Is Twitter really costing $14 billion in lost productivity?

In a brilliant piece of deduction, Pat Phelan and Florian Seroussi of telco startup Maxroam estimate on their blog that time spent on Twitter will cost $13.5bn in lost productivity 2008. How did they reach this eye-watering figure?

Reversing the normal question ‘what are Twitter’s costs’ to ‘what’s the cost of Twitter’ Phelan and Seroussi got out the calculator. Settling on a million Twitter users (based on 750,000 registered users and 60,000 new users a month), they found estimates of 11,000 requests per second being made to Twitter. They further estimate 27 million minutes per day spent on Twitter for the average user, for about 450,000 hours a day or around 13.5 million hours a month. This, coupled with Twitter doubling in size every 6 weeks, means they expect Twitter to cost 30 million hours per month of productivity. This all adds up to $13.5bn in 2008, which, neatly, is Facebook’s estimated value.

Given that many firms have banned access to Facebook, I am starting to wonder if the same fate may ever fall to Twitter? I do hope not – it’s so much more useful.