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Bye Bye Birdie: Why Twitter is On the Outs

Like it or not, Twitter has become an unavoidable part of our online lives. Created by Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone in 2006, the social networking platform’s reach has grown remarkably over the past four years.

According to a recent study conducted by Edison Research, 87 percent of the U.S. population is now aware of its existence. Surprising? Not really. Forget about Twitter’s overwhelming online presence, the site is constantly being thrown in our face throughout every media outlet imaginable. From CNN to ESPN, we’re constantly exposed to the endless stream of thoughts that Twitter encompasses.

While Twitter’s presence is undeniable, its future lacks certainty. Will Twitter continue to grow and thrive? In short, no. Why? Allow me to explain…


Putting the Numbers in Perspective


With nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population completely aware of Twitter, certainly a majority of them are actively using the service, right? Not really.

Twitter gets an estimated 180 million unique visitors internationally per day, but not all of them have accounts. Of the estimated 106 million accounts on Twitter, only 3 percent have more than 100 followers, while 24 percent of users have 0 followers. Only 40 percent of people who try Twitter remain active on the service after their first month.

While Twitter does receive quite a bit of attention, it has been proven to be of little use to the majority of people.


It’s All the Rage… For Now


Obviously, Twitter gets a lot of its traffic from outside sources promoting their accounts on the site, but how much exactly? 75 percent. That’s right, three-fourths of Twitter’s visitors come to the site as a result of promotions made by third parties.

That’s all fine and well for now, but hype eventually dies. What happens when these outside sources decide to abandon the social networking platform for the next big thing? That, my friends, will be the end of Twitter as we know it.


Too Connected


So why, exactly, do 60 percent of Twitter users quit within the first month of using the platform? Twitter simply doesn’t appeal to average internet users.

If you’re not a spammer, a narcissist, or a business owner, chances are Twitter isn’t of much use to you. Your everyday person signs up for Twitter to see what all the hype is about, figuring that they will be able to connect with friends and family, and read interesting news stories. Quickly, however, they are proven wrong. Twitter takes “connecting” to another level. New users are rapidly exposed to what Twitter is all about, and are overwhelmed with the constant influx of updates.

Most (normal) people don’t care what you’re eating for dinner, when you’re going to sleep, or how local firefighters rescued a cat from a nearby park. Soon, new Twitter users find that the platform is essentially a breeding ground for relentless marketing and ego inflation.

Funny enough, neither corporate entities nor people with a false sense of self-important care what you have to say. The way in which Twitter is used really defeats its purpose. If nearly every status update falls upon deaf ears, is it really connecting?


Other, Better Options


Despite the fact that Twitter is constantly shoved in your face, it’s not like there aren’t other options. There is an endless list of social networking mediums that exist, many of which are of much greater value to typical internet users. Sure, Twitter does an outstanding job of catering to users’ without much to say, but it is essentially useless to those who do have something to say. That’s where Facebook comes in.

Not only does Facebook cater to the average Joe by allowing them to speak their mind, they provide a familiar platform to do so. Learning from the mistakes that lead to the downfall of MySpace, Facebook provides a more familiar, easier to understand social networking experience.

Being wrapped up in the online tech world, you may not know it, but terms like hash, tweet, and retweet have no meaning to the vast majority of society. Terms such as like, fan, and share, however, are easily understood. Not to mention the fact that people actually like building, maintaining, and having a profile.

For these reasons, it’s clear why Facebook continues to dominate its competition. Currently second only to Google in terms of traffic, Facebook sees over 400 million people logging in every month, 50 percent of which visit the site every day.


Twitter Isn’t Profitable


Despite Twitter’s reach, the fact remains that they really don’t make any money. Why? Well, for one, they don’t really put much effort into actually becoming profitable. While this is a noble and refreshing concept considering the abundance of ad infested social networking platforms, it doesn’t do much for the company itself. Twitter relies on venture capital to fuel its operations.

How long will venture capital firms continue to shell out cash to an unprofitable service, though? In the end, all venture capital firms are concerned with is profiting from their investments.

This year, Twitter did release an advertising platform in hopes of turning profit. So far, it has yet to do so. Twitter limited the companies that they would allow to advertise to well known corporate entities, shunning small businesses who desire a self-serve advertising platform similar to Facebook’s. Hey, that’s their call, but how long will these advertisers last?

The truth of the matter is, their advertisements are reaching a demographic with a short attention span… people who, in all honesty, aren’t likely to even notice the advertisement as they quickly scan for updates. Why would these companies even pay for advertisements when there are thousands already following their account?

