Study: Twitter and the blogosphere
During the last few weeks, I have conducted a study aimed at finding the answers to these questions, or at least the beginnings of them. I thus selected the top 25,000 blogs from each of the rankings for the six Wikio sites - UK, US, Germany, Spain, Italy and France - giving 150,000 blogs in total. All of these were "active" blogs, meaning they had all published a blog post in the preceding two months.
The blogs and Twitter accounts were compared using various algorithms, taking into account the fact that certain blogs can have several Twitter accounts (especially in the cases of multiple authors), and that a single blog can be linked to several Twitter accounts. A methodological limit was placed on the exercise: I looked only for associations or pairings stated explicitly with the mention of a blog on a user's Twitter page or a mention of a Twitter account on blog home page (or both). We can probably assume that some bloggers who have a Twitter account that is not mentioned or listed anywhere escaped our gaze.
Also, a multitude of variations can interfere with the formulation of a URL for a given blog and even though several measures were put in place to account for this, unquestionably some associations between a blog and a Twitter account will have been missed. A manual test was carried out for each language that showed the associations missed was probably of the order of 1%. The figures given by the study thus seem reasonably trustworthy.
The proportion of blogs with an associated Twitter account varies significantly according to the country in question. Unsurprisingly we see that the US boasts the highest proportion (32.1%), versus 20.7% for the greatest proportion found amongst the European countries in Spain. France comes in second last with 13.5%.
Proportion of blogs with an associated Twitter account in the Top 25,000 Wikio blogs for each country
The proportion also varies in relation to a blog's position in the ranking. Remember that the Wikio rankings are based on the number of backlinks that each blog receives. We can thus suppose that the blogs at the top are more "active" members of the blogosphere and social networks than those found further down in the rankings. It is thus unsurprising, as we see in the graph below, that the blogs in the top 1000 are much more likely to be on Twitter than the others found in the top 25,000. Take for example the United States, where over half (57%) of blogs in Wikio's top 1000 have an associated Twitter account compared to 32% for the top 25,000.
Proportion of blogs with an associated Twitter account in the Top 1000 Wikio blogs for each country
The difference relative to the European nations is reduced as we see a proportion of 52% for Spain, not far off the 57% seen amongst the US' top 1000 blogs. As for France, they drop into last place with only 26%. These differences can undoubtedly be explained by the sociological composition of the blogospheres of these countries, or at least how Wikio is seen in said nations. We know for example that the bloggers covering leisure pursuits such as knitting and craft work make up a high proportion of the blogs in the French Top 1000, which might imply a collection of bloggers less implicated (or interested) in the Twitter phenomenon than those for example of the High-Tech blogging world.
In total, these figures show a somewhat moderate level of Twitter penetration in the blogosphere particularly in European countries, including the UK, where bloggers do not appear to behave in the same way as their American counterparts: the UK has half as many blogs associated with a Twitter account (compare the UK's 16% with the US' 32% across the top 25,000 blogs in each nation). For all countries, the pairing rate seems to be greater for the blogs that already have a significant, existing social network (assuming the presence of many backlinks indicates such a network) and in the Tech domains. It will be interesting to observe how the situation evolves as and when we see a slowing in Twitter's progress, in particular across the Atlantic.