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Monday, May 4, 2009

Twitter Retains Fewer Users Than Facebook and MySpace? So?

 

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YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, DailyMotion, Blip.tv, Stupid Videos, Sclipo and Viddler

I saw an interesting blog post today over at Webguild.org reporting that Twitter is "Doomed" (in fact the title is "Twitter Doomed") and I had to laugh. There have been any number of people explaining either why they don't use Twitter or predicting its demise. There's even a website-style blog called "Twitter Backlash". But back to the post that got my laugh banks engaged and this sentence:

Apparently more than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month and pre-Oprah more than 70 percent of Twitter users failed to return to the site according to David Martin, Vice President, Nielsen Online.

Apparently Nielsen believes it appropriate to lump in Twitter with social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and others, and that's the problem. Twitter's a micro-blogging environment much more than a social network and thus should not be compared to Facebook and MySpace. Facebook and MySpace have places for photos of whatever you're doing or a place for installing your favorite music to share with others. That's not what Twitter's designed to do. Thus comparing them is lumping Apples with Oranges.



Twitter, again, is for the act of "micro-blogging" or explaining something in less than 150 characters. That's a system that can be and has been incorporated into a social network like Facebook, but it's not a social network like MySpace and Facebook.

I think what's happening is because one can communicate with others on Twitter, or have "friends", it's viewed as a social network as opposed to something that allows social-networking.

Two different actions.

In Facebook I have various pages, I'm a "fan" of President Obama, and I can see my friends photos, attend events I'm invited to, and play games they invite me to engage in (when I have time).

I can't do any of that on Twitter.

So it should come as no surprise that Twitter has a lower retention rate than Facebook or MySpace. Hey, people like to learn about other people which is what we use Facebook and other networks for. (Personally, I swear by Linkedin which I use far far more than MySpace.)

I don't see Twitter as a competitor to Facebook, but as complementary to Facebook. My Tweets go from my Twitter page out to my followers then onto my Facebook page and for good measure migrate over to my FriendFeed page as well. And my blogs are hooked in the same way: Blog to Twitter to Facebook to FriendFeed. Hey, that horizontal subscription count can add up!

The reason Twitter has a lower retention rate is simple: there's less there. It's a great place for the rapid transfer of information but that's it and you have to use it to understand its value.

Alas, Twitter doesn't have the revealing voyeur factor, so unless someone comes up with an app to send Paris Hilton sex tape through Twitter, the retention rates always going to be less than for Facebook, and that's just fine with me. Twitter's going through a shake out period where everyone thinks they have to use it. It's not for everyone. Eventually, we'll get rid of the wanna bees and be left with a really engaged Twitterverse.

Hooray!

New TV Show by Zennie62's On BART and Oscar Grant

On Saturday, May 2nd, my new television show starts. It's called "The Blog Report With Zennie62" and features the use of my video blogs in a weekly 30-minute format broadcast and co-produced by CoLoursTV in Denver. The start time is 3:30 PM Pacific Time, 6:30 PM Eastern Time and the show is replayed at 11:30 PM and 2:30 PM respecfully.

If you don't have a TV you can see the live stream at CoLoursTV.org. or Zennie62.com

The first show focused on selected events that occured after the shooting of Oscar Grant by BART Officer Johannes Mesherle on New Year's Day. It opens with my walk through a riot-ravaged downtown Oakland where I talked with many people about what happened, including a group of kids who were some of the rioters. Then we focus on the words of "DaveyD", America's foremost hiphop reporter and voice of the street, who shares his observations of how Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums handled the situation. And finally we hear from Dellums himself. This is not the last time I will visit this issue, but it's a good place to start the show.

The standard format is to present politics, news, sports, and tech in some combination for each show. Sometimes it's me talking about an issue; other times it's me talking to someone else, and with this show we will feature the work of other video-bloggers. It's a vloggers' playground.

The show will have a deliberate vlogger feel. Videos that you see on my channels at YouTube, Blip.tv, and other places make up the show. There's no studio; the camcorder is the star instrument. That means we can go anywhere at anytime and quickly make a video. It also means I can share what's happening in the news on the blogsphere in video form and show it on "The Blog Report". A lot of ground we can cover considering I never dreamed of having my own television show, but this whole road I've taken has been totally unplanned by me.

"The Blog Report" all started last year when I met Art Thomas who's the Executive Vice President with CoLoursTV at a media walk-through for the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He lived in Oakland before moving to Denver and so we had a lot to talk about. I was looking for a sponsor for our show at the time, so I sent a proposal to Thomas. That exchange turned into an idea for placing our videos on CoLoursTV and that became the concept called "The Blog Report With Zennie62".

Our first concern was how to get the videos up on television without a loss of at least the quality that is seen on Blip.tv and Viddler, which have the sharpest video uploads (that written, I love YouTube and the quality's really improved over time such that it's competitive with the two, but YouTube's best system is the website design and its "viral" nature as well as The YouTube Partner program.) I think we solved that problem and I understand the TV version looks even better than what you're going to see here.

I look forward to your feedback and questions. We're seeking sponsors and there are some organizations we simply want to establish strategic partnerships with, so please contact me. The possibilities for this are many and should serve as an example for a possble future for newspapers as well.

If you're a video-blogger located anywhere in the World and have material that's not longer than 4 minutes tops, notify me via email at zennie@sportsbusinesssims.com and we'll go from there. I prefer the video is already uploaded on some site, Brightcove, Blip.tv, YouTube, etc, so I can see it.

I wish to thank Art Thomas, Damon Purdy, and Tracy Winchester of CoLours TV, as well as Steve and Bernard who made me look good in the promo. I also wish to thank Google / YouTube for their support and encouragement and specifically Chad, Emily, and Hunter. A big loud shot-out to the iReport team at CNN: Lila, Henry, Rachel, David, Nicole Saldi, and the rest. And thanks to the team at CNN Special Projects, Errol and Jessica, and to Roland Martin and his staff at CNN for discovering me. Finally, thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle for seeing the value in how I do what I'm doing and providing a platform. To the National Football League and Commissioner Roger Goodell, Greg Aiello, and Frank Supovitz ("Mr. Super Bowl") And of course, thanks to my Mom and my relatives in Chicago and Tennessee.

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