July 31, 2008

TweetStats Shows Impact of Instability on Top Tweeters' Activity

Much of the impact of Twitter's frequent downtime has been anecdotal. Amid some saying they're leaving the service for greener pastures, or developers pulling up their stakes in the Twitter community, statistics show that some of Twitter's most prominent and active users have dramatically reduced their activity on the site over the last two months.

The drop in total tweets by virtually every top user who was measured could be part technical - due to their simply being unable to login, or psychological, a result of lower activity and lower conversations which became a self-fulfilling prophecy. While none abandoned the site altogether, what could have been an "up and to the right" activity graph has largely stalled, and in many cases, reversed.

My own activity, rising month by month after I finally started using the service in January, stalled in June, and is still well below what it likely would have been had stability not been impacted.

Using TweetStats, a site which can show your total tweeting activity, who you most frequently message, and which hours and days you use the service, I polled ten top Tweeters to see how their June and July activity compared with April and May. Here's what I found:

Chris Brogan / @chrisbrogan
April and May Tweets: 2,896
June and July Tweets: 1,070
Change in Tweeting: Down 63%

Corvida Raven / @corvida
April and May Tweets: 2,669
June and July Tweets: 1,065
Change in Tweeting: Down 60%

Danny Sullivan / @dannysullivan
April and May Tweets: 1,281
June and July Tweets: 551
Change in Tweeting: Down 57%

Dave Winer / @davewiner
April and May Tweets: 1,535
June and July Tweets: 527
Change in Tweeting: Down 66%

Drew Olanoff / @drewolanoff
April and May Tweets: 2,131
June and July Tweets: 909
Change in Tweeting: Down 57%

GeekMommy / @geekmommy
April and May Tweets: 6,030
June and July Tweets: 1,419
Change in Tweeting: Down 76%

Jason Calacanis / @jasoncalacanis
April and May Tweets: 1,017
June and July Tweets: 562
Change in Tweeting: Down 45%

Leo Laporte / @leolaporte
April and May Tweets: 363
June and July Tweets: 237
Change in Tweeting: Down 35%

Robert Scoble / @scobleizer
April and May Tweets: 3,579
June and July Tweets: 746
Change in Tweeting: Down 79%

Michael Arrington / @techcrunch
April and May Tweets: 1,587
June and July Tweets: 1,079
Change in Tweeting: Down 32%

Across the board, Twitter's issues cut activity to the site by about half or more for some of the most visible users of the site. Others, like Kevin Rose of Digg (TweetStats) and Pete Cashmore of Mashable (TweetStats) saw only a less than 20 percent reduction in their Twittering activity between the two time periods. While there's no doubt many people, like Steve Rubel and Allen Stern, wish discussion of Twitter's problems would just go away, the impact it had on the site over the lsat few months has been very real, and we're just now able to take a step back and measure its impact.