Twitter in general is very closed lip about the demographic break down of their users, especially when it comes to Australia.
Not since 2012 study performed by Dr Axel Bruns of Queensland University of Technology (Mapping the Australia Twittersphere or see below) have we been able to gain any indepth insight into Australia’s Twitter usage.
A new study released by the Queensland University of Technology now provides new insight into the growth, development and uptake of Twitter in Australia.
How did they do it?
Over the course of several months in 2013, data scientist Troy Sadkowsky developed a tool that used the Twitter API to access the publicly available profile information for each account then in existence. They then pinged every user ID from 0 through to (at that point) approximately 2 billion, and recorded the information returned. This resulted in data for 750 million accounts (the size of the global Twitter userbase in September 2013).
This indepth snapshot of global Twitter accounts then provided the opportunity for them to look specifically for Australian users. To do so, they drew on three key elements of each user profile:
- Free-text profile description and location fields as entered by the account creator
- Profile timezone users chose from the pull-down menu of presets offered by Twitter. Selecting all users who had chosen one of the eight state-based Australian timezone options
- Long list of search terms relating to Australian towns, cities, and states, and to Australia itself, using a number of common variations. Any account that matched the criteria for “Australianness” in any of these three fields were included in the selection
Australian Twitter Results
By the end of August 2013 Australian Twitter usage included approximately 2.79 million accounts. Breaking it down per capita using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures for September 2013, equates to a 12% uptake in Australia. However view this with a grain of salt as some Twitter users will operate multiple accounts (e.g. for private and professional use). This is why they have termed 2.79 million accounts, instead of users.
The Twitter hotspots in Australia are definitely Sydney/New South Wales, Melbourne/Victoria, however most surprising of all is Canberra/ACT with approximately 115,000 users giving them the highest number of Twitter users per capita. Perth is listed to have 119,000 with 220,000 overall accounts in Western Australia which is significantly larger than Adelaide/South Australia 76,000 with 142,000 overall but well behind Brisbane/Queensland 138,000 and 525,000 overall.
The study also provides insight into Twitter’s uptake within Australia (see below), with a graph showing a significant spike in signups with more than 110,000 in early 2009, then falling back to approximately 30,000 in 2010 with steady growth until another spike in January 2013, when Twitter began building its local Australia office.
For the full report please visit mappingonlinepublics.net