Data from Nielsen Online Research is showing that about 60 percent of new Twitter users stop using the service a month after joining. I believe that has something to do with false expectations for Twitter, however, the technology actually has so much to offer.
There are people who literally live on the Internet. (I am one of them.) There are many others, and their jobs depend on them being in touch with the latest news, whether it's investments, politics, business or technology.
(Credit: Chad Richards collection.)
For those professional users, Twitter is phenomenally useful. Think of it this way: your professional Twitter IQ is the sum of the IQs of the all the people you follow.
I used IQ in the euphemistic sense to mean knowledge, expertise, connections and intelligence.
For many others, however, I believe that the publicity surrounding Twitter just piqued their curiosity. All kinds of nonsensical question arise.
- Is Angelina saying juicy things about Jennifer?
- Will William Shatner personally tell me how to save on hotel rooms?
- Can I actually explain to President Obama how wrong he is on X? (Fill in the blank.)
- Can I advertise my yard sale Saturday?
- What does Oprah have to say? (That she didn't say on TV.)
When none of these scenarios pan out, and no one has time to tweet back, and the new user realizes that he or she really doesn't really want to talk about a sick mother-in-law, then interest fades.
I think Twitter can be a fun way for kids to stay in touch. After all, there are no SMS fees to irritate parents. However, in the end, Twitter must be regarded as just another technical communications medium for the exchange of information. When information (or in some cases, entertainment) doesn't have value to either party, the relationship dries up. Above all, Twitter isn't just for professionals who live on the Internet daily; it's for everyone who wants to learn and meet people with similar interests.
A few weeks ago, I wrote "The Value of Twitter for the Technical Professional." That's a good place to learn about how people who work on the Internet daily utilize Twitter and learn who to follow. It also has some references at the end.
Twitter isn't about how many followers you have. Or listening to gossip. It's about tuning into the right channels of chatter and listening on the Internet. For most, if you find that frequency, that is, the right people talking about the right things (for you!) Twitter can enrich your life. Nowhere do the words "Stay tuned" mean more.
This article explains how to get started with Twitter and has the Twitter addresses of the TMO staff.