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Watching the Birdie: Is Twitter’s Popularity in Decline?

by polrid | January 8, 2010January 8, 2010 6:44 am PDT

Last year was an incredible year for Twitter and recent deals with Google and Microsoft would seem to foretell a very rosy future for the micro-blogging (and I use that term loosely) site. The kingdom of Tweet has grown and grown with millions of users passing through, catching up or regularly posting each month.

Already covered

twitter-birdThe question of whether Twitter is a fad and whether it will survive was eloquently covered recently in TechnoBuffalo. And CEO Evan Williams confirmed that the site may be somewhere near saturation point during a recent interview for Fortune’s look at 40 rising stars under 40. Whether the service is a fad, approaching saturation point or about to tip over very much depends on what users expect to get from it.

If you wish to share portions of your life with distant friends and relatives or anyone else who shows more than a passing interest, then its usefulness is immeasurable and its future assured. I spend much of my time on Twitter keeping up to date with news and views in the world of technology and as such find it indispensable. I tend not to share my personal life with those who have chosen to follow me or those who look in from time to time for the simple reason that I’m sure that there are much more interesting topics for people to read about than what I had for dinner.

For those who follow celebrities though, snippets of information and revealing insights into the private lives of favored film, TV or music stars is what gives the site its relevance and much of its color. Celebrities themselves have found an easy, cheap and instant way to interact with their fans without the tedium and inaccuracy of sensationalist tabloid journalism. But there have been signs of late that celebrity support may be slowing or even in decline.

That’s it, I’m off

directoryNumerous celebs have recently quit or threatened to leave the service (including Miley Cyrus – quit, Chris Brown – quit, Lily Allen – quit, Ashton Kutcher – threatened to quit and Stephen Fry – threatened to quit) for reasons ranging from being too busy to keep it up to date to privacy/stalking concerns to simply having a momentary loss of celebrity cool.

If the exits gather momentum and more of the famous and popular decide to turn their backs on Twitter there is a danger that the legions of adoring fans, having little reason to stay, could follow suit. But is this enough to dent the site’s overall popularity? Twitter’s CEO Williams has hinted that those running site aren’t too worried, aiming for “at least double or triple” the number of Tweeters using the site by the end of 2010.

And why should they be concerned? The site has proven itself to be much more than fodder for fans of celebrity and providing it remains fresh, innovative and (most importantly) useful, it can no doubt survive the odd famous departure from within its ranks. The always-moving internet can be a cruel and fickle beast though. It will be interesting to see if the site can ride out the wave of the next online phenomenon.

What do you use Twitter for and how often do you Tweet?


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