Twitter Acquires Fluther Engineering Talent - InformationWeek

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12/22/2010
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Twitter Acquires Fluther Engineering Talent

Announcement made that four engineers and a designer -- including the startup's founders -- will move to Twitter, just as a study details the microblogging site's changing usage patterns.

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Twitter on Tuesday said it acquired Fluther, a question-and-answer startup, for its engineering talent.

Through the acquisition, Twitter added four engineers and a designer, said Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner in a company blog.

"During our conversations with Fluther's team, we were continually impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and much of the thinking behind the question-and-answer product they've spent the last couple of years building," she said. "When the Fluther team joins us they will focus on helping users discover the most relevant content on Twitter. Their product, Fluther.com, is not part of the acquisition and will remain separate from Twitter."

Fluther itself will continue, according to a separate blog post on the startup's site. Although it will no longer have access to the same resources, community manager Lisa Noll will continue maintaining the site, said Ben Finkel, CEO and co-founder, and Andrew McClain, president and co-founder, both of whom are heading to Twitter. Tim Trueman, Richard Henry, and Cameron Dutro also are moving to the microblogging company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Thank you to everyone who helped Fluther grow from an idea into a thriving community with over a million visitors a month," Finkel and McClain wrote. "We'll have more details about the state of Fluther in the coming weeks."

Twitter, of course, also has grown since it debuted in July 2006. Following slow but steady growth, usage exploded in 2009: In that year, the number of accounts grew dramatically, then flattened before growing again through the first of this year, according to a new report by Sysomos.

In addition, users with more than 100 friends have increased three-fold, to 21%, compared with 2009, the study found, and about 22.5% of users account for an overwhelming 90% of all Twitter activity. From January until mid-August (the end of the study period), new users accounted for nearly 44% of the total Twitter population. People who created a profile before January 2009 only made up 4.7% of the total population, the study found.

Underscoring results of a report released earlier this month which found that most Twitter accountholders rarely tweet, Sysomos' study determined 80% of users have made fewer than 500 tweets.

The battle for followers continues -- but only a handful of tweeters achieve dominance. A mere 0.06% of Twitter users have more than 20,000 followers, and only 2.12% have more than 1,000 followers, while 95.9% have less than 500 followers, according to the report. But the number of Twitter users with up to five followers has decreased to 32% in 2010 from 46% in 2009, while users with more than 100 followers have more than doubled to 16% from 7%, the study said.

Perhaps marking a growing comfort with Twitter specifically or social media in general, users are more likely to reveal personal information -- such as their real name or location, the study said. For example, 82% of Twitter users now provide a name, compared with one-third in 2009, Sysomos said. In addition, 73% included location information compared with 44% in 2009, while 45% of users submit a Web site address versus 22% a year ago, the report said.

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