The Case Against Twitter, By The Numbers

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Because we think Twitter search results pages would be a great place to put the kinds of ads that make Google $21 billion a year, we have, at various points, argued that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all need to acquire Twitter. So obviously, we’re as bullish on the micro-blogging startup as anyone. But at the same time, we’re not blind to the mounting evidence suggesting Twitter’s rocketship ascent might be more mirage than moonshot.

Call it the case against Twitter, by the numbers:

The percentage of users that account for 90% of all Twitter messages, according to the Harvard Business Review.

The percentage of Twitter users that quit the site after a month, according to Nielsen estimates. The stat may be skewed by people who use Twitter via SMS or desktop clients like TweetDeck.

The number of days the average Twitter user goes between sending a Twitter message, according to the Harvard Business Review.

The number of days since Oprah last updated her Twitter account.

The difference between 5.60 million, the number of unique visitors to Twitter in the week after Oprah signed up for the service, and 5.33 million, the number of unique visitors to Twitter the next week, according to ComScore.

Things more popular than Twitter as of mid-March, including Kenny G’s album Breathless and the forgotten Batman spin-off Catwoman.

The percentage of people with Twitter accounts don’t use the service at all even once a month, according to All Things D.

The number of Twitter account-holders who use the service once a day or more, according to All Things D.

Grant Rickelman’s Twitter updates. Grant is a former college classmate of SAI editor Dan Frommer. Living totally outside the tech and media world, Grant is the kind of Twitter user who would be showing the site is gaining mass adoption, if he were doing more than signing up for the service, following a few people and then quitting it.

Pretty gloomy figures, no? They all seem to indicate that while lots of people are trying Twitter, few actually use it very much. Here’s the good news for Twitter: They’re aware of the problem, and they have ideas for how to fix it. CEO Ev Williams talked about the issue at All Things D. Watch the clip:

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