Nielsen on Twitter: It’s so five seconds ago


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Is Twitter over? (16 characters).

Probably not. Yet some new research from Nielsen isn’t encouraging for the red-hot social networking site’s future in which users post 140-character updates on ... well, anything.

The buzz is short-lived, Nielsen says. While Twitter’s unique users more than doubled in March, on average 60% don’t come back after a month of tweeting. MySpace and Facebook had retention rates that were twice as high at similar times in their existence.


For this tweeter (or twit since tweeter is just a little too close to tweaker for comfort), the site is awash in self-promotion. Journalists tout their most recent clips and, for some bizarre reason, their whereabouts (it’s a great tip sheet for burglars, stalkers, not to mention competitors), while networks and studios promote their wares.

Is it effective? In generating ink and a lot of back-and-forth navel gazing the answer is yes. In tangible results, not so much.

Take NBC’s ‘Chuck,’ which is on the bubble for a third season. Obsessed fans and a few publicists and TV reporters filled Twitter with tweets in an effort to raise the ratings for Monday’s season finale. It didn’t help, though, as ‘Chuck’s’ ratings were flat, leading one obsessed cheerleader to rationalize in a tweet that flat is the new up.

Of course, that’s a rationalization the entire media industry is using these days and at some point so will Twitter.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: NBC