Why should we care?
Well Twitter is really a very powerful social media platform. As Twitter users now send more than 95 million Tweets a day, on just about every topic imaginable. The microblogging service averages around 317 million monthly users. Twitter even has an estimated 10 million users in China – where it is officially blocked.
So Twitter matters. Why?
Twitter has been working furiously to show that it’s about more than just a tweet, but more about a real-time conversation taking place worldwide. They have succeeded slightly in doing so.
But that hasn’t really changed it’s core numbers as roughly one-quarter of online adults (24%) use Twitter, a proportion that is statistically unchanged from a survey conducted in 2015 (23%). But those that use Twitter - use twitter a LOT.
With 42% of Twitter users indicate that they are daily visitors, with 23% saying they visit more than once a day. I am one of them. With several accounts. Which shouldn’t surprise you given my agency’s job to train people in social media.
But what is surprising (to some) is what the biggest trends have been on Twitter in 2016.
Twitter trends this year reveal a lot about us.
Twitter's biggest global trends of 2016 have revealed social media's obsession with the Olympics, politics and Pokemon Go.
While #Rio2016 was the biggest of the year, the US election, Oscars, Brexit and Donald Trump also featured in the top 10 as politics dominated many conversations.
The top trends are listed after this piece – for me the really interesting thing is behind the trends. As a friend of mine in social media says about Twitter:
"Twitter is now where the news breaks. Instagram is where brands are made."
For me it’s a bit deeper than the above. Which highlights that brand engagements on Instagram are 258x’s higher on Instagram. For me Twitter may be where revolutions are started but not perhaps not televised. Unless people are using Periscope and live video streaming.
We also have to remember, that just 8 percent of the public gets its news from Twitter. Which is why lots of liberals in the echo chambers of Twitter didn’t see either #brexit or #trump coming.
One thing we will see coming:
Is sports and live events. Which is something twitter is spending more and more money on. And why in the trends you see that sport, music and live events are getting higher and higher mentions. In fact, the world’s most retweeted tweet was a curious mixture of all three. A mini celebrity gamer in Spain, known as elrubius, who originated the year's most popular tweet. It reads "Limonada" (lemonade) and was re-tweeted more than 1.3 million times.
But why is gaming and sport up there so much?
I think it’s all to do with the demographic that uses Twitter. As it is younger than perhaps you think.
The latest research shows that younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to be on Twitter. Some 36% of online adults ages 18-29 are on the social network.
More than triple the share among online adults ages 65 and older (just 10% of whom are Twitter users).
And use Brits are like the Americans ;)
So.... shock... Young people are into computer gaming more.
And perhaps sports more...
Which is why gaming is up there so much: i.e. pokemonGo is third.
A mobile game that rocketed to suggest – taking only 7 days to get 10 million downloads – and is now hovering over 100 million downloads. And was at it’s peak interacted with for minutes per day than with Facebook itself.
Is Twitter still relevant?
The court is out on this. With the lastest polls (something Twitter is really good at showing that nearly eight-in-ten online Americans (79%) now use Facebook. More than double the share that uses Twitter (24%.)
Twitter is also somewhat more popular among the highly educated. 29% of internet users with college degrees use Twitter, compared with 20% of those with high school degrees or less.
Which might be why political stuff is up there as well. And we all know the power of #Trump on Twitter.
But do people really tweet?
A few years back, when setting up a twitter based software as a service company. We worked out that about 15% of the people on Twitter do 85% of the tweets. This has been compounded over the years - Since last year tweets per user had fallen by almost 50 per cent.
So Twitter’s problem – with it’s slowing growth and lack on relevancy – isn’t around new users. Twitter can get people on it -but can’t keep people tweeting – so you get the best or worse of a thought bubble. The BBC breaking news may have 21.6million followers but your average Joe has around 208!
What does this all mean?
Twitter’s death has been over reported. But unless it does something either to double down on its hold on real time events OR moves into video more and more.
Do you really tweet that much? Or just listen?
Here are the Top 10 global trends on Twitter
Top trends in politics
2. Trump (See picture ....)
Top trending TV shows in the UK
Most followed celebrities in the UK
1. Harry Styles (29.5m)
2. Adele (27.5m)
3. Louis Tomlinson (23.5m)
4. Liam Payne (23.5m)
5. Emma Watson (23.4m)
6. Zayn Malik (20.4m)
7. Ed Sheeran (16.6m)
8. Wayne Rooney (14.1m)
9. Simon Cowell (12.7m)
10. Stephen Fry (12.3m)