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Is the Twitter Hype Drawing to a Close?

Or is Such Talk Just Hype Itself?

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[ Social Media]

Is Twitter’s hype drawing to a close? Has there always been as much merit to Twitter as hype anyway? These are the kinds of questions being tossed around as more and more information becomes available indicating that Twitter may not be as popular as many of us thought it was.

Avid Twitterers are well aware of the situation. "Twitter’s phenomenal" is one of the top trending topics, and is a reference to a report on the subject. You have to wonder what percentage of the truly active Twitter community is talking about this. I have a hunch it’s fairly high, because a lot of Twitter’s user base does not even Tweet or use their account much if at all.

Here are a couple graphs referenced in that report. They come from Compete and Quantcast, and basically tell the same story:

We’ve known for some time that Twitter has had issues with retention, but some other findings from security firm Purewire released this week show some somewhat starting numbers. Let’s look at some stat’s they are sharing:

40% of Twitter users have not tweeted since their first day on Twitter, evidence that the account was most likely created and subsequently abandoned

Forty percent. That’s quite a chunk. Can you imagine if forty percent of Google users actually weren’t using Google at all? Think how happy Yahoo and Microsoft would be.

Approx. 25% of Twitter users are not following anyone, while 2/3 are following less than 10 people, evidence that the account was created but is largely dormant

That’s nothing to ignore. Even if these accounts are not dormant, it’s hard to imagine that these people are using Twitter incredibly often.

Over 1/3 of Twitter users haven’t posted a single tweet, and nearly 80% of users have fewer than 10 tweets, evidence that while Twitter is billed as a great collaboration tool, a large number of users are there to consume content, not distribute it.

I don’t find this one quite so startling. Twitter can be many different things to many different people. I think we’ve covered that before. I personally find it more useful as an information gathering source than anything. I read what people are saying far more than I say things myself. That is why my one word for Twitter was "microblogging." I think of it as reading miniature blog posts in terms of how I use it most myself (despite the many differences between Twitter and feed readers).

Approx. 30% of Twitter users don’t have any followers, and 80% of Twitter users have less than 10 followers, evidence that for many users, their posts are not being widely tracked or read.

Again, see my comments above. You don’t have to have followers to get some benefit out of Twitter. Although, with the ongoing confusion, questioning, and general dislike for Twitter, you have to wonder how many of these people see it that way.

50% of Twitter users are following more people than they have as followers, and another 30% of Twitter users are following the same number of people that are following them, evidence that users are aggressively trying to attract followers by hoping they will "follow back" but have been unsuccessful.

Purewire also shares the following graphs looking at Twitter’s population following counts, tweet counts, and follower counts:

Purewire Twitter Populiation Following

Purewire Tweets

Purewire Twitter population Followers

So what do we make of all of these stats and graphs? Clearly, Twitter is not the biggest thing on the planet. Some have called it a fad, and it may be, but I’m not going to go so far as to say that that is the case. The people that are actually using Twitter love it. When you can make your users happy, you’re bound to keep some interest. I suspect that the numbers of Twitter users actually using it will grow.

Twitter’s not going away anytime soon, and as the company itself grows and changes in time, it just may improve on that retention rate. Maybe I’m wrong, but it will be interesting to see how Twitter’s future progresses either way.

 Update: To see how Oprah may have affected Twitter’s numbers in a negative way, read this.

Is the Twitter Hype Drawing to a Close?
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  • http://www.massmediadesign.co.uk/website-design/website-design-slough.aspx Gregor

    Yes, I’ve seen similar stats and wondered the same thing. But I think you’re spot on – Twitter isn’t a fad but neither is it the best thing ever!

    I don’t think people will find that they use it as often as Google but it’s a handy tool and it’s been adopted by the mainstream (TV and personalities are all using it in a variety of ways) so it’s going to be around for a while – it’s too useful a tool now to just disappear.

    Whether it’ll still be around in 5 years time is a different matter!

  • http://www.kratom.md shelly

    I am so sick of hearing about twitter!!!!!

  • Guest

    I agree with some of the conclusions drawn (evidence for….) especially early on in the article, while others I disagree with. High statistics of users that created an account but never again logged in or posted a tweet, are clearly indicative that Twitter is a service that a lot of people are still discovering, and that some will dig it and some will not.
    As for users with a small number of followers / or who are only following a small number, I would think those folks make up the majority: unless you are a celebrity/net-celeb/business/etc. your ring of followers are most likely going to be people you know personally and whom you’ve either explicitly asked for their twitter info or whom you’ve taken the time to track down. And I don’t know about others, but I find that if I follow too many people (or people who chose not to limit their posts) the twitter homepage becomes unusable. Thus I don’t follow just ANYONE, but tend to be pretty selective.
    Anyway, whatever Twitter has billed itself as (“great collaboration tool”? really?) I think it’s likely that the way it was originally intended to be used and the way it will actually be used are going to turn out to be two different things. My guess is that in the end it’s services (or services very similar to it) will be absorbed by some other site / tool that’s capable of what Twitter does and much more, and some day we’ll be tweeting without even knowing it.

  • nebben

    I put these numbers into perspective here, http://bit.ly/rDgmp.

  • http://www.espaco2d.blogspot.com Murilo

    The new trend. All the world is in it. A great marketing vehicle. Millions of users…

    Sounds familiar? Second Life was a fever during 2 or 3 years. Then vanished… Soon Twitter will follow.

    Why? Because there’s no use for a community of telegraphic messages. No useful content. If you have a busy life, you’ll soon find those short-hollow messages an annoying spam. If you have more time to spend, you can endure but will soon give up when the new hype comes (and something will come).

    Someone once said that the hours spent on Second Life were about as fun as watching paint dry. Writing (or, worse, reading) short-living strings of characters doesn’t seem much better either.

  • DominicT

    It may not be as popular as Google, but those who red used to twitter will just know how to twist it.

  • Michelle

    I am guilty of being a Twitterer who joined thinking it was a fun social site. The hype wore off after a couple of months. The reason for this is the constant requests from followers who are marketing their ideas or businesses. Most of my followers are either buisness related or some miracle cure related. At first there were a few friends who signed up for Twitter hearing that a few TV celebs Twittered. That was fun. Then the followers were more and more businesses looking to promote their sites and sell their products.
    I do own my own business but I do not Twitter for it. My business is a seperate thing altogether and my social networking is kept social.
    Therefore, yes, for the thousands of people like me who joined twitter thinking it was a fun social site, the hype left the buiding a long time ago.
    Facebook is the social place to be at the moment and unfortunatly, the businesses on Twitter are pushing the likes of me away.

  • http://www.fashion-in-bag.com/ Replica Designer Handbags

    recently,there is some news and report of twitter everywhere we can read.
    Other hand,it is the power of internet.

  • http://www.kratomplants.com Kratom

    It looks like google + is trying to take some of the twitter ideas. twitter is still a great way to break stories, products and other news. its not going anywhere.