Posted February 23, 2011 5:45 pm by with 8 comments

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52% of people who stopped using Twitter said they did it because they realized Twitter was pointless. Imagine that. The stat comes from the latest installment of ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans and Followers report. This one is called “The Social Breakup” and it’s all about why people stop following a brand on social media.

Yesterday, we talked about Facebook. Today, it’s all about Twitter.

On the upside, people said they liked Twitter because the messages were short, it provided unprecedented accessibility and even more than email or Facebook, Twitter was seen as a two-way street. Though more than half the people who started a Twitter account have stopped using it, the ones that stay are very active and they’re ready to engage in conversation.

For the marketer, that means that monitoring your Twitter accounts and Twitter in general is crucial. Checking in once a day isn’t going to cut it. Twitter moves faster than any other social media network so a response that takes 24 hours is really more like a week in social media years.

Being responsive, doesn’t mean firing off marketing Tweets every hour. Too many repetitive or boring posts was the number one reason people stopped following a brand on Twitter. As with Facebook, too much general clutter was a close second and 27% said they only followed the brand for a one-time deal.

Very few people, only 12% said they left a brand because their own circumstances and needs had changed. That means that the overwhelming majority of the responsibility lies with you, the marketer. People will stay connected as long as you hit that magic number of informational versus entertaining Tweets. What that number is, however, is anybody’s guess.

  • adam

    It’s not that Twitter is pointless, Facebook was able to replicate Twitter’s best competitive advantage with their status updates. Facebook already had more to offer , so they made Twitter pointless after they were able to replicate this. Facebook is simply the more well- rounded option.

    I use Twitter as a good way to share blog feeds with other professionals like me and this works much better than Facebook’s platform.

    I believe Twitter makes it easier to find others like you, and not just people who like the same things you do. Because of this, I use it more for professional reasons and Facebook more for personal.

    • As one of the co-authors of THE SOCIAL BREAK-UP report referenced in the article, I think it’s important to clarify what our data shows.

      First off, THE SOCIAL BREAK-UP is the 8th report in our SUBSCRIBERS, FANS & FOLLOWERS series. Prior reports such as THE SOCIAL PROFILE and TWITTER X-FACTORS go into greater depth about consumers’ use & perceptions of Twitter. If you haven’t read those, you can download them here:

      Our research indicates that about 17% of US online consumers have created a Twitter profile. 9% of US online consumers remain active on Twitter. This means that a little under half of the folks with accounts are inactive.

      If you now look at the reasons why those 8% (17%-9%) of consumers who stop using Twitter cite for their stoppage, 52% say that it was “pointless to them.” So, doing some back of the napkin math, about 4% of all US consumers have stopped using Twitter because of this pointless feeling. It’s not because Facebook stole them away–it’s a Twitter issue & opportunity.

      The issue is that if you don’t have friends, family or colleagues who use Twitter & you’re not a web-savvy person, Twitter can be intimidating. Sure, it’s only 140 characters, but the on-boarding process can be lonely & it’s far from intuitive who you should follow, when you should read tweets, and what app(s) you should use to read them.

      If you’re like me, your use of Twitter grew over time and only after much prodding from friends and exposure in different ways (news reports, celebrities, events, etc.).

      So, it would seem that the opportunity for Twitter is to engineer an on-process that greatly reduces the “pointless” feeling as well as the “overwhelming” feeling that many consumers shared with us. If Twitter can crack that code such that the Average Joe can get up, running & enjoying Twitter in a day–without the help of a Twitter-savvy friend–it may feed another wave of user growth.

      Oh…and should Twitter not choose to do that, it may not matter. As we detailed in THE SOCIAL PROFILE, Twitter has such command of the “Megaphone” influencer audience that it’s influence goes far beyond the size of it’s user base.

  • Racha

    “52% of people who stopped using Twitter said they did it because they realized Twitter was pointless.” does that statistic include how long these uses have been on twitter?
    Its really hard to feel included on twitter, if that’s what your looking for.
    Twitter isn’t facebook, and facebook can never be twitter. facebook is for connecting with people that you know, and staying in touch. Twitter is for exploring and getting together with strangers that share the same interests. i can’t see how one can compete with the other.

  • Adam

    My response was just to show why, I think, consumers think twitter is pointless. I believe it is because they are able to get everything they need though other social network sites. Why use 2 when 1 will do?

  • flint

    best things in life are pointless

  • Peg

    Everyone I know who quit twitter did it in the first few months and never really sought out followers or hashtags. It is pointless if you get on it and expect people to engage you in a conversation when you are speaking to spambots as your only followers.
    I use twitter as a news source and it is by far the best out there. Every subject imaginable that would have a blog or article written about it, you can find on twitter. It is also the only true live feed of ongoing news.

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