Microblogging site Twitter has passed a major milestone: it now has over 200 million monthly active users.
The announcement came, fittingly enough, via a tweet from the company's account that referred to those 200 million users as "the pulse of the planet."
There are now more than 200M monthly active @twitter users. You are the pulse of the planet. We're grateful for your ongoing support!— Twitter (@twitter) December 18, 2012
Twitter's VP for "growth & international", Othman Laraki noted in – what else? – a tweet, "When we set up Growth @twitter, we came up with what seemed like an insane human-scale target of over 200M. Now, here we are."
While some observers – such as your naïve Reg reporter – had originally thought that Twittermania would peak at around 100 million or so then slowly fade away through attrition as users found themselves bored with 140-characters-or-fewer reports of their friends' current choices of salad dressing or Justin Bieber fantasies, they – we – were mistaken.
Just this March on its sixth birthday, Twitter announced that it had 140 million users cranking out 340 million tweets per day – that's an average of just under 2.5 tweets per user per day. Extrapolating that rate to the 200 million users announced on Tuesday morning – 43 per cent growth in a mere nine months – Twitter is now hosting around 177.3 billion tweets per year.
While Twitter has been credited with everything from changing the face of interpersonal communication to enabling the Arab Spring, we can't help but believe that only a vanishingly small percentage of those tweets are well-crafted, pithy epigrams.
But it must now be admitted even by those of us who eschew personal microblogging that Twitter has transformed 21st century discourse. Or, to put it in Twitterese, @Twitter #has #transformed @21st @century #discourse. ®