Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Twitter users not so social after all

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Twitter may be a fast-growing social network, but most of its 50 million accounts merely follow other users rather than posting their own messages.

In fact, a whopping 73% of Twitter accounts have tweeted fewer than 10 times according to a new report from Barracuda Networks, a Web security company.

It seems that Twitter is becoming more of news feed than a social network, said Paul Judge, author of the report and chief research officer at Barracuda. And that raises questions about its growth potential, as well as how the Internet phenomenon will make money.

As of December 2009, only 21% of Twitter account holders were what Barracuda defines as "true users," meaning someone who has at least 10 followers, follows at least 10 people and has tweeted at least 10 times.

That indicates that most Twitter users "came online to follow their favorite celebrities, not to interact with their buddies the way they would on Facebook or MySpace," said Judge.

The follow-only trend exploded when celebrities helped push the microblogging site into the mainstream during a six-month period that Barracuda calls Twitter's "red carpet era."

From November 2008 to April 2009, several celebrities, including Ashton Kutcher, Oprah Winfrey and John Mayer, joined Twitter. And the site grew 21.2% in the month of April 2009 alone.

"The most famous people have already joined Twitter, so I don't think they'll see another growth spurt like that," Judge said.

So the question now, said Judge, is whether Twitter can get more of these followers to start tweeting themselves.

"The bottom line is, most of these people are getting online because Ashton asked them to," Judge said. "If those people do nothing after that, [Twitter's] growth can't hope to continue." To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,816.58 -34.93 -0.20%
Nasdaq 4,896.25 1.36 0.03%
S&P 500 2,088.34 -2.20 -0.11%
Treasuries 1.85 -0.02 -1.28%
Data as of 10:58am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.82 -0.11 -0.70%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 4.37 0.02 0.46%
Apple Inc 99.26 -0.36 -0.36%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 11.61 -0.04 -0.34%
HP Inc 12.94 0.75 6.11%
Data as of 10:43am ET
Sponsors

Sections

More bad news for Sears. The iconic retailer may sell storied brands Kenmore and Craftsman as sales continue to plunge at Sears and Kmart and losses pile up. More

Andrew Crider lost his welding business and his home when the real estate market crashed. Now the Nevada man is offended by comments Donald Trump made showing the billionaire rooted for the housing collapse. More

A jury is currently deliberating a landmark court case between Google and Oracle that has broad implications for the software industry -- and could force Google to pay Oracle billions of dollars. More

When so many families are stuck having to borrow money to send their kids to college, these middle class students were able to graduate debt-free. More