Sample size

The study captured 4,376,230 tweets, sent from 3,370,796 accounts.


Hashtags appeared in just over 13% of tweets. Only 25.8% appeared more than once, and only 0.7% (1,684) more than 50 times. 


Only 11% of all tweets contained URLs, which is less than half as many as stated by the Microsoft team. Social and content platforms are unsurprisingly the most popular destinations.

YouTube ranks first, though Facebook would be number one if was included. The next three most commonly linked to sites are Instagram, and Twitpic.

Conversational tweets

People love to talk, it seems. 57.2% of tweets contained an @username mention, vs just 36% in the Microsoft study. Some 46.8% of tweets started with an @username. 

How people access Twitter

85% of tweets are sent by 15 ‘dominant platforms’. is the most common way of posting tweets (22.6%), followed by the iPhone (21.7%), Android (16.3%), Blackberry (11.5%) and mobile web (2.2%). 

News sites

LA Times is the top news site, followed by the BBC, Reuters, Washington Post and ABC News.

Other findings

60% of all tweets have English language settings.

Tweets are delivered via the API about two seconds after they are sent.

Some spambots manage to post over 2,500 messages in a 24 hour period – well above Twitter’s ‘limit’ of 1,000 tweets per day, per account.