Yesterday I posted that the Architects Twitter League had reached a massive 630 members, and now we have a pretty good sample I thought it was worth doing some statistical analysis.
The massive growth of twitter in the last year seems to have been reflected, if somewhat belatedly, by a rush of architects, practices and students joining the social networking site to share information, at least in terms of the people who have found the Architects League.
So I’ve taken the data I have about the members of the twitterleague and analysed it with the help of Rob Annable (@eversion on twitter) and a host of other friends who took some time out last night to fill in the gaps in my understanding of spreadsheet function.
The graph above shows the number of members of the Architects Twitter League arranged by the date they signed up to twitter. The earliest joiner is Rob who joined on 6 December 2006.
Plotting this data shows the huge rush to join twitter in the spring of 2009, culminating in 85 members of this user group joining in April 2009.
What’s even more interesting though, is how the number of architects joining since April has dropped off dramatically, with only 9 in August and 7 in September. What does this mean?
We’ve had a look for some comparable surveys of the whole twitter user base and found two recent studies both reported on the news site Mashable.com –
STATS: Has Twitter’s Growth Peaked? On 25 September 2009
STATS: Facebook and Twitter’s Growth Flattens on 13 October 2009 (yesterday).
Both studies use different metrics – the first looks at the market share of US visits to twitter, and the second at number of unique visitors to twitter, but they both show a halt to growth. Neither of them shows a falling off the cliff in quite the same way as our graph though.
The question is – why are there fewer architects signing up to twitter since the Summer? What do you think?
I think the concept of Twitter and social media permeated through professional circles earlier this year, and everyone who was interested in jumping on board, did…accounting for the peak in the spring.
I think that the trickle of people from that point forward will be those who are either late to the party, or new to the field.
I also think it peaked in the spring because of the what the economy has done to our profession. And at least in the united states a lot of people were laid off in that time frame. So it may have been unemployed architects getting on to brand themselves, or even firms creating profiles to do the same and get their name out there as another way to generate work.
I am not sure if twitter usage among architects has reached its peak yet. I think there may be other surges of usage as the economy gets stronger, as more architects see the benefits of twitter as an information sharing source & information search engine, as a potential marketing tool, and as more architects embrace technology that right now seems foreign to them and/or as architectural students and interns come into the field who will already be familiar with twitter.
Laurent Brixius says
After summer, most working architects do just that : Work. No more time to play with Twitter.
Even if I’m not a practising architect (I’m in the architectural visualization industry), I’ve seen my workload skyrocket by September.
From my point of view (no stats yet), (french-speaking) architects are not very active on the web. Most still don’t have their own website or blog so their benefits for using Twitter are limited.
Paul Wilkinson says
It may have something to do with the interruptions in provision of the TwitterLeague service over the past couple of months. Only in the past couple of days have I been able to log back in again (and I still lack confidence in the service).
Lee Smallwood says
Interesting question Su… however without understanding fully how Architects currently use Twitter I’ll respond generally and with some assumptions… but it’s not just your sector that is seeing a current decline.
Firstly, anything that gets a lot of traditional media and word of mouth will attract a lot of attention – nothing new there. But unlike products or services provided by companies, social media platforms like Twitter rely heavily on people having a high perception of value – and more importantly understanding the ‘added value’ it can bring. This, I believe, is where a % of the partly problem lies:
People sign up to Twitter, add a few contacts, start learning how to communicate in fewer than 140 characters. People then start adding more ‘friends’ – following advice on blogs in how to increase your followers. They then start seeing their numbers increase dramatically, which gives them a sense of achievement perhaps even fulfilment until they realise that they are now getting spammed with information which doesn’t relate to them or listening to conversations which have no meaning. So they start to unfollow those ‘friends’ and they get back to a stage where they don’t really see the difference between Twitter and say updating their status on Facebook or sending a text message to a friend via a mobile and slowly but surely visit the sites less frequently…
A further problem lies with businesses not understanding where and how social media can fit in with their communication plans or they haven’t even considered that SM tools are a form of B2B or B2C communication – (although I believe these terms are becoming outdated and we’re actually in the age of P2P, peer2peer, and have been for some time)
Another problem falls with many companies and organisations (big and small)insisting they have a social media strategy, by saying, ‘oh yes, some of our employees are personally on facebook/linkedin/twitter – delete as appropriately or inappropriately as you see fit. These companies and organisation are the ones that ban access to these sites during working hours because they social media as a drain on resources rather than a support mechanism.
