Twitter users abandon website after one month

LONDON - More than 60% of Twitter users stop using the social networking site one month after signing up for the service, says new research.

In no small part to celebrity exposure and media coverage, use of Twitter continues to skyrocket, growing more than 100% since March, but new research shows the microblogging website is having trouble convincing users to stick around.

Data from Nielsen Online found that Twitter has a "retention rate" of about 40%, meaning four in 10 users will continue to use the site from one month to the next.

Numbers show that throughout the year that figure was closer to 30% before the popular US talkshow host Oprah Winfrey joined Twitter last month, causing a spike in new users.

Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) joined Twitter on April 17 and has racked up 680,000 followers including Hugh Jackman who has 150,000 followers (@realhughjackman).

In comparison, Twitter's retention rate is about half the size of rival websites Facebook and MySpace during their first three years of existence.

Furthermore, when Facebook and MySpace went through their explosive growth phases, much like Twitter is now, their retention rates only went up, both sitting at nearly 70% today.

However, the study fails to convey the general acceptance of social networking into the mainstream over the past few years.

More importantly the study doesn't reveal how many users are using third-party applications to access Twitter, such as the popular Tweetdeck application, without actually signing in on

David Martin, vice president of primary research at Nielsen Online, said: "Twitter has enjoyed a nice ride over the past few months, but it will not be able to sustain its meteoric rise without establishing a higher level of user loyalty."

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