An early Happy Birthday to Twitter. And a Happy, if somewhat belated, Birthday to TweetMyJobs.
The former will be 5 yearsold in a week; the latter is now 2. Both of them have enjoyed a robust growth, built on the seemingly preposterous notion that the world would beat a path to their door via 140-character messages.
Indeed the world has. Estimates of Twitter account holders are in the 200-250 million range. (Twitter is secretive about many of its numbers. As far as anyone knows, the company has not shared its active user count, but it’s a safe assumption that regular tweeters are fewer in number. It did report that its current growth rate is about 460,000 new users a day.)
Founder Gary Zukowski says he expects 1 million followers by the end of the year, an ambitious goal for a service that now has so many imitators and competitors that they’re almost impossible to count. Every major job board and every major (and not so major) employer now regularly tweets its job posts.
Twitter users themselves send just about a billion tweets a week. (It took Twitter 3 years, 2 months and a day from first tweet to one billion. That’s another of the factoids Twitter is sharing for its birthday celebration.) Thousands of tweets were sent in Japan within mere seconds of the earthquake last week. Millions more were sent in the hours and days since.
Twitter is commonly thought of as a social network, mentioned in the same sentence as Facebook and LinkedIn. And to some extent, it is. However, Korean researchers who studied 40+ million Twitter users and some 100 million tweets, convincingly argue that Twitter has more in common with traditional media than with Facebook.
“If we interpret the act of following as subscribing to tweets,” the researchers wrote in a paper, “then Twitter serves more as an information-spreading medium than an online social networking service.”
That’s how the job services use Twitter. TweetMyJobs, which may have been the first job service to leverage the Twitter platform, tweets jobs as soon as they are posted. With more than 10,000 Twitter channels, TweetMyJobs users pick the ones that best fit their career interests, and so get just the jobs they might care about.
When Zukowski launched TweetMyJobs (without fanfare in February 2009; the announced launch came a few weeks later, hence today’s birthday celebration in the TweetMyJobs newsletter), he had the show to himself. Now, even with a Twitter job app on every career site, he says TweetMyJobs is still the best.
“We are doing it right,” he insists, pointing to the targeting by the job channels, and the service’s implementation. “When a job is filled, we delete the tweet.”
Besides tweeting jobs from paying customers and another 8,000 or so through a partnership with DirectEmployers Association, TweetMyJobs also white labels Twitter distribution for private clients, which also posts to their Facebook page. A particularly cool feature of that service is the jobs distribution map, such as this one for Starbucks.
So what’s the future hold?
Says Zukowski, “Twitter has a pretty good foothold in the social media area. And we are solid.” Ten years from now is anybody’s guess, he adds.
One guess: Twitter as a jobs distribution platform will continue to grow in use. While most job boards still provide jobs via email (and many do so exclusively), that is increasingly a less popular tool.
The Pew Research Center, which studies all sorts of Internet usage, said this in a report on teens and mobile phones last year:
“When compared with use in 2006, daily email use has declined slightly from 15% of Internet users to 11% of Internet users in 2009. Fully 41% of all teens say that they never use email when communicating with their peers outside of school.”
Happy Birthday and, evidently, many more.