Twitter combines blogging and text messaging. Users generate short micro-blogs, up to 140 characters, which are then sent to readers via text messages, though some also receive them via SMS or email. It is a free service, which is why many have signed on to become "Twitterers".
The untold story is why many people who sign up quit just as quickly. Nielsen reported that 60% of Twitter users quit within the first month. Why do they quit?
1. Tweeting requires time. Even though they are short messages, keeping up a Twitter blog requires time and interruptions to the interesting things you are doing, something many do not have.
2. To get value from Twitter you need an audience. Building an audience is a challenge.
3. Keeping readers is even harder. The old adage of real estate was "location, location, location". The demands of SMS are "informative", "entertaining", and "interesting". To get readers and to keep them, tweets have to be informative and interesting or entertaining. Informative in itself is never enough, unless it is breaking news unavailable elsewhere.
When information becomes available through more mainstream sources, Tweets either have to be more entertaining than the MSM (Main Stream Media) sources, or they have to be more informative, such as having breaking news details that haven't made it on TV. Twitter can thus get a following for someone who is reporting cutting edge events or has very witty dialogue on current events. Or the individual doing the reporting may be a celebrity who has snubbed the paparazzi by saying "Here I am, listen to me, here's what I'm doing".
For those who are marketing a blog or website, microblogging can help to bring life to the other medium. Twitter is a great real-time marketing tool. However, Twitter as a marketing tool only works if you have readers. If you have not built up an audience by being interesting and informative or entertaining, there are no readers.
How often can you keep up short yet entertaining and informative posts? Conveying useful or amusing nuggets can be done for a while, but unless the user is a talented comedian or has constant information others want, attention will waiver. Then the audience drifts away. The marketing potential of Twitter is then lost and getting an audience back is more difficult because the novelty factor has worn off.
In general, most people who quit Twitter do so because of an inability to build a following, an inability to keep up with the demands of the communication niche, or an inability to keep Tweets interesting. If you are thinking about using Twitter as a marketing tool, be sure that you will have an audience, that you have time to invest, and that you have a knack for witty dialogue.