As a result, a lot of people are cooking up ideas to help Twitter get more users.
Philip Pearlman at Yahoo had a simple idea: When people sign up for Twitter, it asks them their profession, their hobbies, and their favourite celebrities. From there, Twitter fills in their feed with 500 people that are great at tweeting.
This would immediately create a rich and vibrant feed for a new user.
There is a popular theory that Twitter fails to keep users because once they sign up, they don’t see what it’s all about
I decided to start a new Twitter account from scratch to see what the process is like for users. I’ve created a few Twitter accounts in my day, but I haven’t made one in a while. I wanted to see if new account creation was as bad as people seem to think it is.
It’s not exactly great, but it’s not the complete disaster some people make it out to be. Twitter tries its best to get you to follow 10 random accounts, plus the accounts of any of your friends. This isn’t the worst way to get started, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive as what Pearlman suggests.
After going through the process, which gave me some good account recommendations, I have nagging feeling all this hand wringing over the on-boarding process may be misguided.
The explanation for Twitter’s sluggish user numbers might be as simple as people don’t like Twitter. Personally, I love Twitter. I think it’s the best social network in the world. But, I’m in the media and I have Twitter open all day.
For normals who can only check into Twitter a few times a day, it might just be too overwhelming to take in. Twitter may just be destined to remain a niche service relative to Facebook. And that’s ok. Not everything is going to be Facebook.
But if Twitter wants to be as big as Facebook, then it’s going to take more than tweaking the onboarding process. It will probably require a full-scale rethinking of the product. And that could alienate users.
Anyway, that’s just my best guess!
Here’s a look at what it’s like to sign up for Twitter. You tell us if you think this is Twitter’s problem.
This is the welcome screen for Twitter. Punch in your name and email to get started.
Next up, come up with your username:
Twitter says it’s going to give you a little help getting started.
It tells you to follow 5 people. It recommends accounts based on popularity, your location, and your browsing history.
It asks you to follow ANOTHER 5 accounts based on different topics.
Next up, Twitter wants access to your email contacts to find real human beings who might be your buddies.
And then, you fill in your Twitter bio.
And voila! Here you are, looking at your profile.