Twitter Aims to Reach 1 Billion Users; But, 3 out of 4 Tweets Get Ignored

Twitter co-founders, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, were front stage yesterday in front of an audience at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club to answer questions about Twitter and its future. Twitter  revealed their growing adoption, with over 1.8 million users joining a week, more than the population of Stone’s home state of Nebraska. Twitter, the Social Media giant, is confident it will reach 1 billion users, though neither Stone nor Williams would put a date on achieving that goal.

Twitter Userbase Keep Growing; But 3 out of 4 Non-Spam Tweets Get Ignored

While Twitter continues to grow in terms of its vast user base, the growing number of users also mean something more shocking and concerning — in a recent survey by Sysomos that involved 1.2 billion Twitter posts (aka tweets) made over the past 2 months, it was found that 71% of the posts from the Twitter microblogging site elicited neither a retweet nor reply. That means roughly 3 out of 4 Tweets get ignored and probably never get read by anyone. So, if a Tweet is posted on the Web and nobody sees it, is it worth the bother?

Of course this doesn’t consider that lots of people read or view content — on Twitter and in other forms of media — and don’t necessarily feel compelled to respond. But with Twitter, it is very difficult to know if your tweet was actually read by a silent reader or was not; thanks to the microblogging nature of how Twitter works!

According to the Sysomos study, just 6% of Tweets measured got retweeted and 23% were apparently intriguing enough to warrant a reply. More than 90% of retweets take place within an hour, so the shelf life of a Tweet appears to be pretty short. As for replies, 85% involve just a single reply, throwing some cold water on the notion that Twitter is bursting with “conversations.”

So as it appears, Twitter is getting into a stage when the founders should start asking themselves the inevitable question – whether to go for quantity (aiming at reaching 1 billion users) or to try and find out a way to take Twitter back to the days when it used to be a great place to start and engage in healthy conversations and people used to read and respond to your tweets. A situation that seems to be quickly diminishing with the increasing number of Twitter users (and increasing spams on Twitter).

Aiming to reach 1 billion Twitter users may be a great thing to have as a ego-booster but if that increasing number of users ultimately result in increased noise, increased Twitter spam and increased dismissal of genuine tweets, then the Twitter founders should better revisit their goals. Because, otherwise it may prove to be the end of Twitter! What do you think?


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