News sites and Web logs are buzzing about a study that shows Twitter has a terrible retention rate. People hear the hype about the microblogging service, sign up and give it a try. Then most don’t come back.
It’s what I’ve been saying for awhile: Twitter has some valid niche uses, but in its current state is not a mainstream consumer service.
A Nielsen Online study determined that more than 60% of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month. In other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is now about 40%.
The retention rates for Facebook and MySpace, when they were emerging networks like Twitter is now, were twice as high. Facebook and MySpace even improved their retention rates as they went through their explosive growth phase, Nielsen said Tuesday. They both have nearly 70% user retention today. See the Nielsen report here. And here’s how Reuters covered the report.
Not a lot of there, there
To most people, Twitter is like a public message board with a lot of inane chatter, conversations that are impossible to follow, and people posting Web links (guilty!).
All those @ symbols before user names that show a response to someone else’s message are very confusing and break up an individual user’s tweets. The design of the Web page is a mess and finding useful information is like hunting for gems in the dirt at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.
I’ve noted in other posts about the numerous empty or abandoned Twitter user pages. I’ve found scores of blank or barely used accounts just by typing in possible user names in the URL. Just type in possible user accounts after twitter.com/ and hit enter.
Here’s a few more such dead or joke accounts: Nigerian Prince, Dr. Gregory House (at least three), Tracy Jordan, Terminator, IP Freely, Amanda Hugankiss, Wizard of Oz, Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, Lisa Simpson, Maggie Simpson, Montgomery Burns, Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Porky Pig, and on and on.
My account on Twitter is just a week old. I’m just using it to post Web links to my stories on Investor’s Business Daily and personal blog entries so Twitter users can discover them. So far I haven’t been tempted to tell people what I’ve eaten for lunch.