And if that wasn’t enough the problem also lies with the term ‘Social Media’ itself:
– Social = NOT business
– Media = publishing = expensive
This initially acts like a barrier, stopping people trying out social media. But a large % of these will eventually ‘dip their toe’ in the water only to get distracted and lose focus when using Twitter and other social media platforms. They then suffer a form of cognitive dissonance similar to that of going to fancy restaurant only to be served with a ‘not what I expected meal’ or buying something which has been heavily promoted only to find out it doesn’t meet ‘our’ expectations. When this happens people visit the site less frequently…
But thankfully for some, the social media light bulb is shining brightly and they really ‘get it’. These people are beyond just knowing the basic benefits that integrating social media within their communication strategy can bring. They are listening, evaluating, responding, experimenting, implementing, tweaking and monitoring in so many different ways – autonomously.
Like Craig, I don’t believe we’ve seen the peak yet – see http://bit.ly/2f8lzv we’re just in a rest period! But it will be interesting to follow the trends over the next few months… but it would be really good to sit down with you guys and have a face-2-face
Seems Architects Twitter League numbers peaked and are diminishing. Not architects who tweet. Two completely different things. I am an architect who tweets. I am not a follower of the Architects Twitter League. Your title of the article is misleading. Should have read “Has the number of followers for Architects Twitter League peaked?” In which case, you should examine the value you provide (or lack thereof) to your membership to explain the drop off in sign-up rates.
Lee Smallwood says
I think you might have got the wrong end of the stick RE: what the Twitter League is…
I’m not an architect, but have had a ‘couple’ of conversations RE: the league and I believe the Twitter League is currently a measure of the people Su has found rather than people who’ve found the Twitter League. So if Su, the Twitter League, is following you then you’ll be included within the stats 🙂
Again, although I’m not an Architect, I follow quite a few on Twitter that are – including Su and the league, and the impression I get is that it is a valuable resource to those that use it: architects, practices, students and individuals so that they can find one another.
As I’m sure you can appreciate, Twitter use in the UK is still in it’s infancy and as such people are experimenting in how it can benefit and assist organisations and the people that work within specific sectors – Architects included.
I’m sure Su and the Twitter League would welcome any suggestions that you may have for future ideas that you feel the League could implement to help others in similar situations…
No bad will to the Twitter League. I actually checked out the page and it seems good. I just have a problem with the foundation of their premise… no matter if TL is following you or if you follow TL, it has no relation on how many architects are really out there in the twitter world. It ONLY reflects those that have found TL or that TL has found. Yes, twitter is in its infancy. I know and encourage architects to join every day. TL is erroneously estimating the # of architects on twitter by extrapolating from its own limited population. Because of this, the article is inaccurate. Really just an opinion piece. Actually, they should have named it “Does TL’s own diminishing numbers mean a diminishing number of architects on twitter?” See? I love twitter. And I’m about to go follow you! =)
Tony Carroll says
It’s interesting to see surges as new media becomes mainstream and it looks like Twitter did this earlier in the year. Since that time the novelty will have been replaced by a personal acknowledgement of what the medium means to that person or firm. Twitter isn’t for everybody.
The future looks like being less about the medium and more about the content, and as we see increasing aggregation of the messages being put out there we’ll be less concerned about what tools we use to distribute that message.
Just like motor cars, they all get us there in pretty much the same way, but personal motivation to use one type or another is as changeable as the number of people on the planet.
Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter… next year? I’m not sure that we really need to worry as long as the content is interesting or relevant to somebody.
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