Twitterverse Explodes With 2B Tweets in May

Are you tweeting more these days? Seems somebody is.

Last month, Twitter users hit a new milestone. They sent nearly 2 billion tweets in the month of May, according to Pingdom, a Web site monitoring service.

The number, 1.99 billion tweets , is a significant jump for the Twitterverse. Pingdom reported that last December, users hit 1 billion tweets per month for the first time. That's a doubling of tweets in just a few months.

"Maybe Twitter won't quite be able to reach the almost 6 billion tweets per month we've predicted for the end of the year, but it's clear that the Twitter platform is still growing at a healthy pace," wrote Pingdom analysts in a blog post . "Close to doubling the volume of monthly tweets in the last six months is no small feat."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said such solid, steady growth is a great sign for a social networking site.

"That's promising for Twitter," he added. "Fads tend to accelerate upward and come crashing down. It looks like people are finding real uses for Twitter... I don't have the data, but I think there's been a shift in usage. Users have figured out a way to make it useful, which is to join conversations on current topics. I think users increasingly are following topics, either through following Twitterers who focus on the topic, or by tags."

This kind of growth isn't bad for a microblogging site that has had some issues in keeping users engaged.

In January, a study from RJMetrics Inc., which develops online metric analysis software, showed that the number of Twitter users had climbed to a lofty 75 million, but the growth rate of new users was slowing and many Twitterers were inactive .

The RJMetrics study showed that a lot of Twitter accounts weren't active at all, and the number of accounts that sent even one tweet in a given month hit an all-time low in December.

According to RJMetrics findings, only 17% of all Twitter accounts tweeted last month. That's down from more than 70% in early 2007 when Twitter was a fledgling company with far fewer users.

"Well, you can have a lot of people trying Twitter and lose most of them but still increase both the number of users and the level of use," noted Gottheil. "It's probably twofold. Some users are sticking, and some are increasing their use."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld . Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

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