What do you think? Will Twitter continue to grow and prosper, or will it fade into non-existence once the hype dies down? Leave a comment and let us know.

    1. Despite the fact he asked us to retweet his article, he’s got a point. I don’t see how Twitter can possibly survive. Do you?

    2. Regard it as a test. Think he’s got a point. If people actually retweets he could change the statistics

  1. Hmmmm…let me go out on a limb here….it’s just a guess, but I’m thinking you’re not a Twitter user. Am I right? So you already made up your mind. And you, my friend are not the “everyday person” or “your average Joe”. You don’t speak for the masses.

    Personally, I think it’s a bad call to label people who use a popular service spammers & narcissists. They are unlikely to ever return to your biased & self-serving blog.

    You don’t like Twitter? Don’t use. By why trash people who do? That’s douchey.

    1. Actually, he does speak for the masses, and you would have known that if you had read any of the statistics he presented in this article. 60% of people leave after one month? The masses have spoken.

    2. Judging by the statistics, you must be one of the 40%. That is so hot. I want to squeeze your little buns Liz.

    3. Liz, his twitter is account is quite visibly advertised at the bottom of the page. He is clearly a twitter user.
      NO where does he say twitter sucks. I feel you have taken this as an attack against twitter and therefore an attack against you… for some reason.
      You have missed the point of the entire article, which was very truthful. The fact is, twitter isn’t profitable, and it probably never will be for all the reasons previously stated. If twitter can’t change it’s platform and make a profit, it is bound to go the way of myspace.

  2. The article is right, though it is ironic that the author has a “follow me on twitter” link. While most of the arguments are weak, you can’t deny the last point about turning a profit. Unless it’s very secretive, I don’t see how twitter makes any money at all in order to sustain itself.

  3. You have no idea how easy is to get new info about upcoming events, what’s hot and the insight of people you actually know if they have good taste or bad taste on the same window, it’s a customizable service, it’s free and certainly is easy. Please try twitter with an open mind and then write your review, btw I agree with the first comment

    1. He said that twitter is on its way out due to its unsuccessful business model. He has obviously used the site. Did any of you people even read this article, or do you all really lack reading comprehension?

  4. Nice link bait article, but the only valid point is that twitter doesn’t really have a way to make money, and there’s no “moat” (barrier to entry) around their technology.

    Here’s something to think about: Some day twitter client developers like stocktwits or twitteriffic will realize that they can simply swap out twitter as a backend and stick in their own technology and it will still work (at least for their own users, but for a big community like stocktwits, they might not even notice).

    So maybe “Twitter” the company will go away, but not necessarily the twitter concept.

  5. Liz wrote:

    “And you, my friend are not the “everyday person” or “your average Joe”. You don’t speak for the masses.”

    Well, he speaks for me…and everyone else I know.

    I think you Liz are the one who is not an ‘everyday person.” You’re probably one of those self-centered idiots who uses twitter on a regular basis.

    The rest of the world laughs at you. LOL

  6. I was just engaged in a conversation (on Facebook yesterday) about how we’re moving away from Twitter. It’s just a lot of noise and it’s hard to have an actual conversation there.

  7. — I kind of said the same thing myself (click the ‘website’ link or my name if this hyperlinks that), except that I’m not as pessimistic. I don’t overshoot the runway. I think what Twitter has done is basically create a universally viable RSS methodology that many businesses, government agencies, and other groups, can use easily. So, while the Tweeters of today will dry up as individuals, Twitter will nonetheless thrive. It’s a great way to deliver serious news from real organizations that people can easily assimilate.

    At a strictly personal level, Twitter is unfortunately only useful if your families and friends use it and use it at a comfortable tempo (e.g., aren’t remarking every 10 minutes). If that number is too few — that leaves only the noise of looser associations (many of whom we connect to just because we can), and spammers. Ideally, there’d be a paid alternative platform using micropayments to Tweeters. So, for example, I could pay a half cent per Tweet from my local grocery store feeding me information on how long the check out lines are so I could decide if I want to go shopping now or later. Something like this is probably what will wind up happening.

  8. Twitter seems like “just fun” to me. I just joined a couple weeks ago because the Center for Online Learning I’m working for decided to have a live twitter feed running on a TV screen in the back of the room at a conference… and we had to have people tweeting in order for it to work.

