Why Twitter May Be More Global Than Facebook

Back in April of 2011, we explored the growth of Twitter, which at the time was posting some impressive numbers. Though the explosive growth of Twitter’s first five years has leveled off a bit, it’s remained a strong force in social media, used by celebrities, companies, and regular folks like you and me. Like most social networks, Twitter has expanded to global reach, but how it’s used worldwide is what sets it apart.

Sixty percent of Twitter’s 200 million active users access the site via their smartphones. And what’s more, mobile users are 79% more likely to be on Twitter several times a day.


The vast majority of tweets here and abroad are essentially one-offs – a blip on the Twitter feed never to be seen again. In fact, 71% of tweets produce no reaction at all. But tweets and retweets sometimes gain traction in a big way, as seen in the 2008 case of American grad student James Karl Buck using Twitter to alert friends he had been arrested during an anti-government protest in Mahalia, Egypt. That initial tweet, along with its retweets among Buck’s friends and followers, served to highlight his plight and pressured the authorities to release him the following day.

Because Twitter’s reach extends into nearly every country in the world, it’s been present for newsworthy events across the globe, even at times being central to these events as they’ve unfolded. Take, for example, 2011’s Arab Spring, where thousands of people in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya shared messages and organized protests via social networks including Twitter.

In a world that’s both overwhelmingly large and increasingly small, social networks have the ability to reach a vast audience, and Twitter’s natural fit on mobile phones has helped it to earn a position toward the top of the social media heap. After all, in countries where infrastructure may be unreliable, mobile phones are one conveyance that is accessible for many. And because Twitter’s 140-character limit was designed to fit within text messaging or SMS parameters, it makes sense that it’s mobile-friendly.

But what about Twitter’s influence here, closer to home? Beyond the geopolitical ramifications of social media, Twitter is a large portion of digital presence for many. And while you or I may not be creating tweets that rock the world, we’re still participating in a global phenomenon. Consider these fun stats:

(Source: Mediabistro)

A little closer to home, what can Twitter do for your business? Consider this: if 91% of 18-34 year olds using social media are talking about brands, and ten tweets per second mention Starbucks, where do you think these 18-34 year olds are buying their coffee? As a means of engagement with your customer, Twitter can promote your business if you learn to use it to your advantage.