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14 2010

Twitter…An American in Paris and Beyond

Posted in twitter | 1 comment

Twitter originally was as American as apple pie.  When it burst onto the scene in 2006 in San Francisco, its initial adherents were people ‘in the know’ in technical and social media circles.

What a difference four years make.  As you can see from the chart from Fast Company.com  below, Twitter has flown far away from its San Francisco roots and is now clearly an international institution.  According to Twitter, more than 60% using their services are living outside the United States.

Twitter's Growth Abroad

Twitter began in 2006 as a tiny little group mainly formed by Twitter employees based in the company’s San Francisco office.   But as the company itself describes what has happened, Twitter has grown in the last four years into a ‘global information network’.

In June 2009, less than 45% of people using Twitter were non-US.  Three months later, in September 2009, Twitter was split 50/50, with half of its users located outside the US.  And in April 2010, 62% of its users are in the rest of the world.  And it only continues to grow.

Certain world events and trends helped fuel this process.    For example, the February 2010 Chilean earthquake created a 1,200% spike in member sign-ups.  A 300% spike was seen in Columbia after politicians began to use the system.  And in India, Bollywood stars began to Tweet and many in the country followed suit.  Of course, each country and region has a different story to tell.  But the numbers are soaring upwards, no matter where you are in the world.

Twitter is accessible to everyone-no matter where you live.  The system is incredibly easy to understand and manipulate so the barrier to entry is virtually non-existent.   You can, of course, Tweet in any language you want.  However, English still appears to be the service’s main language even in countries where the main language is something else.

  1. Mary Adams says:

    Susan, thanks for this post. It’s been exciting to watch Twitter’s rise in popularity outside the US, but I wonder how many of the accounts are actually participating? While I agree that Twitter is super easy to grasp, that’s only the case once its in action. Perhaps “the barrier to entry is virtually non-existent” but remember after first registering, it’s just a blank screen. For me, it was not the most intuitive platform out there, and took some time and energy to learn and appreciate. I still hear many saying (and Tweeting) things like “I just don’t get Twitter” or “Trying to figure out this Twitter thing” – lots of whom end up walking away. Too bad – they are missing out!