The top 10 percent of prolific Twitter users account for over 90 percent of tweets, say researchers at Harvard Business School. That's a more concentrated pattern than for a typical social networking site, where the top 10 percent of users account for 30 percent of all activity.
At Wikipedia, the top 15 percent of the most prolific editors account for 90 percent of Wikipedia's edits.
The implication is that Twitter activity more closely resembles a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.
There's another obvious pattern. Use of Twitter, social networking or Wikipedia posts all are examples of the Pareto principle, colloquially referred to as the "80-20 rule" or the "long tail."
We should not actually be surprised. Pareto distributions occur widely in both human and natural domains. The other implication is that even as Twitter usage grows, the distribution of active contributors will not change too much. A small number of people will represent most of the activity.
Twitter's usage patterns are also very different from a typical on-line social network, say researchers at the Harvard Business School. A typical Twitter user contributes very rarely, compared to other social networks.
Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. This translates into over half of Twitter users tweeting less than once every 74 days.
The researchers examined the activity of a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users in May 2009.