Twitter Reading Habits


Before the interwebs became popular, people read newspapers in 2 different ways.

  • 70% people read each and every word of the articles once they got past its headline.
  • 30% people scanned the articles. They didn’t read all the words – just picked up on the first sentence per paragraph to get the jist of it.

(Sharp readers will find that this 70:30 ratio is very close to the information gathering Sensing:iNtution ratios of the MBTI personality tests. Empirical tests show that 73% of people are Sensors and 27% are iNtuitive.)


The interwebs changed peoples reading habits. The deluge of information is enormous. There is so much to read that people stopped reading complete sentences. Studies show that only 30% of people read all the words of an online article or a blog post. And 70% are scanners! We’ve seen a complete reversal of newspaper reading habits!


People often ask me how do I keep up with 10,000+ Twitter followers!

Usually – these are one of the 50% of people on Twitter who read each and every tweet. (The other 50% on Twitter don’t read all the tweets.)

My answer to them is: I’m a scanner.

I don’t force myself to read everyones tweets. My intention with using Twitter is not to know what each and every person I follow is doing all the time. Rather, I use Twitter as a patterning tool. Any news that is hot and timely will be talked about and ReTweeted by more than one person. And so – even if I don’t read all the tweets, if the information is value worthy – I will get to read about it on Twitter (with very few exceptions)!

My prediction: the 50:50 ratio on Twitter of people reading all the tweets vs people scanning their tweets is going to change to about 30:70 too. Give a bit more time and we will only see about 30% of Twitterers reading all their tweets.? But this won’t mean the other 70% is missing out on much.