    It was pretty cool, I got to have an interesting conversation with people I don’t talk to on a regular basis (my former professors), but only a couple of us tweet regularly outside of it.

    It’s much more useful as a kind of microblogging platform, just a quick, “hey this is what we’re doing, come on over” kind of thing for the Center, or to laugh about random dead cockroaches or something, or even talk about how we like a tv show or how waiting for defragmentation to finish is BORING. I really enjoy following people like “hackernewsbot” and “householdhacker”, especially when I get links to crazy cool articles and up-to-the-minute updates on the new iPhone, sent directly to my cell phone.

    However, when I first started, I had a couple people I was following constantly updating with stuff I didn’t really care about. I disabled them from sending to my cell phone, and life got waaayyy better. I’m still “following” them, but I don’t have to actually read what they write unless I log in and scroll past it.

    I think it really depends on who you follow and who you don’t that makes your twitter experience entertaining, boring, or downright ugly.

  9. The cartoon is wrong. You don’t “friend” someone on Twitter. You basically subscribe to feeds, a la RSS. In Twitter parlance, you “follow”. It is a very different thing from normal social networks. The “follow” model is the most interesting thing that differentiates Twitter from the rest (well that and the 140 char limit). In a “follow” model, you don’t really care who follows you, and you don’t expect that those you follow will care that you are following them. It is more like just having subscribers.

  10. What a useless, rambling post that just restates the outdated, disproved idea that Twitter is “just a fad.” And why did you include broadband internet statistics? How does that suggest Twitter is “just a fad.” Oh that’s right; it doesn’t.

    With so many Non-Sequiturs and Red Herrings, I wonder if the poster has ever passed a composition course? Who cares if Twitter is not profitable now? YouTube wasn’t profitable at first; I wonder if it is now, but it will definitely exist for many years. And besides the many illogical statements, you also insult people who use Twitter by suggesting we just post “what we ate for dinner.” You have obviously never followed quality Twitterers such as Roger Ebert or Dan Schwabel. Or comedians such as Sarah Silverman and Stephen Colbert. Or the many musicians, writers, philosophers, politicians, educators, and so forth that offer great thoughts and links to relevant stories each day. Judging by this post, I can only surmise the poster never uses Twitter, and has joined the ranks of a few people on the internet who love writing that this or that latest technology is “just a fad.” Newflash: People were saying this in 2008 and 2009, and now Twitter is more popular than ever. Microblogging, in fact has singlehandedly become the most useful Web 2.0 tool, precisely because of the popularity of Twitter. Just ask the creators of Tumblr and Google Buzz.

  11. I’m not going to follow you, despite your asking, because by your lights Twitter will be dead soon. By the way, I had chicken for supper.

  12. I think you mean “Fondly enough” in the paragraph before the cartoons? Otherwise, narcissism and voyeurism is the foundation of social media. Twitter has no exclusive on the spirit of the age of Narcissus.

  13. It seems as though you’ve completely missed the point of twitter. Contrary to what you write, and to popular belief, twitter is NOT a social networking site, and a minority of its traffic is actually social. Twitter is a /micro-blogging/ site, a journalism site if you will, and as such, it is more closely related to blogger or livejournal than it is to facebook. Blogs aren’t profitable either, and they’re used only by a small percentage of the population, but you can’t ignore the impact blogs have had on our online experience, and on journalism in general. This is a tool for journalists and info sources not ordinary people. Ordinary people may tap into the data firehose at their own risk, but most prefer to take their news at a more leisurely pace, with more than 140 chars worth of content.

    To be effective, a social networking site needs to drive its usage percentage ever closer to 100%. Only a minuscule minority of Internet users need to have a blog for the effect we’ve witnessed to occur. Same thing is true for twitter.

    To sum up, twitter is here to stay, at least until something better arrives, but don’t expect usage to ever rise beyond a few percents.

    1. I was going to say the same thing – he appears to believe that that Twitter is directly competing Faecbook yet they both serve different purposes. If he is living in the social media world, it’s probably hard for him to see that not all sites are about being popular and gathering a multitude of friends.

      As you pointed out, Twitter is a micro blogging site and while the majority of the world does not micro blog, there are people who do so for their job and this is an excellent tool for it. Plain and simple. Because it doesn’t put up the numbers that facebook does, he thinks that this it is doomed – what ever happened to niche markets – do they not teach people what those are anymore in school?

