Twitter has become a hot topic in the online world and many companies are using Twitter to improve their customer service. Since I’ll be writing more about Twitter and it’s role in providing better customer service, I thought it would be fun to see who’s tweeting where, to give us some perspective.
First, how many people are using Twitter?
In April, Mashable.com reported an estimated 3.8% of Internet users are registered on Twitter which equals about 6 million people. The source they report further predicts 12.1 million people in the US will be registered users of Twitter by the end of 2009.
Second, where are these people?
Twellow.com, a major Twitter directory tracks “active” Twitter users. As of today this totals 3.5 million people. They also show where these Twitter users are located, using a cool map they call “Twellowhood”. (It’s only available for the USA right now.) I cross-referenced their map data with current population estimates of all 50 states. This data came from The 2009 Statistical Abstract, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau to produce this list:
US States Ranked by Number of Active Twitter Users*
6. New York
12. North Carolina
24. South Carolina
25. New Jersey
37. New Mexico
40. New Hampshire
42. Rhode Island
43. West Virginia
48. North Dakota
49. South Dakota
(Note: This list aligns pretty well with a similar list at TwitterGrader.com however they use a different ranking method.)
Not a lot of surprises here. The top 10 is dominated by the biggest states with the exceptions of Massachusetts and Washington (the state, not the District of Columbia). Massachusetts and Washington rank 13 and 15, respectively in population so being in the top 10 here might cause us to wonder why. Also, Georgia ranks higher in Twitter users than Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, all of which have larger populations than Georgia.
This suggests states like Washington, Massachusetts and Georgia (to a lesser extent) are more social media savvy than the others. Looking at the ranking this way made me wonder if other states are more social media friendly than this ranking suggests. Because this list tilts toward the larger population states, it might hide this. A few minutes and several Excel formulas later, I found myself staring at this list:
US States Ranked by Percentage of People in State Who are Active Twitter Users*
19. North Carolina
29. South Carolina
31. New Hampshire
32. Rhode Island
38. North Dakota
40. New Mexico
42. New York
46. South Dakota
47. West Virginia
48. New Jersey
This changes things. Now of the top ten has only five of its original members. By removing population as a factor, this list (I believe) more fairly shows Twitter’s penetration in the 50 states.
(If you’re interested in further discussion on ranking states by their technology prowess, see The 2008 State New Economy Index. )
What does this mean? Why is it important?
Maybe it means nothing. Maybe its only importance is to satisfy our desire to rank and compete. Now you can impress people with these new cocktail party trivia. And you can slam your friends in states that are less Twitter savvy than yours.
But I think this holds more value than just providing fun facts. One thing I believe it tells us is that if you do business in a top 10 state (in the second list) you are more likely to have customers using Twitter. This presents a stronger argument for making Twitter (and other social media) part of your customer service infrastructure. Of course you need to balance this with your type of business and customer demographics.
How about you. What do you think?
Does this ranking align with your observations or experience? And does it suggest any trends or conclusions to you? If so, please share your thoughts. I’d like to know.
*Based on data from Twellow.com and The 2009 Statistical Abstract