Are New York Twitter Users More Sophisticated Or Shrewd?

February 23, 2010

It’s been exactly a year since I launched a number of automated Twitter accounts that search-for and re-tweet information about free giveaways in various cities: @freelondon, @freenewyork, @freesanfran, @torontofree and @freecardiff (note that I won’t be including @freecardiff information in this post due to a lack of data).

These accounts were created at the same time, and behave the same: they never pro-actively follow anyone, but follow-back anyone who follows them.

It’s been interesting, and sometimes surprising, to watch these twitter accounts grow over the year, so I thought I’d publish some of the statistics about them.

The accounts have amassed between 1,000 and 4,500 followers each, and have each tweeted between 500 and nearly 2,500 times in the last year.

They’ve been added to quite a few lists, between 30 (for Toronto) and 120 (New York).

What interests me is how these differ, especially with respect to the number of active Twitter users in each city. This is a difficult number to find, but Sysomos published some fairly comprehensive research that we can use. I’m not so interested in the actual number of users, but more the relative numbers and how they compare.

Sysomos estimate that Toronto and San Francisco have roughly equal number of active Twitter users, with New York having almost twice as many, and London coming out on top with almost 2.5x as many.

We can use these ‘Twitter population’ numbers, along with the statistics we quoted earlier, to calculate some interesting ratios, as seen in the following graph.

Again, we’re only really interested in relative numbers, so everything has been normalised to show the differences clearly.

Although London supposedly has the highest number of Twitter users, and the @freelondon account produced the highest number of tweets about free things, it amassed the worst (on-par with Toronto) number of followers per tweet, and was placed on the least number of lists per tweet. It also garnered the least number of followers compared to the number of active twitter users in the city (i.e. it attracted the smallest available percentage of users for its demographic), and was placed on the least number of lists, relative to the number of active users in the city.

In summary, Londoners seemed to be the least interested, relatively.

In comparison, New Yorkers seemed to embrace it. The @freenewyork account attracted the highest number of followers, but also the highest percentage of twitter users in the city (i.e. Followers / No. of Users). New Yorkers were also eager to place the account on a list, with the highest number of Lists per Number of Users.

What does this mean? Are New Yorkers more hungry for free deals? Or, as I suspect, are they more sophisticated Twitter users, that are able to find useful Twitter accounts more easily, and are more willing to share them with lists (and #followfriday recommendations, from memory)?

Let me know your thoughts!

(Plus, if you want me to create a ‘free’ twitter account for your city, let me know; they’re fairly easy to set up.)

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