Twitter averaged 320 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the fourth quarter of 2015, 9.6% more than in the same quarter a year earlier, according to the company’s financial disclosure statements. That’s Twitter’s slowest annualized growth rate since at least 2011, when comparable data began to be publicly disclosed. Domestic, international and total MAUs were all flat or slightly down compared with the third quarter. (The company defines an MAU as anyone who accessed the service at least once in the past 30 days.)
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. Twitter users get news via the service, but the reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs considerably from general public opinion. That was the conclusion of a 2013 Pew Research Center study that compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets in response to eight major news events. The Twitter conversation sometimes was more liberal than survey responses, and other times more conservative, but often what stood out was the overall negativity on Twitter. (Those differences might be related to the demographics traits of Twitter users: Center surveys have consistently found that Twitter users are disproportionately young, urban, African-American, and better educated.)
More recently, The Washington Post found little overlap between the subjects of election-related tweets and the issues Americans identified as most important in casting their votes. For example, while 28% in a Post/ABC News poll identified the economy and jobs as their biggest concern, only 8% of election-related tweets focused on that.