  14. I think the problem is that people don’t seem to get it. It’s simple, but they just don’t get it.

    1. I don’t get it. Facebook is like going to a restaurant and ordering a meal. Twitter is like volunteering to have your mouth clamped open and be force fed.

      1. I was going to say the exact opposite. I can filter on Twitter and read only those I’m interested in at that time. Facebook is a giant spammy machine that forces me to read all about how someone is doing in Mafia Wars or some other mindless waste of time. I guess it’s all a matter of how you like to enjoy your meal.

  15. Twitter cannot go on the outs. It’s impossible. Too many people use it. It’s like saying Facebook is gonna stop.

  16. Saying twitter is dying because the majority of users don’t actually have anyone following them is like saying the internet is dying because the majority of it’s users don’t actually publish content, they only consume it.

    Many people use it simply to get updates from others.

  17. It’s ridiculous to think Twitter is going anywhere. It’s a fantastic platform for both microblogging and having conversations with friends. Using twitter I’ve met people with siilar interests all over the world and now there are people in other countries who I’ve talked with daily for years whom I never would have know otherwise.

  18. I have a tough time deciding who comes off as the bigger assholes, twitter detractors or twitter supporters, and as of reading this thread, it’s definitely the supporters.

    If it’s so insanely useful, what would you pay for it on a monthly basis? $30? $10? $5?

  19. “Like it or not, Twitter has become an unavoidable part of our online lives.”

    That has to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on the internet, and there’s some tough competition out there.

  20. No, this article is far from correct. Most web users, and, it seems, readers of this article, miss the relevance of twitter. I rarely post to twitter. I do not use it to follow friends, or tell the world what I am doing at any given moment. But I constantly follow topics of interest. And it is the best platform for that purpose I have found to date. I have them tweets sent to my phone and I get timely notices on news and deals (Dell, air flights, Woots, generic deal sites, etc.). I also follow poker topics and travel. If used the right way it is the most relevant and timely of news/notice mediums there is.

  21. I think it’s a little deceptive to point out that they’re not making money yet since they just established their advertising model last month. We can’t give them at least two months before we pronounce that model dead? Really? Where’s the information about their valuation as a venture funded company and that investors think they’re EXTREMELY valuable?

    I personally don’t find a lot of value in twitter but I’m also not in one of the two groups that its built for: followers and people with followers. I use a number of social networks, all much more collaborative in nature. Twitter seems great for fans or people with fans. Turns out there’s a lot of each group and those that I know who use it daily swear by it.

  22. Just like many have noticed, you link your twitter account at the end of your “Join me in hating something.” speech? Well done, sir.

    “Soon, new Twitter users find that the platform is essentially a breeding ground for relentless marketing and ego inflation.”
    Much like your writings? You REALLY like Facebook, don’t you. 😉

    “Being wrapped up in the online tech world, you may not know it, but terms like hash, tweet, and retweet have no meaning to the vast majority of society. Terms such as like, fan, and share, however, are easily understood. Not to mention the fact that people actually like building, maintaining, and having a profile.”
    I love how you go on to assume that the average IQ level of a human being is too low to understand such large words as “hash” or “tweet” or, OH my! “retweet”. I would venture a guess and say that ANYONE on the internet knows what google is. And how to google what these words might mean.

    Dare I continue? No. I think I’ll just tweet what a giant ass you are.
    P.S. I just ate soup. Delish. I’m now going to bed.

    1. Although I disagree with the article’s main premise as to twitter’s long term viability, I do think the observation regarding the unfamiliarity of some of twitter’s terminology has merit. It is not a question of misjudging people’s IQ or aptitude with a search engine, but rather the barrier to entry the twitter dialect imposes. “follow” is a clear example of a self-documenting action while “tweet” merely provides a cute reference to their namesake. As with Google, tweet and retweet may transcend into mainstream usage verbs, but the beauty of “follow” is that it need not surmount an obstacle such as this.

  23. “Like it or not, Twitter has become an unavoidable part of our online lives.”

    I think I’ve done a remarkable job of avoiding it.

  24. FTA: “If you’re not a spammer, a narcissist, or a business owner, chances are Twitter isn’t of much use to you.”

    This is typical ignorance from people who either 1) Don’t understand it, or 2) Don’t understand it and want to stop hearing about it.

    I match none of the above mentioned descriptions, however I find Twitter extremely useful for consuming information in things I have interest in, such as development and sports.

