Image by Joe Penniston via Flickr
I wrote about this recently here, but just saw this as I was eating lunch: Twitter is retaining more users than Nielsen thinks » VentureBeat.
I agree with the conclusion—Twitter shouldn’t worry—but I find the logic goofy.
Sure retention is important, but it really doesn’t matter as much for Twitter as it does for FBK or MYSpace if a Twitter joiner is an active “Tweeter.” This is because, as with YouTube or Flickr, a Twitter account holder gets access to the search of the ‘real time web’ or whatever it is we’re calling the sum of all the tweets the user can search.
In other words, the consuming non-tweeter gets value from the size of the twitter network. If he or she never tweets, he’s still getting value. So long as the total audience of twitter continues to grow its account size, and so long as a non-zero percentage of that audience is tweeting and adding to the unique content asset Twitter has, then Twitter is in stellar shape.
The right metrics are not about retention or number of tweets, IMHO. I think its about # of total tweets, # of accounts, and in time, # of searches in short-term. Over time, the retention number will go up as more people figure out how to tweet.