It seems there are a lot of Twitter apologists who refuse to listen to anyone with a negative reaction to Twitter. To wit, most of the comments I got on my last Twitter post were from people either accusing me of link bait (I wish I knew how!) or of misunderstanding Twitter entirely.
Today, however, a post by Jeremy Liew at Lightspeed VP’s blog confirmed at least one thing – I’m not the only one disappointed by Twitter. Jeremy quotes a Harvard Business Review article that shows that most registered users on Twitter basically sign up and proceed to do nothing: “Twitter’s usage patterns are also very different from a typical on-line social network. A typical Twitter user contributes very rarely. Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. This translates into over half of Twitter users tweeting less than once every 74 days.”
The Twitter apologists have already come out with arguments attempting to spin this data, such as: these statistics include abandoned accounts; people may not post Tweets but could still be reading others, etc. Ultimately, however, given the extreme vanity of social media, it seems unlikely to me that a social network can really be successful if the majority of the people using it are, well, not using it in a vanity-induced way. Can you imagine people signing up for Facebook just to read their friends’ updates and view their friends’ pictures? Well, there will be some people who do, but the majority of people on Facebook embrace the notion that it is a two-way street.
Of course, it’s possible that Twitter will evolve – either in the way that people use the tool, or by making UI improvements or functionality changes – but currently I am still convinced that Twitter’s anointment as the next iteration of social media is still an unfulfilled media invention.