Maybe Miley Cyrus was on to something, or perhaps she started a trend. But whatever the reason, Twitter's rapid rise appears to have to turned into a downward tumble, according to data provided to eMarketer by Nielsen.
We're not talking about just a few Twitter users leaving the service. According to Nielsen, traffic to Twitter slid 27.8 percent between September and October, dropping from 26.2 million unique visitors to 18.9 million. Nielsen's numbers were perhaps the most dramatic, but other research firms also noted a decline. According to comScore, unique visitors were down 8.1 percent in October, while Compete noted a more modest 2.1 percent drop.
No matter whose numbers you trust, the drop in traffic is concerning for one of the hottest services on the web. But are they telling the whole story?
"While it's valuable to look at Twitter's web traffic, the true picture won't emerge until all the third-party traffic from mobile phones and API clients is accounted for," wrote senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson on the eMarketer blog.
We know exactly how popular Twitter has grown, but never did we consider that anyone could be arrested for not using the microblogging service. Apparently that's a real possibility, as teenager singer Justin Bieber and his entourage found out.
Bieber was supposed to appear at the Roosevelt Field mall on Friday, but decided to keep his distance because the crowd was getting a bit too rowdy. When the police showed up, they asked James A. Roppo, a record label exec, to help clear out the crowd by sending a Twitter message, and then arrested him after claiming he didn't cooperate, Newsday reports.
"We asked for his help in getting the crowd to go away by sending out a Twitter message," said Kevin Smith, Nassau County Police Det. Lt. "By not cooperating with us we feel he put lives in danger and the public at risk."
In a radio interview, Bieber said the scene was "so crazy" that he couldn't make his way into the building, adding that the authorities had threatened to put in him handcuffs and haul him off to jail.
Roppo could face charges that include criminal nuisance, endangering the welfare of a minor, and obstructing government administration, Smith said.
Well that was short lived. Twitter, the crazy-popular microblogging service responsible for Miley Cyrus' sheltered IRL existence until she disconnected her account, said it plans to end a service that links distinguished message posters to new users.
Called the "suggested users" list, the idea was to connect new Twitter users with some 500 celebrities, sports figures, and politicians that might be of interest, but the service drew criticism in California over perceived unfairness towards GOP gubernatorial candidates, according to an AP report.
"The list will be going away," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said at a conferences in Malaysia. "In its stead will be something that is more programmatically chosen, something that actually delivers more relevant suggestions."
As it stands now, names on the suggested user list are selected by company officials. Some took issue when, until recently, only Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls in California were placed on the list, which helped boost their number of followers.
As to the new service, Stone didn't offer up any additional details.
At at townhall style session with Chinese students in Shanghai, President Obama spoke up for an uncensored Internet. “I am a big believer in technology and I’m a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information,” the President said in response to a student’s question, following up with “I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity.”
Mr. Obama was treading carefully, given the Chinese government’s careful control of Internet content, derisively referred to as “the great firewall.” During the days surrounding the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, for example, the Chinese government blocked access to popular Web sites, such as Hotmail, Flickr and Twitter. (YouTube has been blocked since March.)
The President added: “I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.”
Mozilla just launched the official gallery for this new framework last week. As you might expect, there aren't a ton of browser add-ons to play with. However, I'm going to take a look at five of the more innovative, interesting, and downright install-worthy of the Jetpack add-ons that are currently available in this week's freeware roundup. And remember--you can install and uninstall these add-ons without mucking up your browser session whatsoever, so feel free to be a Firefox Rocketeer and grab as many as you want to try out!
It’s been nearly a year since Twitter exploded into the mainstream. Instead of seeing the year go out with a bang, Twitter may be headed for disappointment. The number of unique domestic users visiting Twitter’s homepage declined for the first time in October, down 8%.
The new numbers from comScore put Twitter’s users at 19.2 million in October, which is, admittedly, nothing to sneeze at. Growth began to taper off over the summer, but people are taking notice of this decline. Twitter CEO Evan Williams has acknowledged the drop off, but hopes new features, including lists and retweets, will reverse the trend. While the numbers don’t include access via Twitter’s API, it is still a troubling situation for the microblogging site.
Rival Facebook’s growth seems to be continuing unabated. If this is the beginning of a trend for Twitter, things could be bleak. Without their massive growth, are they even a viable company?
Perhaps looking to restore order in the court -- and a little common courtesy -- a federal judge in Georgia has banned using Twitter while in the courtroom, CBSNews.com reports.
According to U.S. District Judge Clay Land, Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure should be interpreted to ban Twitter. This is what it says:
"Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom."
The ban came after a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer asked permission to tweet the deets from a corruption trial, which was scheduled to start on Monday.
Some changes are coming to Twitter that the microblogging site hopes will help curtail the amount of spam that flows through its Trending Topics area, the social networking site announced in a blog post.
"As Twitter grows and the number of tweets each day continues to astound us, we’ve noticed an increasing amount of clutter in the public timeline, especially with trending topics," Twitter noted. "Trends began as a useful way to find out what’s going on but has grown less interesting due to the noisiness of the conversation."
Twitter's solution is to start experimenting with ways of ranking retweets, though the service didn't say how this would work. If we had to guess, we'd say it would be based on some kind of algorithm that gauges a user's popularity, among other factors, rather than a manual approach.
According to the blog post, any initial changes will be minor and "the improvement won't be very noticeable at first."
We suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. In addition to your PC and smartphone, you can now tweet your witty 140-character epiphany using a dedicated Twitter device, courtesy of Peek.
The company has just launched its TwitterPeek, a $99 hand-held gadget (available exclusively at Amazon) with a QWERTY keyboard, color screen, and click scroll wheel. For a single C-note, Peek will give you six months of unlimited service, after which the monthly fee jumps to $7.95. Or drop $199 right from the get-go and receive unlimited Twitter service for as long as you own the device.
Other features include nationwide coverage, a one year manufacturer's warranty, and a 30-day money back guarantee, which will come in handy after you realize "Holy hell, I just dropped a hundred bucks on a Twitter gadget!" In fact, you may want to tweet that before getting your money back. Or keep it and prove us wrong in thinking there's no way this thing catches on.
TwitterPeek will face competition everywhere it turns. Twitter apps are available on just about every smartphone, and you can already update your status with a text message, But it's not just about smartphones and PCs. Digital e-book readers are gaining steam, some of which boast Internet access.
Does TwitterPeek have a chance? Hit the jump and tell us what you think!
Technology produces a marketplace that is both fascinating and puzzling. The fascination comes with the incredible devices that are rolled out in a constant stream of “wow.” Puzzling in that some of these devices don’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Peek, a New York mobile start-up, has introduced the TwitterPeek. It is a device with the sole purpose of allowing you to post and read tweets. That’s it. Nothing more. And it goes for $100, with an $8 per month service charge after six months. Or you could spring for a life time of tweeting nirvana for $200. (Exactly how long is a lifetime in today’s digital world?)
This isn’t Peek's only foray into mobile messaging. There is also Peek Classic and the Peek Pronto, designed for email and text-messaging, but not for making phone calls.
It would seem that the functionality of the TwitterPeek is available on most smartphones. And certainly handheld WiFi devices, like the iPod Touch, can manage this as well. And better yet, these devices can actually do other things, like make phone calls or browse the web, or listen to music, or watch video.
If there’s a market, then there’s a market. Still, all-in-all, puzzling.