Yesterday, The Silicon Valley Insider reported according the Nielsen 60% of Twitter users quit after the first month. While over half of Twitter users fall off after a month, social networking services such as Facebook and MySpace have much strong retention rates.
They do not seem to want to give much weight to these numbers by quoting MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka:
It’s worth noting here that Nielsen is likely overstating the churn because it is only measuring visits to the Twitter.com URL. The majority of Twitter use happens away from the site, on mobile phones and apps like Tweetdeck, and it’s theoretically possible to never visit Twitter.com after you sign up.
Yes, it is “theoretically possible to never visit Twitter after you sign up,” but this is not something that the average internet user knows how to do. For the most part Twitter is geared to and has been adopted by the most tech savvy Internet users. The people using it understand how to use it for search and trending and know how to use the technologies taking advantage of the Twiiter APIs. The problem here is that most Internet users do not. In contrast, a user can no absolutely nothing about the technological intricacies of Facebook to use it to its full potential. There is more than enough to do on Facebook to retain users, but for the average Internet users, once they get tired sharing their life 140 characters at a time they will drop Twitter as fast as they picked it up.
Facebook’s “status update” platform works because it is tied to your profile and the rest of the social network. Members of Facebook (and I am sure there is a major overlap of audiences) do not want to update two status fields. They will stick with Facebook because that is what they are used to and that is what provides the most value to them.
I think once the novelty wears off, Twitter will be singing a different tune entirely. It would be very interesting if Facebook bought Twitter and had their status functionality run by Twitter.