80%+ Twitter accounts inactive, but core users more committed

Back in April there were comparisons of Twitter = the new Second Life (i.e the hyped network of 2009) when Nielsen said that 60% of users lost interest after registering, leaving their accounts dormant.

Though Twitter won’t be heading into obscurity like the virtual world (this New York Times article gives some good reasons why), it’s still the case that Twitter’s actual user base is small compared to the number of registrations as some new stats from RJMetrics show.

In fact, according to RJMetrics, Twitter’s rate of churn isn’t 60% as Nielsen found in April, it’s 80%+, with only 17% of Twitter accounts sending a single tweet over the past month.

By comparison, back in 2007 when Twitter was much smaller and really just for tech early adopters, 70% were making regular use of it.   RJ Metrics boss Robert J Moore says that the key period really is the first week – if someone gets to grips with the micro-blogging service in the first seven days, the chances are that they will stick with it.

Based on that churn rate, rather than 75 million registered Twitter users, RJ Metrics says that the real number of people who actually use it is more like 10-15 million worldwide.   And based on earlier research by Sysomos, 51% of that user base is in the US, 9% in Brazil, 7% in the UK, 4% in Canada and 2% in Australia, so roughly speaking the number of active of active UK tweeple is around 700-900k.

RJ Metrics says that users who do make use of it are increasingly engaged.  This mirrors the report by Sysomos last year about Twitter’s power users – the most committed 5% who account for 75% of tweets.  

Sysomos found that they were more likely to work in tech, the media and so had the ability to take things that they saw on Twitter elsewhere.   Indeed, the gap between something breaking on Twitter and hitting the mainstream media can be as little as four hours.

Reuters yesterday posted an article that with its worldwide user base of 300 million Facebook was approaching ‘technological lock-in’ and becoming a new Google – a default Internet technology that’s difficult to ever shift.   Based on the numbers above, Twitter is not remotely about to reach that kind of status, but while it doesn’t tick the ‘reach’ box, it does tick the influence one.

Image – FotoSpawn

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