I’m currently sitting in the audience at Chirp, Twitter’s developer conference where they are anticipated to be revealing their plans for the future and overall strategies from here forward. One of the big announcements so far was from Biz Stone, who boasted that Twitter has over 105 million registered users. The entire premise of all talks thus far has been about these numbers. No real big announcements thus far. I’d like to focus on that number though:
Twitter boasts 105 million users, which is very accurate when you look at the unique ids for users. In my site, SocialToo’s user cache, the maximum user id that we have recorded (out of 5 million cached users) is 132,851,613. So, considering a large portion of Twitter’s users have been deleted, that number of 105 million would reflect most likely exactly the number Biz announced this morning. It’s important to note this number is not total active users like their competitors such as Facebook are announcing.
In contrast, Facebook.com, one of their biggest competitors in the status space (and social advertising space), boasts a total of over 400 million active users, which they freely announce in open form on their press website. In addition, over half of Facebook’s users log in at least once daily, which I’m pretty sure is far from the numbers Twitter is announcing. A former employee of Facebook once told me Facebook actually has over a billion records of total registered users in their database. If that is true, it would put Facebook as the single largest database of linked individuals in the world, next to the Mormon Church’s FamilySearch.org (which, a majority of that database is dead individuals). Twitter pales in comparison.
The big theme I’m hearing from developers at this conference is that Twitter needs to be more transparent. In reality, we don’t care about what Twitter’s numbers are. We don’t even care if they compete with us. We just want Twitter to be honest with us. We want full vision of where they’re going, what their real numbers are, and what we can do with those numbers. In the end, Twitter’s platform is useful because of what it contains, not how many people are using it. Padding numbers doesn’t help that.
I certainly hope there wasn’t any waving of the Jedi hand when Biz Stone said, “Don’t Worry About it – It’s Going to be Awesome, and You’re Gonna Love It”.