AdAge: Twitter ‘Quitters’ Make Service’s Reach Limited

AdAge this week takes a look at Twitter‘s big, buzz-worthy numbers and spike and traffic, due in part to Oprah’s and Ashton’s inane Twitter campaigns. The trade publication suggests that Twitter’s reach will remain limited, because so many of these new Twitter signees have logged on because of the hype and then … well, nothing.

… the breathless [traffic] reports have not accounted for what people do after they sign up for a Twitter account. Creating a Twitter account doesn’t equal becoming an uber-user, or even a casual user, of the micro-blogging site. Nielsen Online data released today suggest more than 60% of people who sign up for Twitter abandon the service.

“Twitter Quitters” are threatening Twitter’s very survival! (You can see Nielsen’s post on the matter here.)

Of course, there’s no doubt that folks are signing on to Twitter just to see what all this buzz is about, then leaving the quirky service because they don’t get it, don’t have the time to work with it, don’t sit on their computers or cell phones all day or (possibly?) are put off by its increasingly precious nomenclature (Tweets, tweeps, twibes? Srlsy?).

There’s also the social media arms race effect, in which people, groups and companies sign on to the service just to say they’re on it. Even SEC coaches feel as if they have to tweet, even if they don’t know what it is!

Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin doesn’t know if Twittering is a recruiting advantage, but he’s not taking any chances.

Kiffin opened a Twitter account recently after learning Georgia Coach Mark Richt had one.

“To me, it’s more one of those things that you don’t want anyone doing anything that you’re not,” Kiffin said. “Reading that Coach Richt had started that and had one, we just wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anything that could possibly be a benefit that we weren’t doing.”

(What? No comment from Houston Nutt, the undisputed king of collegiate text messaging? Sigh. Moving on …)

So, yes, AdAge’s report makes absolute sense. Is this a bad thing for Twitter? Not necessarily. AdAge says that if Twitter can get users to stick, then it will remain a niche service. As the employee of a niche publisher, I know that niche audiences, no matter how small, can be prized by advertisers and content providers alike. Niche isn’t bad. But it might not be what Twitter’s creators and investors are aiming for.

Meanwhile, I want to know this, Twittersphere: As we’ve seen, Twitter has legitimate uses for work, nonprofits, marketing, customer service, internal communications, emergency communications and more. But are Twitter noobs — the disciples of Oprah and Ashton — truly ruining Twitter for its power users? Are too many folks crashing the party?

Let me know in comments.


WTF of the Week: Razorbacks vs. ULM




(Complete coverage at Jim Harris on the tough weeks ahead; Chris Bahn’s game story; game sketch; game blog; Penthouse/Outhouse: DJ Williams and Alex Tejada.)


While Arkansas State University was having a howling good time in front of 21,000 fans in Jonesboro, the University of Arkansas was struggling against the University of Louisiana in Little Rock. Laura and I were able to get to War Memorial Stadium for the game after all, but after suffering through Markham Street traffic only to watch Casey Dick get sacked four, five (?) times and see the usually reliable Alex Tejada shank three, four (?) kicks, we began to wonder why we bothered.

And we weren’t the only ones. The rowdy War Memorial Stadium crowd got restless quickly. And by early in the third quarter, many punted and left the stadium, only to miss the fourth-quarter comeback — the Hogs’ second in as many weeks. It was, of course, going to get ugly if the Hogs dropped a cupcake matchup, particularly given the tough schedule they face for the rest of the month.

And maybe it was all too much to witness the sloppiness on the field in contrast to the “War Memorial’s Greatest Moments” segments playing on the big screen during time-outs, knowing that these moments, even those in the final minutes of the game, had no place among them.

But hey. At least Houston lost.