With over 100 million new Twitter accounts opened in 2010 and the 1 billionth tweet published, Twitter has become a staple communication tool for people around the world.  While a small percentage of Twitter users still account for the majority of tweets, usage habits are changing as a new study by Sysomos reveals (shown in the chart below from eMarketer).

In 2009, 2 out of 5 people worldwide followed five or fewer people on Twitter.  In 2010, that number dropped significantly with fewer than 1 in 3 people following just five or fewer people.  On the flip side, in 2009, fewer than 1 in 10 people followed 100 or more people on Twitter, but in 2010, more than 1 in 5 people followed 100 or more people.  Similarly, the number of Twitter accounts that were followed by five or fewer people dropped from just under 1 out of every 2 accounts in 2009 (47%) to just under 1 in every 3 accounts in 2010 (32%).

Less than 10% of U.S. web users are using Twitter, but of those people who are using Twitter, they’re embracing it.  As the Sysomos study  reports, Twitter users are revealing more information about themselves than ever before, with more than twice as many users in 2010 offering information about their location, name, biography and URL than in 2009.

What do these statistics tell us?  A few things jump out at me.  First, there is still a lot of room for Twitter to grow.  Second, people are getting more comfortable revealing personal information online in general, and with the launch of more localized Twitter services in 2010, it’s not surprising that people are taking the time to complete their Twitter bios and offering more information about themselves.  Finally, the number of people who find real value in Twitter is growing, and they’re using Twitter more than ever.  Real relationships are developing, and the reasons people use Twitter are growing more diverse.

What once seemed like a useless tool for teens has turned into a vital communications tool for people around the world.  We’re still only at the beginning of the story of real-time communication and the story of Twitter.