Following news about the onslaught of new tweeters, inspired by ‘how-to’ supplement spreads and advice from master tweeter Stephen Fry, that have appeared in recent months, it is interesting to find out that only 40% will continue twittering away 30 days later.
This data (released by Nielsen Online ) comes as little surprise to me. It seems Twitter is a victim of its own medium.
Primarily I use twitter as a professional tool but the majority of people still see Twitter as a self-promotional and desperate attempt by people to engage with people about their breakfast or a missed bus.
I must admit that when given a stage, albeit a miniature one, on which to tell the whole world how you are feeling, it can be tempting to get carried away. It’s human nature to try and tell other people what you are experiencing, however banal, in order to feel connected to the world. (This is a subject worthy of much more consideration and something my friend Jenny Winfield has talked about on her blog.)
Saying this, I am still unsure about this seemingly banal and pointless tweeting. I use Twitter because I benefit from it, professionally. If I only engage with people about how tired/late/hungry they are then I am gaining very little.
For young journalists the benefits of using twitter are information sharing and, of course, networking (involuntary heaving action should be experienced here). It has enabled me to engage with admired journalists, like @jemimakiss and @indiaknight, and promote my work.
It has also become the platform for a number of important campaigns and has been employed by news stations to track global disasters, such as the Mumbai bombings or #swineflu. These are of course, of interest to everyone but are only experienced after a prolonged and engaged use of the service.
The reason why people aren’t returning, as far as I can see, is that those without an agenda to push see very little immediate reward in Twitter, unlike those sharing information or using the site for work.
It seems that for most people, with the speed and wealth of information available, anything that gives less than instant and personal gratification is no longer good enough.
Twitter demands some kind of loyalty from it’s users. If these everyday-life tweeters aren’t getting anything in return for devoting their precious time to Twitter, they won’t return to the nest.