November 13th, 2009 by Lloyd Gofton
Twitter is the standout social media success story, it has reached new heights, changed the way we think about communications, broken down barriers and proved many people wrong. It would be fair to say that part of Twitter’s success has been due to its users, who have taken the platform and evolved it in new and interesting directions, something that was recently overviewed in Wired magazine.
Of course a service that is built by its users, can also suffer at the hands of its users and recently there has been growing conversation around user numbers leveling and even dropping in the U.S. According to Comscore The number of Americans using Twitter dropped 7.9 percent in October from September, marking its second monthly decline this year, as overviewed in today’s Boston Globe story. Twitter had growth of less than 1 percent in September and declined in August. So are we seeing Twitter enter maturity in terms of its product life cycle? It seems a little early to me.
Some of the most useful conversation that I’ve found on the subject includes posts from TechCrunch, Next Web,Â Market Pilgrim and Mashable all of which outline the facts, and Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch perhaps overviewed it best when he said:
“Ever since last summer, Twitterâ€™s growth in the U.S. has been stalling. But in October, the number of people who visited Twitter.com from the U.S. actually declined for the first time by 8 percent month-over-month. Estimates… by comScore put Twitterâ€™s domestic unique visitors at 19.2 million, down from 20.9 million in September.
On an annual basis, Twitter is still going gangbusters with 1,271 percent growth from 1.4 million visitors in October, 2008. And on a global basis, it still seems to be chugging away with 58.4 million visitors in September. But a hypergrowth company like Twitter cannot afford to slow down in its home market.
In truth i haven’t quite found anyone that has nailed the reason for this drop or even a strong theory, so i guess we’ll have to watch the figures and wait and see. International growth is still looking positive, so this is far from a disaster for Twitter, but the figures will be alarming none the less.
Speaking to TechCrunch at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, in October, Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams acknowledged that traffic to twitter.com in the U.S. is slowing down for now, but said that they think they have new features coming out that will change that. He also noted that while that growth may be slowing, they are still seeing big growth in both mobile and abroad.
In my opinion i don’t think this will have a massive effect on Twitter, growth couldn’t continue at the same rate, and i expect international growth to offer Twitter more than enough comfort. However, it looks like we could be entering another interesting chapter of Twitter’s life.