Twitter Used by 16.4M US Internet Users, Will Growth to 27.7M by 2013 [STATS]

Twitter will reach over 20 million US adults by the end of the year, and will grow to reach over 27 million by the end of 2013. While these numbers aren’t quite as impressive as Facebook’s, they do paint a picture of a niche social information network that is growing steadily.

These numbers from from an eMarketer report released Thursday which compared Facebook and Twitter’s growth and penetration. And while many are interpreting these numbers to show that Facebook is simply the “better” and more popular network, Twitter is certainly holding its own amidst an increasingly crowded social web.

eMarketer predicts that Twitter’s growth will surpass 26% this year, reaching about 9% of US Adult internet users or 20.6 million total. And by 2013 Twitter should be seeing still-respectable 14.8% growth, and will be used by 27.7 million adults in the US.

The stats from eMarketer are close to those from Pew Research Center a few months ago, which had calculated that 8% of American internet users were on Twitter in 2010.

There’s no denying that Twitter is a place for power-users – 2.2% of Twitter users account for 60% of all activity. However, it is growing. And while it may never overtake Facebook’s astonishing 50% penetration in 2013, Twitter’s role as a social stream of information is important to its users nonetheless.

Two caveats come attached to these stats from eMarketer: one, they represent actual usage as opposed to account created or any other metric that doesn’t represent how popular a social network actually is. And two, they do not take into consideration international internet users. This is a big one for Twitter especially, as it has been speculated that over 50% of its users live outside the US.