Analyst: Twitter Passed 500M Users In June 2012, 140M Of Them In US; Jakarta ‘Biggest Tweeting’ City

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A milestone for Twitter today, according to the Paris-based analyst group Semiocast. The social network has now passed the half-billion account mark — specifically 517 million accounts as of July 1, 2012, with 141.8 million of those users in the U.S., still about half as many users as Facebook has but positioning it as the second-biggest social networking site.

And just as most of Twitter’s users are coming from outside the U.S., so are the tweets: the top three cities in terms of tweets, it says, are Jakarta, Tokyo and London.

The firm says it based these figures on a sample selection of 1.058 billion public tweets in the month of June.

It also notes that while Japan is one of the most active tweeting countries, growth there is maturing and slowing down, as it is in Korea.

One thing Semiocast doesn’t break out in its report are mobile numbers and usage on different Twitter clients, which would be interesting to see just as a point of comparison and in the context of Twitter trying to encourage users to adopt its own platform (for its advertising and other monetization potential) rather than those using its APIs for effectively similar services.

Nor does it give an indication of how many active users there are among those 500 million+ accounts. We’re asking, though, and will update as and when we learn more.

Update on the above two points in a separate post here.

Some other notable findings:

Geolocation is only used 0.77% of the time. The feature has been around for 2.5 years, but it appears that even as users from around the world love to express themselves, they’re not that keen on expressing where they are.

The proportion of U.S. users is on the decline. It’s now at 27.4% of users, compared to 28.1% in January 2012. That still makes it the biggest single Twitter nation, however. Breaking out specific cities, the highest-ranking U.S. city for tweeting is New York, at number five, and representing 0.4% of all tweets. Twitter’s home market of San Francisco accounts for only 0.2% of all tweets.

As with social networking site Facebook, it’s all about the developing world for growth right now. Brazil was the fastest-growing country, and it now has 41.2 million users, up from 33.3 million in January. That’s only 8% of all users, however, and 6.6% of tweets (meaning they are less active than their numbers would suggest).

Brazil usurped Japan as the second-largest country after the U.S. in terms of profiles but it is the most engaged. It represents 10.6% of all tweets but only 6.7% of users. Japanese after English is the second-most popular language.

Other trending nations include Indonesia, which has 29.4 million profiles and the most active Twitter city, Jakarta. Semiocast implies that Indonesia may soon overtake the UK for fourth position in its rankings: the UK currently has 32.2 million user profiles but is growing more slowly than the Southeast Asian country.

Another global sign: Semiocast says Arabic is going strong on Twitter and is now the 6th most popular language on the site, accounting for 2.8% of all tweets. Saudi Arabia’s user numbers were up by 93% in six months to 2.9 million.