Twitter Quitters? Not Sarah Palin

But Twitter might have already jumped the shark. It's got a retention problem...kind of like the GOP.


By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Sarah Palin is a twit. Errr. What I mean to say is that she is—what?—tweeting? Does that then make her a twitterer? A twitterizer? A twitterist?

She's on Twitter, and if you'd like to join the (as of this writing) more than 7,000 people following her (including a number of big journalistic and political names) you can click here (but don't click here).

She is of course only the latest pol or hack to enter the Twitzone, but she may be jumping on this bandwagon after its completed its own arcing leap over the shark. According to Nielsen, while Twitter saw explosive growth during March, it was unsustained60 percent of users did not come back:

Currently, more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter's audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month's users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent. For most of the past 12 months, pre-Oprah, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention.

... It is clear that a retention rate of 40 percent will limit a site's growth to about a 10 percent reach figure. To be clear, a high retention rate doesn't guarantee a massive audience, but it is a prerequisite. There simply aren't enough new users to make up for defecting ones after a certain point.

The Nielsen study goes on to note that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace enjoy much greater retention rates, achieving nearly 70 percent retention. (On Facebook? You can keep up with Thomas Jefferson Street blog postings through Facebook's Networked Blogs.)

But here's the funniest part about the Nielsen study: Their blog post summarizing it concludes thusly: "Twitter has enjoyed a nice ride over the last few months, but it will not be able to sustain its meteoric rise without establishing a higher level of user loyalty. Frankly, if Oprah can't accomplish that, I'm not sure who can." Then on the next line: "Follow us:" (Yes, yes—undoubtedly an automatic tagline, but still funny.)

So Governor Palin has joined the twitterati, but it seems to be a rapidly dwindling group. Kind of like the Republican Party.

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