  25. Doesn’t matter at all, A trend shows up, we follow! A trend dies, we forget it!
    Then we wait for a new trend to follow 😀
    Whatever this trend is (Fb, Twitter,….) Just enjoy your time, they will do their best to keep us entertained and make money out of it, so why worry 🙂

  26. *sigh* yet again another tech “expert” misses the point of Twitter entirely. The core of Twitter is the ability for users to comment on the day’s events, personal and otherwise, and discover and be discovered by other users who have similar interests. It’s also indispensable as an instantaneous news service. When something big goes down you’ll hear about it through Tweet an avg. of 5-10 minutes before one of the “breaking news” services, and that’s both on a world and, more importantly, local level.

    Indispensable to me, and for millions of others every day. Not. Going. Anywhere.

    (nice job pushing some pageviews to this site with that title, though)

    1. Agree there if it hadn’t been for orirtaylor @LoriTaylor ‘s tweet on Twitter I’d never have found this site. Twitter is for business, making friends and once you have friends, then those cold winternights once the kids have gone to be, is much better than watching the TV.

  27. I like this type of article, because they always assume that services don’t evolve, and that its somehow surprising that these things might die. Of COUSE as it stands twitter won’t be with us forever. Nor will it look anything like it does now in a decade if it is still around.

    Remember when we were all on Myspace? Anyone still maintain their accounts there? No, because things move on. Does Myspace look/function anything like it used to? No, it serves a different market and evolved.

    This article = big yawn

  28. I think where Twitter fails to capture some people is because many sign up and expect it to be like a chat room or a facebook. They have heard so much about it yet when they arrive there isn;t a lot happening.

    To me, joining Twitter just to interact with people who you already interact with on other networking/social media sites is a total waste of time. A prime example is that I have been a member of a sports-oriented BBS for many years and I know that many of the people on there are also on Twitter. Bar a handful I have absolutely no desire to ‘follow’ any of them because frankly their chat on Twitter is dull, uninspiring and of no interest to me whatsoever. If I wanted to exchange small talk with them I would use the BBS or very likely a messenger like AOL or MSN.

    To me, twitter has a few strands. Firstly there is the business aspect. It is a useful tool for following like-minded people in your industry area. You can be pointed in the direction of useful articles and blogs, you can comment on those pieces and you can put forward your own opinions on the business you;re involved in.

    Secondly, you can promote yourself to a much wider business audience by simply tweeting your own blogs or articles of interest that maybe you’ve found on the web or the occasional (it has to be measured rather than non-stop) blatant self-promotion like a link to your own website or a testimonials page or maybe even a special offer you might have out.

    Thirdly, you can set up lists to follow groups of people of interest to you. I have one set up for my industry ‘recruitment advertising’ and one set up for comedians/funny people because I sometimes write comedy and I like to hear funny lines.

    Finally, for the rubber necker in all of us, there are the celebrities. Some are interesting, some are incredibly dull and uninspired with their tweets. if they are they get unfollowed, but, as a result of following a few, mostly funny men, I’ve been able to glean opinion on scripts I have written and exchange opinion on the comedy industry, which would have been impossible by any other means.

    So, in summary, if you use Twitter for business, great, it’s free and it can build your profile and possibly bring in new business (it has for me). And if you want a harmless snapshot of some of your favourite celebs, no harm done there either. I certainly got an insight into one in particular who i had to stop following because they were so intense. I’ll let you guess who on that one. But, if all you want to do is come on twitter to follow people you are already in touch with then I am afraid you are going to be very disappointed. Twitter isn;t the place to tell people you are washing your hair or going to the shops, nor that you have just eaten dinner. Save that for Facebook – the place for inane commentaries on every day life. It’s where I check up on my daughter’s mood, but that’s about it.

  29. Apparently if not everyone who has heard of a service uses that service the sky is falling?

    How many people know of Rolls Royce? how many drive one?

    The death of Twitter is most likely to come from their inability to monetize. If they can, they’ll live. They might not have 100% of the social network market. They don’t need it.

    As for Facebook, terms like ‘privacy violation’ are equally broadly understood.

