E-Marketing in Minneapolis David Vinge, eMarketing Dashboard : Is Twitter Destined To Go The Way Of Other Internet Fads?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Is Twitter Destined To Go The Way Of Other Internet Fads?

Is Twitter destined to go the way of other Internet fads like Baby Cha Cha (1997) or Hampsterdance (1998)? Perhaps a better analogy would be a fad like Friendster which within two years of launch, was logging 60 million page views per day. Today it is but a blip on the social media scene in the US.

Friendster traffic grew so fast it became slow and was nearly unusable. Today Twitter's growth has resulted in frequent outages.

“Twitter’s fame and glory is not going to last,” wrote Jason Clark in an iMedia Connection article entitled “Why Twitter Will Soon Become Obsolete.” “I predict Twitter will find its social media and marketing niche, but I cannot see it being nearly as important as some marketers are making it out to be.”

In “Twitter at the Vanishing Point,” InformationWeek's Digital Life Blog listed the site’s many technical flaws and noted, “Twitter isn't exactly catching fire with Generation Y.”

This is true according to comScore blogger Sarah Radwanick. She writes that the majority of Twitter users worldwide are age 35 or older, and young adults ages 18-24 make up only 10.6% of the Twitter population in the US and are less likely than the average user to Tweet.

Another study by the Participatory Marketing Network confirms that Twitter falls flat for 18 to 24 year-olds. "Twitter is for 'old' people." says my 19 year-old son.

More than half (54%) of professional communicators think Twitter is a fad and believe that the burgeoning number of users and tweets will eventually reach a plateau and likely decline, according to a poll by Ragan Communications and PollStream.

“[It’s a fad] because everybody’s doing it,” said Bob Hirschfeld, senior public information officer for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “Ashton Kutcher and CNN have a steady supply of fans who want to know what they do. People like us, people with a job to do, every so often we do something of interest to the general public [but] we don’t have that steady supply of stuff that the public is interested in.”

David Martin, Vice President, Primary Research, Nielsen Online found that "more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent. For most of the past 12 months, pre-Oprah, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention." He goes on to report that they "found that even when Facebook and MySpace were emerging networks like Twitter is now, their retention rates were twice as high. When they went through their explosive growth phases, that retention only went up, and both sit at nearly 70 percent today."

So should the folks at Twitter be worried? They have had explosive growth this year with celebrities and the media embracing the microblogging social network. Oprah featured Twitter on her show and Ashton Kutcher became the the King of Twitter after he became the first person to gain 1 million followers.

Nielsen data shows that growth was an amazing 1,448% year-over-year, growing from 1.2 million uniques in May 2008 to 18.2 million in May 2009. But growth tapered off in the month of May, when traffic "only" grew by 7% over April.

Has Twitter peaked? Hmmm... sounds like Friendster back in 2003 when publications including Time, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly and Spin wrote about Friendster's success and the founder appeared on magazine covers and late-night talk shows.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I don't think Twitter is going to come down off of its high quite yet, and here is why...

As popular as it is right now, and as fast as it has grown, it still has not hit the mainstream. Look at something like Facebook, which has hundreds of millions of more registered users than Twitter and is mainstream and not slowing down.

I also think that we are in changing times. Sure the hampster dance died... but it was 1998! People are moving these technologies into their daily lives. I see Twitter eventually becoming the phone book of the future...

Robert Stanke