ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How many Bhutanese tweeples are out there?

According to a rough sampling exercise that I conducted, there are currently around 3,000 to 4,000 Bhutanese Twitter accounts. Abi Narayan (Twitter handle: @abixalmon) opened one of the first (if not the first) Twitter account in Bhutan: Abi's account was created on March 18, 2007, more than five years ago.
The number of accounts crossed 100 sometime in 2009, and 1000 accounts were available at the end of 2010. The rate of joining Twitter accelerated dramatically in mid-2011. Check out the chart below (it might take a few seconds to load, so be patient!).


  1. Interesting. What is the source of your data and sampling method?

    It will be interesting if this is can be compared to the growth of Internet users in Bhutan.

    1. Here's how this was done: We assume that Bhutanese tweeple follow AT LEAST ONE Twitter account of a Bhutanese "influencer". Thus, a list of the most popular Bhutanese twitter accounts was compiled (Media houses, politicians, social activists, journalists, humorists, bloggers, etc). These are accounts which are followed by large number of Bhutanese fans. Although this might not be accurate - some Bhutanese may not follow anyone "important" - it's a pretty good approximation (and serves as a lower bound).

      Using the Twitter API (, I've collected information about all the followers of these accounts. I now had to find out how many of these accounts are "Bhutanese". An account was defined as "Bhutanese" if the information available for that account hints at it being owned by Bhutanese (the account's location is in Bhutan, the account's timezone is GMT+6, the information in the account name or description hints to it being owned by a Bhutanese, etc). The list of Bhutanese accounts was then combined with the account creation dates to generate the above chart.


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