These are my links for February 4th through February 11th:
- Schneier on Security: Interview with a Nigerian Internet Scammer – "We had something called the recovery approach. A few months after the original scam, we would approach the victim again, this time pretending to be from the FBI, or the Nigerian Authorities. The email would tell the victim that we had caught a scammer and had found all of the details of the original scam, and that the money could be recovered. Of course there would be fees involved as well. Victims would often pay up again to try and get their money back."
- xkcd – Frequency of Strip Versions of Various Games – n = Google hits for "strip <game name>" / Google hits for "<game name>"
- PeteSearch: How to split up the US – Visualization of social network clusters in the US. "information by location, with connections drawn between places that share friends. For example, a lot of people in LA have friends in San Francisco, so there's a line between them.
Looking at the network of US cities, it's been remarkable to see how groups of them form clusters, with strong connections locally but few contacts outside the cluster. For example Columbus, OH and Charleston WV are nearby as the crow flies, but share few connections, with Columbus clearly part of the North, and Charleston tied to the South."
- Redis: Lightweight key/value Store That Goes the Extra Mile | Linux Magazine – Sort of like memcache. "Calling redis a key/value store doesn’t quite due it justice. It’s better thought of as a “data structures” server that supports several native data types and operations on them. That’s pretty much how creator Salvatore Sanfilippo (known as antirez) describes it in the documentation. Let’s dig in and see how it works."
- Op-Ed Contributor – Microsoft’s Creative Destruction – NYTimes.com – Unlike other companies, Microsoft never developed a true system for innovation. Some of my former colleagues argue that it actually developed a system to thwart innovation. Despite having one of the largest and best corporate laboratories in the world, and the luxury of not one but three chief technology officers, the company routinely manages to frustrate the efforts of its visionary thinkers.
A number of people have been asking about updates to the earlier posts on Twitter’s user profile population as well as some statistical analysis. I’m joining the Microsoft Bing search team so I probably won’t be sharing as much data in the future, but I wanted to get a couple of charts out first.
Here’s an updated look at Twitter’s user base growth, through June 2009. This survey has many spam accounts pruned out, so the actual number of user profiles at any point in time is probably higher than the graph plotted here. Up and to the right, heading past 13M is the main takeaway. Also note that the majority of Twitter profiles have been created within the past few months. Compare with the graph through May 2009
Here’s the corresponding estimate of new user accounts per day. That first big spike is the Oprah show featuring Twitter. Not sure exactly which media events go with the more recent spike, likely some combination of Ashton Kutcher vs CNN and other celebrities on a campaign to get more followers. As a reminder, the graphs don’t really drop off at the right edge, that’s just from new users not being discovered immediately.
Unfortunately I probably won’t be putting together any stats visualizations here as I transition the SocialQuant work to Microsoft Bing. But I’m looking forward to help bring some interesting applications for Twitter and other social media on the Bing platform, and hope you’ll be able to enjoy some results there in the near future.
Twitter estimated new users per day through May 2009
Here is a companion to the Twitter user population growth chart from last week. This chart shows an estimate of the number of new users per day. The dashed blue bar is the 2009 US inauguration of Barack Obama, and the extreme spike is the Oprah Winfrey show featuring Twitter.
The data used for this chart isn’t as complete for the last week or so at the right hand edge, i.e. the rate of new user signups hasn’t gone to zero, and in fact remains quite high, not 100k users per day, but well above the “pre-mainstream adoption” user signup rates, in the range of 30-50K users/day. As of mid June, Twitter has more than 8M user accounts that have been created.
Twitter estimated userbase through May 2009
The graph above shows an estimate of Twitter’s user population from its launch in March 2006 through May 2009, based on a sample of around 6 million observed user profiles. The dashed blue line is around the 2009 US inauguration of Barack Obama and where the transition from early adopter to early mass audience seems to have taken off.
The entire user population of Twitter appears to have reached 1 million sometime in January but today there are several accounts that have over 1M followers each.
Stated another way, if you signed up before February 2009, you can consider yourself something of an early adopter on Twitter, and among the earliest 15% or so of the entire user population.
The numbers in this survey are inexact but representative, taken from research I’ve been doing for SocialQuant and FailWatch. There is some survivor bias built in, since I’m pruning spam and suspended accounts. Only Twitter knows the true state of the user base and the social graph, of course.
The initial Twitter users tend to know each other more in real life, since much of the social network grew from friends of founders, SWSX attendees, and the San Francisco / Silicon Valley tech community. The more recent (post-Obama) arrivals tend not to have connections to those networks, and often don’t know anyone else to follow. They arrive via mass media and celebrity campaigns, and end up following mass media and celebrities, either from the suggested users list or because those are the only people they know of.
If you look carefully, you can see the rate of increase slows down toward the end of the graph. There was a huge ramp in new user signups around the time of the Oprah show, which has receded somewhat. This has led to blog posts about Twitter’s impending demise, but looking back, there have been previous surges in the user base (typically around SXSW etc) which led to a peak, then a drop in new user signups to an off-peak but higher-than-before average. So far the current surge is the largest, but seems to be following the pattern. In the absence of any new driver, user growth should continue at an off-peak but higher level, until the next big jump, or something better comes along.
These are my links for June 6th through June 8th:
- Latin motto generator: make your own catchy slogans! – Create your own life mottos and slogans in Latin! (Learning Latin not required, some vague idea for a desired motto a plus)
- A Map Of Social (Network) Dominance – Using Alexa and Google Trend data, Cosenza color-coded the map based on which social network is the most popular in each country. All of the light green countries belong to Facebook. But there are still pockets of resistance in Russia (where V Kontakte rules), China (QQ), Brazil and India (Orkut), Central America, Peru, Mongolia, and Thailand (hi5), South Korea (Cyworld), Japan (Mixi), the Middle East (Maktoob), and the Philippines (Friendster).
- Microsoft Releases Bing API – With No Usage Quotas – Updated search API, with no quotas and some improvements.
* Developers can now request data in JSON and XML formats. The SOAP interface that the Live Search API required has also been retained.
* Requested data can be narrowed to one of the following source types: web, news, images, phonebook, spell-checker, related queries, and Encarta instant answer.
* It is now possible to send requests in OpenSearch-compliant RSS format for web, news, image and phonebook queries.
* Client applications will be able to combine any number of different data source types into a single request with a single query string.
- Twitter Limits Getting Ridiculous! « Verwon’s Blog – Anecdotal reports of Twitter users running into problems with rate limiting, either API or max posts/tweets/follows/directs.
These are my links for June 3rd through June 4th:
These are my links for June 1st through June 2nd:
- New Twitter Research: Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets – Conversation Starter – HarvardBusiness.org – "Although men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, men have 15% more followers than women. Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. This "follower split" suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships. This is intriguing, especially given that females hold a slight majority on Twitter: we found that men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%."
- Shirky: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality – 2003 article on popularity / traffic on blogs, which was then the latest emerging social media format. "Once a power law distribution exists, it can take on a certain amount of homeostasis, the tendency of a system to retain its form even against external pressures. Is the weblog world such a system? Are there people who are as talented or deserving as the current stars, but who are not getting anything like the traffic? Doubtless. Will this problem get worse in the future? Yes. "
- well-formed.eigenfactor.org : Visualizing information flow in science – S