sharp drop from 62.1% in June. This suggests that the use of Twitter outside the U.S. has experienced significant growth over the past six months.

Here's a table showing unique Twitter users around the world during the period from Oct. 16, 2009 to Dec. 16, 2009. We explored 13 million unique Twitter accounts that demonstrated tweeting activity in that period.

Exploring the Use of Twitter Around the World

And here's the same chart from our June, 2009 report.

Exploring the Use of Twitter Around the World

In addition to looking at the number of unique Twitter users around the world, we also explored the geographical break-down based on the total number of tweets to determine if there were any differences between the two.

The biggest changes are in the U.S., which accounted for 50.9% of unique Twitter users and 56.6% of total tweets, which suggests Twitter users in the U.S. are more active than many users around the world.

U.K. users accounted for 8.1% of total tweets, compared with 7.2% of unique users, while Brazilian users account for 6.73% of total tweets compared with 8.79% of unique users.

Exploring the Use of Twitter Around the World

As well, we looked at the leading cities in which Twitter is being used. London has the biggest population in terms of unique users with 2.08%, while Los Angeles has 1.63%, Sao Paulo (1.47%), New York (1.44%) and Chicago (1.2%).

Exploring the Use of Twitter Around the World

The table below shows top cities by the number of tweets coming from that city. New York ranks first in this list with 2.37% of all tweets. Notice New York ranks fourth in the table above which counts the number of unique Twitter users, showing that users from New York are very active.

Exploring the Use of Twitter Around the World




About Sysomos

About Sysomos

From insights to business results.
Sysomos helps you get the true social intelligence you need to make better business decisions. Research without limitation, stay on top of what your community is saying, and advertise to people looking for what you’re selling.

Sysomos' Products Include

Social Research and Analytics (MAP)

Sysomos MAP: MAP is like the search engine for social media. Listening tools give you snapshots of social activity, based on complex queries you must build carefully in advance. With Sysomos MAP, simply type in your keyword, and instantly see results, including reach and context for your topic today and historically. Unlimited searches, unlimited results, no surprise costs.

Social Listening (Heartbeat)

Sysomos Heartbeat: You wouldn’t run a website without web analytics, so your social strategy needs strong analytics, too. Know what your customers are saying, when a crisis is brewing, how healthy your reputation is, what products matter to your community and who is influential in your space. And it’s all real-time, because the social web doesn’t wait.