Twitter Quitters Ain’t Surprising – It Takes Time to Get It

In case you missed it on Techmeme, Nielsen published research showing that 60% of new Twitter users fail to return the following month after joining.

60% !!

I heard this, and I’m really not surprised. It actually fits my personal experience. Before I got to this point


…I really didn’t take to Twitter. I signed up on December 15, 2007. My first tweet was, “Trying to get warm-n-fuzzy about Twitter.” But really, I didn’t get warm and fuzzy. Take a look at the chart of my monthly tweets below:


I can tell you that the months preceding April 2008 were even lower. It really took me a while – September 2008 – to warm up. That’s 9 months. Why?

  • Hadn’t figured out who I really wanted to follow
  • I didn’t have a clear purpose for why I’d use the service
  • Wasn’t convinced I had anything really worthy to contribute

Bit-by-bit, I figured things out.

Who I wanted to follow – people in my industry and job function, plus people who would educate me about social media.

My purpose got clearer – establish a voice in my industry, and share information (something I learned from Louis Gray).

I learned not to sweat the worthiness of my tweets early on. You really can’t find your groove without practice. I do sweat the worth of my tweets much more now. But that’s after a lot of experimentation.

Thoughts for Twitter Adoption

If people truly leave Twitter after a month and don’t come back, then there’s a lot of learning they’ll miss. Things that took me time to learn and get comfortable with.

But if the celebrities that people follow – actors, news and media figures, musicians, sports stars, authors, etc. – stick with it, then the awareness will continue along. And that awareness is the key to giving new users time to figure out how they want to use Twitter.


About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

16 Responses to Twitter Quitters Ain’t Surprising – It Takes Time to Get It

  1. Victorseo says:

    One more time, I’d like to point out that the nielsen report data did not account for users who accessed twitter through 3rd part apps – which is about 60% of us

  2. Oddly, my own twitter usage graph follows the same pattern, for much of the same reasos; didn’t understand why I would use it, didn’t know anybody using twitter, etc.

    I even wrote a post back in October 2007 about how I disliked Twitter. How times have changed 🙂

    What I failed to see is how to use it, and that took time; I failed to see that the right way to use Twitter was *however I wanted*, and defining our own way takes time; but perhaps that’s why the people I’ve met through Twitter are so interesting, because we’ve generally had to go through the same cycle in understanding how to use new tools, find our voice and figure out who we are.

  3. Emma says:

    Think I could have written Taylor’s post myself.
    I let twitter lie idle from November 07 to July 08 – did nothing. Forgot all about it. Dismissed it because I thought I needed more letters.
    Then I met up with a few others (face to face) who Twitter (and blog etc.) It started to make sense & I started to find good reasons for using it.
    In November 08 it made sense. A year after I first signed up.

  4. Funny that it also took me a while to get into (more or less regular) twittering – after having joined in June 2007 (less than 30 utterances in 19 months!) it took me over a year and a half to actually return. While I don’t think the frequence of my contributions will increase much I like to get informed of what is fed via the accounts I follow.

  5. Jeff Sayre says:

    As a new tweeter, twerson–or whatever you want to call me–who joined just over a month ago, I concur with your assessment. I’ve just hit that point where I wonder if the time I spend on Twitter would be better used elsewhere.

    But, I’ve read enough opinions similar to yours that I’m going persevere and find my stride.

    Besides, since social media is one of my company’s key foci, it behooves me to give Twitter a sufficient trial.

  6. Fabrice says:

    As a new user I am overwhelmed by the syntax. I went through the help file (yes I RFM) but still have lots of question on best practices, tools, and usage. Are there good post anywhere guiding on this?

  7. Say what you want, but I just started tweeting less than 2 weeks ago and I’m already hooked. Was in “broadband” push mode before full email adoption in mid 90’s. Myspace, facebook are boring to me. But my new world of “tweets” rocks!

  8. Hey, what’s with the angry icon you gave me???

  9. maistrategies says:

    Great post. Twitter management doesn’t treat its users as customers. As any community manager knows, to keep customers — or users, in this case — you to welcome them and help them “settle” in.

    For those complaining about Nielsen’s methodology, you should look at David Martin’s response. They looked at the top Twitter applications and found the results the same as the site behavior. You can see it here.

  10. JP_FLECK says:

    I joined Twitter 1 day after Oprah, after 12 days of tweeting I have 579 Followers 181 updates and I’m addicted. U just can’t b afraid 2 talk 2 people u don’t know.

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  13. jazzroc says:

    Well, I’m reading this because I STILL cannot figure out if it’s useful – or even start it up.
    Would anyone like to explain what happens?

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  15. tarun says:

    yes i think twitter help me lot to learn… thanks for such a nice post

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