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Numbers don't lie, and businesses with over 1,000 Twitter followers are making more of an impact than they might think. According to data journalist Jon Bruner, O'Reilly Media's editor-at-large, Twitter accounts that have 1,000-plus followers are in the 96th percentile of active Twitter users.
How does he figure that? Well, over the course of several weeks this year, Bruner took a deep dive into the "Twitterverse." Using data collected from around 400,000 accounts, he found that the median Twitter account has just one follower. Among active Twitter users -- those Bruner defines as having posted something in the last 30 days -- the median account had 61 followers. Bruner notes that his definition of an active Twitter user is narrower than Twitter's definition of an active user, which includes anyone who has logged into the service.
Bruner also discovered that active users follow a median 117 users and that 76% of Twitter users follow more people than follow them.
Bruner says the data suggests "Twitter is more a consumption medium than a conversational one -- an only-somewhat-democratized successor to broadcast television, in which a handful of people wield enormous influence and everyone else chatters with a few friends on living-room couches." (As it turns out, Bruner's TV comment dovetails with an announcement on Tuesday that New York Times columnist Nick Bilton's book about Twitter's origins, Hatching Twitter, has been optioned by Lionsgate Television).
Still, while Bruner's findings are interesting, it remains hard to refute that Twitter has shaped the way the world communicates. Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal's long-time tech columnist, used his final column on Tuesday to look back on the past two decades of digital history and personal technology. Of Twitter he noted, "often seen as Facebook's chief competitor, Twitter is really something different -- a sort of global instant-messaging system...Like Facebook, it has changed the way people live digitally."
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