Category Archives: Twitter

links for 2009-06-19

  • Videos from the recent 140 Character (Twitter) conference
  • “Have you ever looked at a piece of social software and thought, or worse, blogged, that it was worthless? Here’s a trick for evaluating social software in a way that isn’t going to make you look stupid six months down the road: assume it’s valuable if people are using it. Then try to figure out what value they’re getting.”

The Twitter Quitters Story – Not All Bad News?

There’s a lot of discussion out there about a recent Nielsen report stating that 60% of new Twitter users stop using the service after one month. 60% is a big number but I find it interesting that the number has actually improved recently. From the report:

Currently, more than 60 percent of 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.

First of all, I don’t think that a single event like Oprah joining Twitter should be singled out as the reason for a 10% improvement (30% to 40%) in user retention. I actually think that the improvement is due to the much criticized suggested users list that Twitter introduced several months ago. Before the suggested users list was introduced, new users started with a blank slate – Following 0 and 0 Followers. Twitter has always provided a way for people to locate friends by email address (similar to Facebook) but for the non-tech crowd, this might only result in a few matches and there is no guarantee that those people are active on Twitter. And while there are some pretty good third-party Twitter directories out there, most new users don’t have a clue where to find those. As a result, many new Twitter users log on to their account and see just a few updates a day from a handful of people. When they compare this to other social networking sites like Facebook, this makes Twitter look useless and they stop using it. Twitter’s suggested users list certainly isn’t perfect, but at least it gives new users some content to look at versus a blank page.

Measuring the Scoble Effect Using

Earlier tonight, I tweeted about the Ellen Show reaching 500 thousand followers on Twitter in just three weeks.

A few minutes later, Robert Scoble liked the tweet on FriendFeed. Robert routes his FriendFeed over to Twitter, so it quickly showed up on Robert’s Twitter feed…

When I tweet a link, it usually only gets about 20-25 clicks but, in this case, the clicks went through the roof according to As soon as Robert liked that tweet, the link that I posted got over 900 clicks in about 6 minutes.

A few thoughts on this:

  • A simple Like or Retweet from an A-Lister like Robert can drive significant traffic. This is hard proof that, with the right exposure, traffic from Twitter can achieve something similar to the Digg Effect.
  • The Twitter Effect can be very short lived. In this case, my tweet didn’t get many other retweets, so the number of clicks quickly went down after about 10 minutes.
  • provides great analytics for measuring stuff like this. Is it useful enough to justify the recent $2 million round of funding? I guess we’ll see.