  30. I disagree for three main reasons…. you pick which three make most sense to you !

    1. It does get more business for serious users (so commercial users understand it and will train their staff how to use it)

    2. It is mentioned by so many so frequently, that those that left, as with many other social networks will return in time. (BBC, New York Times, The Times, Sport Clubs, Pop Groups all use it)

    3. Linkedin has added it. They know what they’re doing.

    4. Both Facebook and Go ogle tried to buy it. (Like they’d buy a potential crock)

    5. It is brilliant for SEO

    6. It has a brilliant search facility

    7. It is more fun than most media sites.

    8. The API platform is substantial.

    9. It fits with Foursquare and mobile technology

    10. It is adding to its functionality…. making its services more appropriate

  31. I came here because someone posted a link on Twitter. What’s a Techi? And why should I care? Anyway, there’s clearly a lot of narcissism on Twitter, but you’re missing the fact that people do manage to engage in some amazingly varied interactions in the 140 characters that Twitter allows.

    Conceptually, it’s something quite different from Facebook, and not everyone is going to find it appealing. Nonetheless, many people find it very amenable and are committed to it — and that number is growing.

    Something doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, or even, my heavens, Mr. Duffy, appeal to you… in order to be viable.

  32. Finally, people who see the truth. It’s all a fad, Twitter will be gone in a few years. That coming made me laugh out loud though, nice touch

  33. He is surely a FB guy! The author is referring to the usage of terms – like, fan etc. But they have a stupid button ‘Add as friend’. Do they know what friendship means? Is it just sharing photos, videos and links?

    Junk is everywhere. If you do not have a clue on how to use twitter effectively then, I would suggest that you read all the comments once more. There are many suggestions out there. Happy tweeting…

  34. So sad how personally people identify with the technologies they like/dislike. As vehemently as the people on this discussion are defending or attacking the relevance and potential longevity of twitter you’d think the author was attacking their mother! Are so many people so devoid of personality and self image that feel they must rail so against opposing views? “Someone thinks negatively about what I like! They must just not understand, or are too stupid to ‘get it’!” LOL@that argument. Lighten up people, you are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not your social media or the aggregation of what you like or dislike. Just be, and let others do the same.

    credit to ‘Fight Club’ for some references. Enjoy your day.

  35. Internet publishers, twitter not excluded, must constantly innovate for their users to keep traffic consistent and increasing. Furthermore, twitter will need to turn that traffic into leverage for monetization if it wants to be able to afford all the server space it has to buy to meet the user traffic.

    Tim – in this article you say that 87% of the US population is unaware of twitter, but then you say that 90% is aware of its existence. Can you please confirm? Thanks!


  36. Perhaps the next revolution in the phones industry will be that people will start using their phones to actually talk to one another more, instead of using apps and gadgets for texting their friends across social media websites! I find it bizarre, personally, that people would rather write a piece of text to their friends rather than actually speak to them. Am I old -fashioned?

    1. Yes… I think that is a bit old fashioned… but there’s nothing wrong with that!

      The thing is… the world is communicating A LOT faster now a days then we were 10 years ago. Think of it this way.. 100 years ago.. you wrote a letter… dropped it in the mail.. waited weeks or months to get a response. 50 years ago.. most people had telephones.. you could pick up the phone and call someone and talk to them directly! But over time… people became too busy to chat on the phone, so answering machines and voicemail came around… so you could leave messages for people and they can return the call when its convenient.

      However, today… checking voicemail and placing phone calls takes too much time.. so, there’s resistance to pick up the phone. Its MUCH easier to send a quick text message letting someone know they are running late, rather then trying to get a hold of them on the phone just to say one sentence to them… Don’t get me wrong.. there’s still times where its appropriate to have longer conversations via the phone… but email was the start of closing that gap.

      This is why I think the announcement of Apple’s killer feature for the new iPhone is Video calling… is going to be a dud. People worry too much about their appearances and that takes even more of a commitment to a longer conversation. At least when I make a phone call.. they can’t tell where I am or who i’m with as easily as they can with a video call.

      So yes.. you are a little old fashioned… but that’s OK. Technology is always changing… and most people get comfortable with a certain level of technology and they stop accepting new things. Take my parents for example. They are getting into their upper 60s… and they have no use for ATM machines… They don’t understand why someone wouldn’t just go to the bank, during bank hours.. wait in line and fill out the paper work to give to a teller and have them do everything for you.

