Update: Now 10 years later, Twitter’s growth has continued but again plateaued at around 325M monthly active users.
Original post follows.
I find it fascinating that Twitter’s growth has come to a stop. For a brief period this spring Twitter’s growth was exponential and unstoppable. However this month they actually had slightly fewer unique visitors to the twitter.com website than last month. I think growth will inevitably resume, but I don’t think Twitter will ever be truly mainstream.
Some people explain the lack of growth by saying that only 20% of twitters users actually visit twitter.com. The other 80% of users, some claim, actually access Twitter from mobile phones and desktop clients. While it may be the case that 80% of the people use Twitter without visiting the website intentionally, I find it hard to believe that those people don’t touch the website at least once a month. Whether you are using TweetDeck or Tweetie, undoubtedly you will click a link at some point which leads you to the website. Therefore even the 80% of people “don’t use twitter.com” must have visited the website at some point during the month.
So, I do believe that Twitter’s growth is genuinely falling off. The fascinating thing about this is that usually with social sites, once critical mass is achieved, growth it inevitable. Regardless of what features are added to the website. Yet I’ve also been hearing it said that the Twitter team hopes to increase user engagement (keep new users coming back) with new features. The new features that the twitter team are adding are excellently prioritized, but I think there’s a danger in hoping that those features will bring more (or more frequent) users. Lists, for example, make the stream more consumable, but are hard to grasp at first sight. Geo-location features will make twitter more pervasive – by more closely associating tweets to the real world. But whether or not this will equate to new users is not a given. Certainly tweaks like the new re-tweet feature risk moving away from the very simple format that has made twitter popular to date.
Another question is whether Twitter will ever be considered “mainstream” or not. Even though twitter is referenced on mainstream media sites like Entertainment Tonight, it is hard for me to imagine absolutely everyone participating in Twitter. As a whole, micro messaging seems more of a phenomenon like blogging (in a smaller format) – not like social networking. Facebook became a mainstream phenomenon because of the peer pressure and social ties that force everyone to join. But I don’t believe people will join twitter just to follow Entertainment Tonight on their phone. The ultimate destination for twitter (checking local coupons on the way to the bus stop) seems unlikely. But, I also didn’t think Twitter would gain as much popularity as it has.
Twitter’s growth is of interest to me because the success of Twibes Twitter Groups relies upon twitter’s continued growth in popularity. I would bet that Twitter’s growth will catch up to its trajectory from earlier this year and follow the trajectory of blogging which still demonstrates continuous growth.
This last graph is not an accurate comparison because it represents the number of blogs in existence (not the visitors to those blogs). However, since twitter accounts are even easier to create than blogs, it seems to me that their growth should follow the same trajectory now that Twitter has established critical mass.
I think that as filtering tools continue to develop Twitter’s growth will continue. If the filtering does not come along, then I think the signal to noise ratio will drown out its usefullness.
I am sure that facebook will eventually platue and decline as other mainstream apps create new interfaced to facebook. I just started using brizzly.com and I might find myself spending less time on facebook.com
I have not found Twitter to be as useful for job networking as other social networks (LinkedIn, etc.). Is the Twitter plateau consistent with the continuing rise in unemployment rates? It would be interesting to see if geographic locations with higher unemployment rates have lower or higher Twitter usage.
I just worry that Twitter will become bogged down with extensions and features, similar to what happened to MySpace, and lose active users. Twitter was initially appealing because of it’s ease.
I like Twitter, however like all other services, it will be ruined in 3 years due to marketers and spammers..mostly spammers..they ruined Myspace, and are in the process of doing the same to Facebook, now they are slowly moving towards Twitter.
Twitter will have to take steps to prevent this, and thus the service will become more and more complicated for the end user.
at some point, I think users will be required to solve a captcha before posting a tweet(should have been this way from the get go) to cut down on spam and other useless garbage.
Mostly business oriented person used twitter thats why it consider as a business social networking website. Thanks for info
Every one seems to be getting engaged with twitter and social networking website. Thanks u
I’m not using twitter a lot but I think We should just follow the trend to make profit using twitter.
Lot of service is just a trend. I’m not sure that all of people following You on twitter will read your twitter update 🙂
Yes Twitter is huge, but i have to agree with Raygen.
Twitter will not become full with spamers in 3 years, Twitter is currently full of spam ;(
btw, new Trillian Astra has great support for Twitter 😉
Recently, new survey has revealed that Twitter costing British businesses 1.38 billion pounds a year in wasted time.
Twitter was initially appealing as social media networking site(comparison to other social sites like Facebook, Linked In etc), because of it’s ease and huge social employees networks. At the same time I think that Twitter will ruined more because of extensive easy features.
Twitter bleeding economies without a doubt.
I believe that as filtering tools carry on to build up Twitter’s increase will continue. If the filtering acts not come along, then I think the signal to noise ratio will overwhelm out its usefullness.
Twitter is one of big social networking site and we can share our messages,photos,videos anywhere in world.thorghy this social media it is much easier to connect with friends .i hope twitter growth will increase day by day.
If the filtering does not come along, then I think the signal to noise ratio will drown out its usefullness.
Mostly Website owner used twitetr for expanding business that’s why twitter website social networking website but I am not using twitter a lot.I just shared the exculsive news on twitter only