Room to grow?

The other day I decided to import my entire set of LinkedIn contacts into Twitter (via an intermediate step into gmail, so the whole effort was a bit kludgy) and follow them all.  Given the recent debates about whether Twitter has peaked or is still growing rapidly, I found the results interesting.  As a quick background, my Linkedin contacts are all professional, not personal, and virtually all of them are in the technology world and therefore presumably early adopters.  That said, first via a manual effort and then by using The Twit Cleaner, I found that 40% of them were not on Twitter, another 20% were on but had never posted and another 15% had posted less than 10 times.

So what does this decidedly unscientific survey tell me?

  1. Twitter still has a lot of room to grow in terms of new user acquisition, both here in the US and in the rest of the world, and
  2. Twitter still has an on-ramp problem that needs to be addressed such that those who do join can see immediate benefit and become part of the community, otherwise the growth may indeed peak sooner rather than later

You thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Room to grow?

  1. Andrew Parker January 14, 2010 / 10:40 am

    This is great data, and I’ll definitely give The Twit Cleaner a whirl. I’d be curious about a slightly different slice… frequency of posting is an interesting way to think about engagement of Twitter, because you know if a user is tweeting then they are actively engaged and thinking about the service (or at least *trying* to find value in it).
    But, the real key to onboarding new users at Twitter is how many people they’re following and their relationship to those people. So, I wonder what percent of your LinkedIn contacts are following at least 10 real world friends.
    For example, I watched a woman my age join Facebook recently. At the end of her first day she had about 10 accepted friend requests with real-world friends that she genuinely cared about. This feedback to the effort she put in was encouraging and spurred her to do more… By the end of the sixth day, she had a list of about one hundred friends, 30% of which had contact her initially. Facebook does a great job of showing you connections to your existing real world contacts and also alerts your contacts when you join and getting them to keep you engaged.
    Twitter has a ways to go with their onboarding process. Today it’s limited to tactics like gmail contacts import and the (controversial) recommended users list. I think Twitter will be served well by building out more personalized recommended followers and by pinging your real world friend who are already Twitter power users to get them to pull you into the service once you decide to sign up.
    (PS: this is all strictly IMHO, and is not at all representative of Twitter or their plans despite that fact that I work for USV, an early investor in Twitter.)

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  2. Chip Correra January 21, 2010 / 3:06 pm

    I think that Andrew is spot on about how Facebook, and I’ll add LinkedIn, do a great job of pushing connections to you and Twitter does not.
    And Chip’s data shows that only around 25% of your contacts are “active” twitter users – I suspect there is a tight correlation to the age demographic.

    Like

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