Twitter, has rocketed from obscurity to the status of social networking phenomenon, but with the recent rash of celebrities leaving the site is the Twitterverse on a path to entropy?
In last two weeks, two of Twitter’s most popular individuals, Courtney Love and Miley Cyrus, have quit using the service. Cyrus went as far as to create a rap (a rather pathetic attempt at rap that is) explaining why she left. Love, who was already in the midst of a defamation suit for remarks she had made concerning a fashion designer on Twitter has suddenly disapeared. Of Course, it is probably no coincidence that her and her daughter( Frances Bean Cobain) deleted their accounts just a few days after Frances viscously went after Ali Lohan with a series of postings.
But, they are not the only celebrities to leave the site, which begs the question, are we on the verge of a Twitter exodus?
An interesting posting in the Economist blog cites several factors that contribute to the growth and demise of social networks.
From the article “Fun with Networking Effects”
When just a few of your friends are on Twitter, the value you receive from the service may not be worth the hassle of setting up and maintaining account. But as the number of users grows, the benefit to being a part of the network increases, until it’s actually costly not to join. With network externalities, we will tend to see positive feedback loops and tipping points.
It would be premature to predict Twitter’s demise, but, when one looks at recent figures from social networking site MySpace, it is obvious that when the fall comes, it is fast and furious.
Numbers released by web analytics firm Compete.com paint a terribly bleak picture for the future of MySpace. According to the Compete numbers, MySpace’s U.S. traffic dropped from 55.6 million unique visitors in August to 50.2 million in September. It has nearly shed off 20% of its U.S. traffic since June…
MySpace’s downfall is accelerating. It lost a little over a million U.S. visitors between June and July, but more than 4 million between July and August and over 5 million between last month and this month.
It is a bit like a party, once the popular people begin to leave their friends follow and pretty soon it is reduced to a few hangers-on who are sharing the last of the Keystone light!
One of the major complaints that people cite in regards to Twitter and social networking in general, is that it begins to take over their life. In turn, followers complain about endless pics and postings of pets, babies, and what celebrities ate for breakfast. Let’s be honest, most of us just don’t care to know every detail of the lives of others or care to publish every instant of our own. When keeping up with our online lives becomes a chore and we spend more time weeding out offers for internet porn and sifting through friend requests from strangers than having meaningful interactions, the shine begins to fade.
So is Twitter dying? To be honest we can’t say but, it does seem to be trending down. Twitter, like all internet sites, will die or evolve over time. But, every evolution of virtual communities will have to address this commenter’s observation “ ppl want to be part of real communities and not virtual ones.”
Ultimately, the greatest judge of any social network is the amount of value it adds to our real lives.