  37. I call it the Krispy Kreme phenomenon. Highlands Ranch is a massive planned community south of Denver, CO made up primarily of families and soccer moms who will do anything to be recognized as the greatest mom ever. So when the doughnut maker opened their first Colorado location in the area, the media ran with it and the response was ridiculous. Fathers followed orders from the queen determined to beat her neighbors and poured out of the Ranch to wait in line for their doughnut. Some camped ovenight, the first week saw hundreds waiting in line for hours, traffic jams, police presence, even an arrest for scalping doughnuts in line! When the smoke cleared, the media and most of the public forgot about Krispy Kreme. It still exists, mostly for fat people and occasional reminiscing soccer mom.
    I suspect Twitter will follow much the same path, as will Justin Bieber, Robert Pattinson and most all artificially produced phenomenon. God forbid, even the completely irrelevant Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt!
    I rant, but the point is our hyper society and media sensationalize the latest and greatest to the nth degree. I only wish I could come up with the newest five minute fad, get rich and disappear into oblivion!! OMG LOL BFF

  38. I think that people just don’t get it, and that’s why they don’t use it. When I first joined Twitter, I didn’t post for a year – but now that I get it, I love Twitter! You’re ‘grazing’ on little bits of info from different places.

  39. Twitter is dumb. The entire concept is dumb. The fact that people are willing to update pointless details about themselves and their day on a constant basis is just dumb. The fact that there are people out there who want to hear what these people have to say is dumb on a level that can hardly be imagined. It’s right up there with how the entire world feels they need all this stupid, pointless crap on their phones. Like they actually NEED it. OMG I can’t live without facebook on my phone!!!! DIE.

    1. So.. then you’re following people who are saying silly stuff.

      I guarantee that no matter what your interest is (movies, music, celebrity gossip, sports) there are people that tweet news long before it hits the mainstream media… and you can interact with those people…

      If you think Twitter is just people talking about what they had for lunch.. then you sir, are very misinformed about what Twitter is. Its right up there with people who think Foursquare is just for people who want to brag about what they are doing… there’s far more to it then you are aware.

      So go ahead.. trash something that you don’t even understand… we will keep on using it happily… while you go off and enjoy your facebook (which is filled with just as much of those silly status updates that twitter is)

  40. My original thought was to use Twitter as a creative tool to explore how ideas and people and systems self-organize but that is clearly not what has emerged. Instead it has fallen into the same categories that almost all media has taken — advertising, self expression and mass produced clutter — yes Facebook has fallen into the same syndrome.
    On June 7th, the NYT had a terrific and very long article on the impact of technology on the brain –

    Our brain wants the the quick hit and Twitter fills that need but that “hit” is neither satisfying or generative. As we move from Tweet to longer linked info how quickly do we return to find a more satisfying morsel?
    So here I am answering his post and holding myself back from checking the next post, the newest tweet…..determined to be satisfied with just this.

  41. Ya know… This topic continually comes up since the dawn of Twitter. People have always said its pointless and it will never succeed. 4 years later, its still going strong.

    Sure, it may not have the mass appeal that a site like Facebook does, but they serve very different purposes. I would argue that if you looked at how long people stay with Twitter, you’ll find (as you reported) that many people never get it. Those people fuel your other statistics. 25% of them have no followers? That’s not surprising if there’s a high rate of people abandoning Twitter early on.

    But what of those remaining 40%? I’d argue that the vast majority of them stay around Twitter for a very very long time. In my experience.. it generally takes a couple months before people “get” twitter. First, they start by talking about what they had for lunch.. but then they notice that when they are following other people who do that too much.. they stop following them.. and they slowly stop doing that and begin to limit their tweets to things that are genuinely interesting.

    And that’s just scratching the surface. Facebook doesn’t allow you to view into what the entire world is thinking about something. Or disseminating news rapidly. Not to mention all of the applications that are built on top of twitter or integrated within it.

    There’s plenty of room for both Twitter and Facebook… but to me.. the writing is on the wall that Facebook’s days are numbered… as concerns are raising about privacy concerns of putting your entire life into Facebook. I have seen FAR more articles discussing what the next platform will be to replace Facebook (like Facebook did to myspace… and like myspace did to friendster… and so on).

    Twitter’s beauty is in its simplicity. It does one thing.. and it does it well.

  42. I am not sure if this is supposed to be an early eulogy for Twitter but I fear you are a bit premature (from a UK perspective). The fact that US folks apparently abandon their full uptake of Twitter within a month is probably no different to a lot of social media platforms or for that matter any new platform or device. For my part it is here to stay and I can only see its popularity growing. I don’t want to get into a philosophical debate but its reach and ubiquitous ease makes it an ideal platform for B2C and B2B. As to Facebook, I fear that the genre is all wrong at the moment. Mention it over here to anyone over 35 and they all think it is for their kids only. It is has more hurdles to overcome although I accept that in many respects it is much more social and self-generating from a many to many perspective.


