As the number of Twitter users continues to climb – 44.5 million in June, according to comScore – I’m starting to wonder when Twitter’s gloss is going to fade, and whether Twitter will go through the same kind of user evolution as blogging.
Right now, Twitter’s in the honeymoon period as millions of people jump on the micro-blogging bandwagon to see what all the fuss is about. Even my father is asking about Twitter after reading about it in the Sunday New York Times.
That said, many people using Twitter are barely using it. According to a report done in June by Sysomos (a client), more than half of Twitter users hadn’t posted an update in more than a week, which makes you wonder how many Twitter accounts are collecting dust.
This inactivity suggests there could be parallels between Twitter and blogging in terms of activity. In Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere, only 1.5 million of 133 blogs indexed had posted in the last seven days, and only 7.4 million had posted in the past 120 days.
Of course, it is easier to update Twitter than write a blog post given it only takes a minute or so to write 140 characters or less. But the same kind of enthusiasm about Twitter was alive and well just a few years ago when blogging erupted into the mainstream. At the time, everyone was starting a blog because it became so easy to get started using Blogger, Livejournal or WordPress.com.
And although Twitter is less labour-intensive, it can require effort and time to do updates that are interesting or have conversations with other people. At the same time, keeping an eye on Twitter can be exhausting and overwhelming given the constant flow of information.
I could be wrong but I think many people will come down with a terminal case of Twitter fatigue over the coming months. People who were enthusiastic about Twitter will use it less often; people who were somewhat interested will stopping it altogether. This doesn’t mean Twitter’s growth will stop but it will probably slow as the novelty factor disappears.
The idea of Twitter Fatigue has been rumbling around my head for a few weeks but it gained some traction after reading on a TechCrunch post by Devin Coldeway on Twitter on why he doesn’t use Twitter in which he suggests Twitter has no value because there’s often no context.
Another source of inspiration was Om Malik’s thought-provoking poston the evolution of blogging, which explores how blogging is going to change as social media and lifestreaming become a bigger part of peoples’ lives.
So, what do you think? Will Twitter lose its luster soon?