Are Attention Spans Waning – Even On Twitter?

I noticed a splurge of new followers the other day, and a few new messages from people telling me their experiences of Twitter.

This sort of thing happens every now and then when something I’ve written on the subject gets shared by a social media maven, or whatever they’re calling themselves nowadays.

Sure enough something called Tweethelper and then TweetSmarter had sent the link to my really, really simple guide to using Twitter out into the ether, where it got retweeted another 80 or so times, probably more, and often by people with six-figure follower, er, followings.

So I dived into Analytics, expecting a deluge of traffic and some high bounce rates. The bounce rates were certainly there but the traffic? Around 600 hits that appeared to come from the shared Twitter links. 600 hits from 80 retweets? And, at a guess, a potential audience of around 200,000? Not a great return.

What does this say for Twitter’s ability to generate traffic? Not much. Could it be that, since businesses and spammers took to Twitter there’s a spot of link fatigue going on? Was it ever that useful?

I’ve become more and more sceptical about the ability of Twitter to generate significant traffic unless, perhaps, you have large, targeted followings already and really hammer the links.

Perhaps it’s another sign that people don’t really want much more than the usual internet diet of celebs, free stuff and sex – even on Twitter. And, already, people have started to filter out the stuff that’s not immediately of interest to them, like they did with display adverts.

So, if 140 chars isn’t enough for WILFers, where do we go from here?

One thought on “Are Attention Spans Waning – Even On Twitter?

  1. Same here, Robin: I’ve had articles that have been much-tweeted too, yet the actual viewing figures have always been slightly disappointing. I think you’re right: attention spans really are that short on Twitter.

    I’m guilty of it myself too, mind: a good RSS feed is far more likely to result in an article-read by me than a Tweet, unless the Tweet is exceptionally alluring…

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