Twitter CEO admits slowdown, now what?

Evan Williams says Twitter traffic may have plateaued, but only temporarily

Technology trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
October 20, 2009 | Comments (3)
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/b50

Evan Williams, CEO and co-founder of Twitter, speaking at the Web 2.0 conference late Tuesday wasn't exactly candid about what's happening at Twitter these days. He dodged just about every question John Battelle, founder of Federated Media, threw his way about Twitter's plans for monetization. Williams also wouldn't comment about reports that both Microsoft and Google are interested in licensing Twitter feeds. 

Williams did, however, concede that traffic in the U.S. was slowing down. The traffic slowdown, is "a problem," he admitted.

But while the traffic may have plateaued in the U.S., it's only "temporarily," he said.

Twitter's visitor figure has remained stagnant for several months, according to comScore. In September, Twitter saw 21 million unique visitors, the third straight month it's recorded that number, according to the measuring firm.

"The problem is upfront," he explained, meaning most people don't get Twitter in the beginning. But eventually, they do and they become hooked. To this end, if there is a slowdown, it's only because users haven't come around to embrace Twitter. But they will, he suggested.

Translation: Initially, they walk away confused, but eventually they'll come back. 

How to get them back, however, is not a low hurdle. The big challenge for Twitter is finding the right "killer app" for each individual, Evan said. So, that's what Twitter is spending more time doing.

Twitter "Lists" should help toward that goal in finding the killer app for each user, Williams suggested.

Twitter Lists allow users to group people into different lists. By clicking on lists, you will only see Tweets from people who are on that list.

(Watch the video of Williams on how Twitter plans to keep the momentum up.)

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Dan Barrett
Dan Barrett, on October 21, 2009

As an Internet marketer, it is my job to use every tool at my disposal. I have tried repeatedly to get involved with Twitter. But I simply cannot find a use for it. In fact I had to block the status messages of friends on Facebook because their Twitters were taking up my whole Facebook page. And to all you Twitter junkies out there: NO ONE on the face of the planet has enough interesting things to say to make Twitter useful. I have finally been forced to conclude that (unless you live in Iran) Twitter is just a waste of time and in it's current form cannot survive.

Bambi Francisco Roizen, on October 22, 2009

Dan: There's definitely too much noise on Twitter. I often wonder what percent of people actually click onto the links people post. But we can't deny the fact that it's actually been a new shelf space for us.

Matt Bowman
Matt Bowman, on October 22, 2009

Twitter Lists is a solution to a problem already solved by TweetDeck--but it IS a bit ridiculous that you have to download a third-party app to make Twitter useful. However, I don't think lists will be as useful as search--I've found searching for keywords MUCH more useful than the feeds from people I subscribe to. By keeping open a search column for certain keywords I often come across people asking questions for which I am the best answerer.

Ronny Kerr, on October 22, 2009

I pretty much agree with Dan. When I search for keywords (as Matt suggests), I sometimes find what I'm looking for, but for the most part I'm forced to go somewhere else--Google, blogs, forums--to discover the actual content I'm seeking. "In its current form cannot survive" is the key phrase. If Twitter somehow found a way to pull the interesting content from the noise, it might have something going for itself. Then again, I think Facebook already does that.

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