Are Twitter Conversations Dying?

Twitter Over the last month or two I’ve noticed a sharp decline in the amount of conversation occurring on Twitter.

People are still using the service, for sure (witness the number of tweets about McCain’s “ground noise and static” comment, in reference to protesters at the Republican Convention, within seconds of the comment for proof). However, I’ve noticed that the number of replies I’m getting to messages has sharply declined recently.

Twitter has done well for itself recently. While its latest newsletter to members was distinctly underwhelming (where’s the news on IM or tracking – you know, the features that made Twitter useful to begin with?) it did make the point that over the last two months the service’s uptime has been around 99.9% – a big difference from the dismal levels a few months ago.

I’m wondering, though: is this partly due to people moving away from the service?

A couple of months ago, I would get 5-15 replies to any given question that I posed to my Twitter connections. Since that time I’ve added a couple of hundred “followers,” (currently sitting around 1,175) but the number of replies I’m getting to each question has fallen dramatically, my new followers have slowed to a trickle and many of them are wannabe spammers.

I still get a lot of value from Twitter and it continues to prove its value to me daily. However, this trend (if it is one) can’t be a good sign. The conversation is often what attracts people to Twitter to begin with, and it’s where I derive most of my value from the service.

Assuming I’m not a unique case here and that this is a real trend, this makes me wonder if Twitter’s shine is fading. Is their failure to replace services that they stated were their “top priority” three months ago finally hurting them? Are people actually moving to services like identi.ca, or even FriendFeed?

Have you experienced a similar pattern with Twitter? What’s your take on this?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.