Twitter’s international traffic continues to stagnate as the microblogging site’s number of unique visitors flattened in November. Twitter’s traffic might still be ranked #14 by Alexa at the moment but the truth is, Twitter’s growth has been on a serious decline over the past couple of quarters. Twitter had 60.3 million unique visitors in the month of November compared to 58.3 million unique visitors in October. Though this rise of 2 million visits globally looks like a big number, this increase in visitors only represents a mere 3.5 percent increase in traffic. And this is like, peanuts!
So apparently, Twitter has reached a saturation level. Everyone (approximately) who will ever use twitter already uses it. The 6 billion twitter visitors aren’t human! In fact, about 3/4 of Twitter users aren’t, real. Most are spambots. That number will probably go up, the same as email.
Over the past few months, Twitter has rolled out versions in Spanish, German, French and Italian which could help boost the international use of its site. But as traffic stalls on Twitter’s homepage and Twitter continues to lose it’s followers, third party Twitter clients like Seesmic and Tweetdeck are growing like weeds.
Noticeable problems why Twitter users are declining:
- Twitter has been known to be spammed by millions of botters around the world.
- Twitter without “external Twitter tools and applications” is as good as a “little chick with no wings”.
- Unlike Facebook and Orkut, Gaming application for Twitter is not yet visible.
- “Same old” twitter pages for advertisers, normal users, celebrity etc [Though Twitter is launching Paid Business Accounts from 2010].
As it seems, Twitter is in hangover mode right now. After insane growth in early 09, there’s no where to go but flat as a lot of early adoptors (testers) drop off – for a while. Hopefully, the core users will stay and after a dip it will probably continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate. Like the stock market, there’s always a down bump after a really sharp rise.
That said, Twitter has to be careful that it becomes an indispensable communications service and not businesses spamming followers, then its just a new form of email. A big issue I think is that everyone is just sharing links to stuff, there’s not a lot of dialogue. That, I believe, stems from the 140 character limit and the one-way messaging nature of it.
Twitter is not useless, but is of limited value for ordinary people. It’s good for marketers, bloggers, scientists and other people who work online. The rest just create noise with their infinitely boring egos. It’s a good thing that it’s flattening now. Maybe the twitter owners will stop arguing about when they’ll conquer the earth and start doing some real work on the site. Damn I can’t even search my own tweets in there.
Interestingly though, the drop-off coincides with Facebook’s focus on streams, Twitter’s homepage redesign (which I don’t think is helping them – can’t even figure out what a “tweet” is by looking at it), other companies getting into the stream business and general hype fatigue. And perhaps the fact that other companies than Twitter are becoming better at providing a UI to your tweets (Brizzly, Tweetie, etc…)
But the Twitter infrastructure – exposed through the API – will still have value. It’s real value. And due to this reason, I think it would be too early to say that this is the end of Twitter. What do you think?