Twitter's Hockey Stick Moment?

Over the weekend, TechCrunch postulated that with a frenzy of election-related activity, Twitter hit its hockey stick moment in late October. The theory goes that Twitter saw a 25 percent increase in U.S. visits from September to October and is thus about to experience the sort of explosive growth that will propel it into mainstream consciousness.

That could well be the case. In the course of researching our new report, “Twitter and the Micromessaging Revolution,” we found that Twitter’s user base grew more than 500 percent from October 2007 to October 2008. But we were even more interested to discover that the service has enjoyed an usual effect: as more and more people have joined, the percentage of active users has remained constant [updated:] at about 20%. Among active users (those who post at least once a month), approximately 20 percent post daily and about eight percent post more than 100 times a month (not including known bots and feeds). Though web services usually see a drop in the rate of use as lots of tire-kickers come and go, Twitter’s steady usage suggests that a jump in visitors during October could correspond to a big increase in regular users.

Yesterday, a Twitterer asked Tim O’Reilly why “Twitter and the Micromessaging Revolution” would be money well spent. Here are ten solid things the report provides (most explained in 140 characters or fewer):

1. Highly readable investigation into why Twitter works–and why it’s important

2. Growth statistics from Twitter, synthesized with stories and analysis to give you a comprehensive picture of the Twittersphere

3. Examines the entire micro-messaging ecosystem, including the various players, where Twitter fits and some new developments

4. Clever and useful tips on how to integrate Twitter into your business, backed up by stories about how others are using Twitter successfully

5. Why follower counts may not be the best way to measure Twitter influence, and an alternate model, analogous to Google Page Rank, for identifying influential users

6. Why and how Twitter’s loose social graph and the default public nature of Twittering make for a remarkably intuitive and interesting social network

7. Exclusive interviews with Twitter founders and leading users

8. Gentle introduction to using Twitter for the newbie

9. Twitter business models and why Twitter data is important

10. Dozens of links to key resources and examples

We’ve also created a free webcast that pulls from the report’s Twitter Primer to give you an introductory overview of the service. (The presentation also has tips and examples not included in the report.) Nearly 450 people watched when we broadcast it live last week, and more than 1,800 have viewed it since we posted it to YouTube four days ago. Perhaps we’ve hit our webcast hockey stick moment?