200 Million Twitter Accounts… But How Many Are Active?

Twitter doesn’t always say things out directly. The company – which is private and takes that fact seriously – isn’t always forthcoming with major announcements. It doesn’t like to reveal financials, and it only lets the world know about large jumps in its user base at long intervals. And, the company is notorious for slipping big facts into small messages … as it did this morning.

In an email to Twitter users, “Get the most out of Twitter in 2011,” the company mentioned at the bottom that there are “about 200 million accounts on Twitter now.” This is an increase from the previously reported figure of 175 million and now puts Twitter at approximately a third of Facebook’s user base. And it’s a long way from the days of 3 million Twitter users, which I remember fondly.

What’s interesting is that the theme of the email involves “coming back” to Twitter, which implies that a hefty portion of the newly announced 200 million users isn’t terribly active. The email suggests ways to use Twitter and reasons to come back into the fold, including the fact that “[p]eople turn to Twitter during emergencies.” This indicates: (a) that there’s some value in using recent unrest in Egypt as a way to stimulate more end-user activity and (b) that the company generally needs to reengage a significant part of its user base.

Here’s the full email from Twitter:

Happy New Year,

Our resolution is to help you get the most of out of Twitter this year. To start, we thought we’d send this note with four simple suggestions. Come on by our web site to try these out anytime! http://twitter.com

1) Follow your interests. We’ve found that the people who enjoy Twitter most tend to follow a variety of accounts: friends, family, people in their profession, local shops and events, and most importantly, people who share their passions.

2) Get specific. Like sports? Follow your favorite leagues, teams, players, coaches, commentators, writers and fellow fans. Love food? Follow chefs, restaurants, critics, bloggers, specialty shops and respected foodies.

3) Don’t panic. People turn to Twitter during emergencies. Snowstorms, power outages and fires are just a few emergencies where Twitter may be helpful. Search for #hashtags and follow local civic accounts to stay informed.

4) Return to Twitter. There are about 200 million accounts on Twitter now – that means new interests, new voices, and new ideas every day. We offer services in seven languages, apps for most devices, and SMS worldwide.

Thanks for being part of Twitter,

@Biz, @Ev, & @Jack

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