  43. Looks like Twitter was just hype. The reason why I don’t use it is because I don’t have time in my day to post repeat messages about how work is going, or the grades I get at school. If I did, I don’t really think anyone would give a rat’s ass.

    For the 3% mentioned in the article with over 100 “followers”, good on you, you cultist bastards. Haha, just kidding.

    Seriously, though, it’s kind of blatant to be calling those who watch your status “followers”. Are they trying to weed out the leaders from the followers with this, or what?

  44. Twitter is a service that despite all efforts doesnt do nothing.

    thats what hes trying to say and hes right. any problems dont even bother leaving a comment
    coz thats what it is.


  45. hmmm…obviously has not heard about how educators connect and share through twitter – have gotten some of my best work through links etc sent via twitter.
    I think that from an educational perspective twitter has clearly had an impact – just try searching some #tags related to education (#edtech for one) then see how useful twitter is.

  46. Remarkable how people who bitch the most about Twitter rarely use it.
    Your comment that “If you’re not a spammer, a narcissist, or a business owner, chances are Twitter isn’t of much use to you” is crap and quite insulting. Move along if you don’t like it. The rest of us enjoy it.

  47. And when I thought of real use or benefit of twitter in my life, it’s complete void. So the future of Twitter. Isn’t it?

  48. I find it incredibly humourous and ironic that I came to this article via a friend’s tweet. That’s right Twitter-haters, I made REAL LIFE friends through Twitter…

    Look, bottom line is that it appeals to some people and doesn’t to others. Based on how this article was written, I think it’s pretty clear that the author has no idea what he’s talking about.

  49. The article missed one major group that benefits from using twitter: artists.

    I learned of a new band (How to Destroy Angels) because I follow Trent Reznor’s tweets. I never would have learned about the band otherwise. None of my friends (facebook included) are on top of new music, I wouldn’t learn from them, and I got to hear about it before any news or music outlet reported on them.

    I learned through Neil Gaiman (an author I’m a fan of) about a show in NYC (Evelyn Evelyn) put on by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley (CHECK IT OUT: ) That I can’t wait to see, and never would have learned about otherwise.

    It’s very useful when used right. Funding will definitely start becoming an issue though, if they can’t become profitable.

  50. When talking about Twitter I always tell people that Twitter has to fit within your routine. You can’t just “start using Twitter” and have fun doing it, nor will you see any returns. I love Twitter, but I only pay attention to it from 9a-6p when I’m at work. Once I’m home it’s pretty much off my mind, shy of the few times when I’ll join in while watching a TV show.

    Facebook has a far lower barrier of entry, but I don’t see Twitter going away anytime soon. If anything, it will become more elitist and hardcore, becoming cult-like (as if it’s not already). I honestly see Facebook exploding sooner because it is clearly reaching critical mass.

    And yes, Twitter is all about being selfish…so is Facebook. Selfishness isn’t a problem.

    I also don’t know why people keep citing Twitter site traffic as stats, good or bad. Most of the people I know that use Twitter – reading and writing – don’t use, they use a client or other web service. For every one visit to a page to read tweet, there are probably 10 reading the same thing via a client or service.

    I boil down Twitter and Facebook like this: Facebook leads to friends and family, Twitter leads to people that share interests. One is emotionally geared, the other is interest geared. I’ve met (and I mean, really met) people on Twitter that have become good friends because they shared similar interests, many interests of which my close (Facebook) friends don’t share. Twitter and Facebook help you, the user, accomplish two different things.

    Twitter is a tool. Facebook is an experience. Big difference.

  51. I don’t have exact stats, but I’m guessing that similar things can be said for “traditional” blogs.

    Blogs don’t seem to be on their way out. Why would Twitter be any different? These technologies become more integrated into people’s and business’s online presence, it becomes seamless.

  52. Twitter does not make money? Oh I can remedy that! Tell it to Dell who made millions selling their refurbished PC and I can name several other well known firms who have done as well. Twitter has it’s place if used correctly and in conjunction with other social networks. “Branding” a term so often misunderstood is key, If branding is not understood how about online “reputation”.

  53. This is a gutsy article, i just stumbled across, and i appreciate your honest, although somewhat controversial, viewpoint. As a small business social media coach, twitter has always been the most difficult to get people interested. This could just be my coaching.

  54. article written in JUNE …it is now NOVEMBER and twitter is Alive & Kicking
    i’d say u got this one WRONG 😀

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