The typical Twitter user is a young woman with an iPhone and 208 followers

October 11, 2012

Twitter’s endless funnel of data is producing an equally endless series of studies — including on Twitter itself. The latest study offers fun tidbits about who is using Twitter and why.

In “An Exhaustive Study of Twitter Users Around the World,” analytics firm Beevolve claims to have crunched data from 36 million Twitter profiles. What they found probably corresponds to what you suspected: most Twitter users are young iPhone users from English speaking countries.

Fond of gender stereotypes? The study has you covered: women tweet more than men; gals tweet about family and fashion while guys tweet about tech and sports; women like purple backgrounds while men prefer dark ones.

The most useful part of the study, however, is that it provides a good view of how ordinary people use Twitter. For instance, it reveals that 25 percent of Twitter users have never tweeted, the average number of followers is 208 and that 81 percent of users have fewer than 50 followers.

This is a good reminder that most people don’t use Twitter in the same way as those of us in the media-politics-tech-celebrity-sports bubble. It also appears to confirm BuzzFeed’s John Herman’s theory that “Your Twitter followers aren’t fake, they’re just shy.”

It will be interesting to see how Twitter reaches out to this passive population going forward. I’ve tried to persuade family and friends that Twitter is simply a great news service but they’re skeptical. They think, understandably, that Twitter is a club for loud mouths and ask me, “what would I tweet?”

As for the study, Beevolve CEO Goldee Udani said by email that the firm was “curious about the demographic make up of Twitter user base, topics that Twitter users found interesting at a macro level and how dense was the Twitter social graph compared to known statistics about Facebook.”

You can see the full study, which is presented in clear language and graphics, here.

(c) 2012, GigaOM.com.

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