Sunday, March 13, 2011

And this was Last year

Twitter caused a stir Monday when it lifted its curtain enough to show us how much activity the service is seeing currently, and how it’s grown since 2007. And while many reports talk about visits to flattening, Twitter’s own chart showing the number of tweets its users are publishing is staggering.
Twitter says it’s currently seeing about 50 million tweets per day, which breaks down to about 600 per second.
But how do those numbers compare to Facebook, the king of social networking, and Google Buzz, the new kid on the block?
In an early blog post published just two days after Buzz launched, Google reported that the service had already received nine million posts and comments, and an additional 200 posts per minute via mobile phones. For its part, Facebook has a statistics page that says its users post more than 60 million status updates per day. Let’s do the math and try to make the most even comparison we can out of all this.
  • Facebook status updates: 700 per second
  • Twitter tweets: 600 per second
  • Buzz posts: 55 per second
And compared to searches (see our postscript below)
  • Google: 34,000 searches per second
  • Yahoo: 3,200 searches per second
  • Bing: 927 searches per second
Some disclaimers are obviously in order here:
  • On Twitter, every post counts as a “tweet” no matter if it’s an original tweet, a comment from another user, a link being shared, a retweet, etc. All of those are rolled into one number.
  • Facebook’s number is only status updates. It doesn’t include comments from other users on someone’s status update, nor does it includes “likes” of a status update — both of which are popular activities on Facebook. More importantly, it also doesn’t include photos, links, notes, and all the other types of user activity that happen on Facebook.
  • Buzz was only two days old when Google published its numbers.
The difference in how all three social networking sites operate underscores the challenge in trying to compare activity levels. One suspects that, if Facebook provided specific numbers about comments, likes, photos, links, and so forth — i.e., more than just status updates — it would be significantly ahead of Twitter, despite the impressive growth in the numbers of tweets.

Friday, March 4, 2011

$430k Love settlement shows tweets can be costly

Courtney Love's settlement of a case sparked by online attacks on a fashion designer show that while Twitter posts may be short, they can also be costly.

The singer has agreed to pay Dawn Simorangkir $430,000, plus interest, to settle a lawsuit the designer filed in March 2009 over comments Love made on Twitter and her MySpace blog.

While the case didn't go to a jury, First Amendment experts say it highlights the need for celebrities and average people to watch what they say online.

"People are getting in trouble for Twitter postings on an almost daily basis," said First Amendment Attorney Doug Mirell, a partner at Loeb and Loeb who did not handle the case.

"The laws controlling what is and isn't libelous are the same regardless of the medium in which the statements appear," he said.