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Twitter use declines further

After a huge rush of success at its birth, the social networking website Twitter is seeing substantially less tweets as time goes on for US users.

According to an article at eMarketer following spectacular initial growth, fall 2009 is proving to be a difficult time for Twitter. Although it has not been unusual to see changes in the amount of traffic Twitter gains, one thing remains plain to see: traffic to the Twitter.com website is declining month over month after a period of huge gains.

According to data provided to eMarketer by Nielsen, traffic to Twitter.com was down a substantial 27.8% between September and October 2009, falling to 18.9 million unique visitors. Nielsen is the latest in a list of research firms reporting declines at Twitter.com. ComScore said unique visitors were down 8.1% in October, while Compete reported a 2.1% decline.

It is somewhat unclear as to the reasons behind this, one theory is simply the fact that for many of the original users of Twitter, the novelty has simply worn off - leaving only seasoned users or those with a passion for tweeting. Falling interest across the board could also be a factor affecting Twitter's traffic.

According to the article in eMarketer, Crowd Science data from August 2009 indicated that 43% of Twitter users accessed the service through third-party applications and 19% through SMS. RJ Metrics noted a drop in share of tweets for the website versus other sources between June and July 2009; TweetStats reports that around 30% of daily tweets come from the website.

The rising popularity of the use of third party applications, particularly on smartphones, seems to be the main factor in migration from the Twitter.com website. "The Nielsen Company reported that Q3 2009 was the first quarter in which more than one-half of mobile Internet users were accessing the Web via smartphone."

According to senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson of the eMarketer blog; "whilst it is valuable to look at Twitter.com's direct traffic, the true picture won't emerge until all the third-party traffic from mobile phones and API clients is accounted for. Until those figures are accounted for, it is clear that traffic going through the Twitter website is declining, but whether that is offset by the use of it through smartphones and thirs party applications remains to be seen."

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