The most recent numbers from Nielsen indicate that Twitter grew 1,382% year-over-year, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US. Not only is that huge growth in one year, but in one month like in January, Twitter.com clocked 4.5 million unique visitors in the US, meaning the service grew by more than 50 percent month-over-month. But can that Growth be sustained?
It is hard to imagine that any technology could sustain that kind of growth. But what is even more surprising and potentially derailing for Twitters growth, is the lack of Twitter adoption in the teen market.
My 14 year old son is an avid text messager and Facebook fan. So recently when he had some friends over I asked them about Twitter and got several surprising responses ranging from “what is that?” to “wanting nothing to do with it”. That is sort of a bizarre dynamic if you think about it. Many new and innovative consumer technologies are first adopted by the teen market. But outright rejection of the technology can’t be good for Twitter long term.
While Twitter is definitely is the shinny new object in town and stars like Oprah and Aston Kutcher are racing to build followings. Perhaps the adoption of mainstream celebs will help Twitter adoption at the teen level but that has yet to be seen. In fact Aston Kutcher threatened to stop twittering recently because of an apparent stalking attempt, which could have an adverse effect on the technology.
Without a strong foothold in the teen market Twitter’s growth may hit an air pocket and if the teen market doesn’t latch on that could spell trouble for Twitter. I think the teen market needs to be convinced more of the value of twitter over SMS or Facebook updates. And long term Twitter needs more adoption by teen idols and integration with prime time TV shows to help capture the all important teen market.