It is well known that heavy users are responsible for a large part of all content in social networks. A US study now sheds light on how big the differences between the top writers on Twitter and the rest really are. […]
One in five Twitter users under 30 say they use the service “daily, too often to count it.“ This is one of the amazing results that a study by the Pew Research Institute has brought to light. The research institute had asked Americans about their attitudes and usage habits regarding the short message service. The study clearly shows: there is a two–class society on Twitter, the heavy users – and the rest.
A quarter of all users are responsible for 97 percent of all content. Which in turn means that the other three quarters post almost nothing at all, but only consume passively. This dichotomy runs through the further usage behavior. For example, a member of the “Top 25 Group” posts an average of 65 tweets per month – the other users post nothing on a statistical average. The likes are similar: contributions from the top 25 users get an average of 37 likes per month, with the rest there is nothing to like. If you don’t post anything, you don’t have any readers, so top 25 posters have an average of 230 followers per account, with the less active users there are an average of 29.
Self-written tweets are in short supply
Self-written tweets account for only 14 percent of the contribution volume of the top 25. A good 80 percent of your tweets are either retweets of other posts (49 percent) or replies to other tweets (33 percent). For less active users, self-written tweets have absolute rarity value. The vast majority of the few tweets you send are – as with the top 25 retweets or replies.
The fact that one of the original posts written by a twitterer is retweeted by others is, by the way, relatively rare. Top posters experience this on average once a month. The active Twitter use of the top 25 is not only reflected in the number of your tweets and your followers, but also in who you follow yourself: on average, there are 469 accounts that feed your Twitter feed, with the inactive rest there are 125 accounts.
Focus on entertainment
With the intensity of use, expectations are also changing: for example, 77 percent of all top 25 Tweeters said that the service is a way to express their opinion, while only 29 percent of the rest believe this. Top Twitterers also claim to feel better informed by Twitter (8 percent), with the rest this figure is lower at 69 percent. However, Twitter as a platform for the exchange of political opinions is the main reason for only 17 percent of all users to visit Twitter, while half of all respondents put pure entertainment in the foreground.
Especially during the Trump era, Twitter had taken a huge upswing as a mass medium. Donald Trump was the first US president to speak to his followers via Twitter – and did not allow himself to be influenced by his staff. His Twitter account had up to 88 million followers. After the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, it was blocked – and it has been since then.
*Frank Kemper joined the team in 2001 and headed the print edition of INTERNET WORLD BUSINESS from 2013 to 2020. The graduate of the German School of Journalism in Munich can look back on over 30 years of editorial experience and has been online for almost as long.