“Currently, more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month,” wrote David Martin, vp primary research for Nielsen Online, on 4.28. “In other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent. For most of the past 12 months, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention.”

In short, a majority of users are finding that the lustre of Twitter fades after a period. That it’s a bit of an OCD pain in the ass. That it’s one more digital-electronic circle-jerk distraction that gets in the way and in a longterm way blocks out the sunlight.

“A high retention rate doesn’t guarantee a massive audience, but it is a prerequisite,” Marting goes on. “There simply aren’t enough new users to make up for defecting ones after a certain point. [The above chart] indicates that a retention rate of 40 percent will limit a site’s growth to about a 10 percent reach figure.

“When Facebook and MySpace were emerging networks like Twitter is now, their retention rates were twice as high. When they went through their explosive growth phases, that retention only went up, and both sit at nearly 70 percent today.

“Twitter has enjoyed a nice ride over the last few months, but it will not be able to sustain its meteoric rise without establishing a higher level of user loyalty.”