Thursday, April 30, 2009

Neilson Ratings Raise Questions About the Future of Twitter But Misses Key Points

Internet News article Is Twitter a Fad? Nielsen Says It Just Might Be discusses whether Neilson stats that show a low retention rate indicate a bleak future for Twitter.
Twitter certainly has all the trapping of an Internet fad. Exorbitant media coverage. Celebrity endorsement. Ballooning traffic numbers. And, according to a new analysis from Nielsen Online, a weak retention rate.

By Nielsen's reckoning, more than 60 percent of Twitter users in a given month don't return to the site the following month.

Given the outsize hype surrounding the microblogging service, it's easy to imagine uninitiated Internet users setting up a Twitter account to see what all the fuss is about, sending off a tweet or two, and then, their curiosity satisfied, moving on to other, less diversionary online activities.

It isn't stated if reported drop in retention rate takes into consideration that many people use Twitter without visiting the site. Applications like Tweet Deck and others are used by many to post their tweets. Second, the article focuses on the celebrity element of Twitter. The logic that the following of celebrities via Twitter may drop off is strong. How many people will really retain interest in whether their favorite celebrity is about to eat a ham sandwich? Yet this misses what is compelling about Twitter. Twitter in is rather simplistic and open. This allows people to create twitter application, or use twitter applications for numerous purposes. Twitter can be used for both organization and as an alert system. It can be fun with freinds or used for personal promotion. There likely will be those whose participation drops off as they tire of either celebrity posts or tweeting about their daily chores, yet for people who are plugged in (and some no so plugged in) it is not only a handy tool, but watching what develops from Twitter in the future will be interesting to see.

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