While a staggering amount of people seem to talk about Twitter, the latest polls and research indicate that talk is about all that Twitter can muster nowadays. According to these latest numbers, the hype surrounding the microblogging site is far exceeding the practical rate of usage.
To that end, a study by Nielsen Online determined that over 60 percent of new Twitter users quit using the site after only one month. Put another way, the retention rate for the site hovers around 40 percent. To put that dismal number in perspective, other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace boast a retention rate around 70 percent.
All the dedicated Twitter users, however, look for hope in the facts. After all, no one can deny the impressive rush of people who signed up for the service. But even these numbers can be viewed as troubling statistics for Twitter. After all, other social networking powerhouses also experienced explosive initial numbers. But unlike Twitter, they were able to hold onto their users.
Leaving people to ponder Twitter’s shortcomings, many point to the very basic premise of Twitter as both the catalyst and the ultimate problem with the site. Being such a simple idea, users were undoubtedly drawn to the simplicity and ease of use, but it quickly proved a kind of one trick pony. When people were done with what Twitter could offer, users reverted back to more substantial sites such as Facebook, which offer a litany of different interactive features.
So does this signal doom for the tweet-centric site? Not necessarily. One of the most popular aspects of Twitter is the extensive list of third party applications, which includes everything from Twhirl to Tweetdeck. These don’t require that you visit the homepage, so their use is not reflected in these Nielsen numbers.
And if Twitter users are looking for another silver lining, their initial retention numbers were an even more troublesome 30 percent. So even if the numbers aren’t as stellar as other sites that offer social networking applications, they are at least improving. And maybe this points to the natural growth that Twitter must undergo. While casual users jumped on the bandwagon, it looks like these “egocasters” have quickly lost interest in using the forum as some kind of popularity contest. And that just leaves people looking to utilize the site as a professional tool or a means of personal communication.
It’s also unlikely that Twitter will be going away any time soon. This can be attributed to the fact that celebrities are behind it. Whether it’s the latest star of reality television or an up and coming politician, Twitter has been utilized (very publicly) by some of the most well known names and faces around.