"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."One post said, "Twitter is a white hot star....it's pretty hollow inside." Another compared it to the CB radio craze. The funny thing is, we've been here before -- and will probably be here again
Everyone who thinks Twitter is pointless is gleefully sharing this article -- those that can use e-mail, that is.
And that's really the point. If you're on the wrong side of the digital divide, it can be almost impossible to comprehend the value of this or any other Internet application.
Let's take a step back in time to when e-mail was new. What good is e-mail? If you only get spam or forwarded stupid jokes, then it isn't worth much. And you can't e-mail someone who doesn't have an account -- but you could call them, or even send a real letter. So why bother with it?
Because it's a useful business tool. Because archived e-mails are easier to search than paper documents. Because it's more economical than snail mail. Because it's faster than snail mail. And so on.
And yet we all know people who still have little or no use for e-mail. Even if they have accounts, they're seldom used. And if these folks really have to use it -- well, they sometimes need a little help. (How many company decision makers still rely on their assistants to handle the Interwebtubbie stuff?)
And Twitter's basically the same. Like e-mail, it's what you make of it. There's plenty of nothing being said on Twitter, but there are things of value going on, too. Businesses are using it to communicate with customers. Performing artists are using it to connect with fans. News organizations are using it for headline news feeds. And so on.
So all those Oprah fans who joined because she said to, looked at it, scratched their heads and then closed their accounts, don't matter much (in my opinion). If Oprah had told them to all buy Yankee screwdrivers they would have, and then placed the tools in closets or drawers where they would sit unused.
Because that's what Twitter is -- a communications tool. Like the Yankee screwdriver, it doesn't do all things equally well. But if you're a woodworker or fine furniture maker, there are times when no other type of screwdriver will do. And if you're running an Internet-oriented business, there are times when Twitter is ideal.
And is Twitter like CB Radio? Well, that was originally a communications tool also. Sure, it got to be a big fad in the late 1970's, and the on-air chatter eventually killed its effectiveness for professional truckers. But the concept's still around -- truckers now use cell phones for two-way communications, which filters out all that over-the-air noise.
Ditto with Twitter. You don't have to get updates from everyone in the world. Just the people (or businesses) you're interested in. That communications band can be as tightly focused as you want it to be.
Doesn't bother me that people are coming and leaving. I didn't follow them anyway (I suspect few did). I can talk to professional colleagues, post notices for upcoming business events, and do a little crowd-sourcing when necessary.
So please, twaters, stop with the article forwarding. I got it already. And what I really got is how much you don't get it.
Day 25 of the WJMA Podwatch. (No, they don't Twitter either.)