Current trends show that there are now over 19 million users on Twitter, up from 3.4 million last October.
Twitter has gained incredible momentum as a key social media platform to say the least. The big question is whether new users are sticking around and using the site or visiting once and not returning after drawing blanks on how to churn up a 140 character update.
Last month, Nielson posted their research showing that Twitter currently only retains 40% of its users (Andy Beal addresses a plausible reason why this may be inaccurate). In the past I’ve posted about why Twitter can seem intimidating which still rings true for a lot of new users trying to understand the purpose and potential of the site (Facebook seems to be facing a similar ordeal with 55+ users).
Looking back, one item I would add to that post is the overwhelming number of Twitter applications that can be used to help with a range of services from tweeting to monitoring and trend analysis. There’s a lot out there and getting a grasp on overall tool utility can be a detriment to someone who wants to fully understand the platform right away.
The guessing game continues with Twitter’s next big move, but I do love the recent step they’ve taken in internalizing Twitter search on twitter.com. They do limit you to only 10 saved searches, but that’s usually plenty for personal use or for setting clients up with solid daily snapshot monitoring.
It does seem that Twitter would take as many steps as possible to keep traffic on twitter.com for accurate data capture and user trend analysis…not to mention creating appeal for potential advertisers. As Steve Rubel notes, Twitter search is booming and social search is here to stay as a major player. How Twitter capitalizes on the growing traffic has yet to be determined but adding more internal features on the site and providing a basic user/best practices guide to keep new users coming back could help their efforts.
Personally, I would prefer using twitter.com over my current use of Twhirl if Twitter moves on incorporating the following essential items:
- A shorten/trackable URL tool such as budurl.
- Notifications for replies and direct messages
- Addition of a simple RT button
- Follower grouping and ability to privatize a tweet to a particular group (sounds like this is a possible consideration)
- Basic stats analysis and tracking
What other functionality would keep you on twitter.com or what do you think will motivate more people to remain engaged on Twitter in general?