Dear Twitter – Congratulations!

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Recently Nielsen reported that about 60% of Twitter users do not return to the site after the first month. They said that with only a 40% retention rate, the site could not sustain itself. The funny this is despite the alleged low retention rate, you can’t go anywhere without hearing about Twitter.

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While people were surprised and freaking out about Twitter’s low numbers, it seemed totally normal to me. I’d take 40% any day. I was sure that other social networks had similar retention rates. Turned out I was wrong. At this point, Facebook‘s and Myspace‘s retention rates were about double that of Twitter’

Then Brendan O’Connell brought up a good point:

@andybeal I don’t think Nielsen considered Twitter apps access

I was sure this was going to clear up the whole mess. It made sense to me; my Twitter time is spent on Twhirl. I rarely log into Twitter anymore. It turns out that Nielsen hadn’t considered Twitter applications. Yes! Victory was mine!

Image representing Twhirl as depicted in Crunc...
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However, my victory was short lived when Nielsen reported that with the outside Twitter applications, the retention rate was still about 40%.

So it turns out that all of my well-wishing for Twitter’s retention was in vain. However, I really don’t think they’re in trouble. Those who continue to use Twitter after the first month are those who are hopelessly addicted. They don’t know why they are there or why they feel the need to update people on everything they’re doing, but it must be done. I have a feeling those fans aren’t going to peace-out any time soon.

I mentioned that Twitter had about half the retention rate of Facebook and Myspace. Here’s the thing, Facebook and Myspace are the most successful social networks ever. It’s actually amazing that Twitter is able to have the amount of repeat users as it does. So I don’t think we should be sending our condolences to Twitter for their small numbers; we should be congratulating them for their success.

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