Trends on the Internet are fun to watch and move very quickly compared to some other markets. For instance, while the Web’s trends tend to go in cycles of one or two years, trends in food and restaurants tend to go in cycles of nearly a decade. So the fast-changing world of the Internet can be exciting.
The latest trend to be noted amongst those who watch such things is that social media is losing some of its lustre with some users. A visible decline has been seen starting in February of this year, denoting a possible plateau during the Christmas Holiday and now falling steadily.
The Trend Itself
The trend is a 10-day moving average in terms of number of tweets on Twitter using The Daily’s iPad application. The app’s usage peaked at about 220 tweets per day in early February, then dropped quickly and significantly down to about 85 per day by the end of the month.
It’s since shown steady usage with ups and downs until mid- to late-March, when it began to decline again though at a steadier pace. On about March 20, it had been averaging around 85 tweets per day, but at the end of the month had dropped to about 50 per day.
You’ve probably noticed two things about this data.
What It Really Means
The trend itself is not about social media at all, though that’s where most of the headlines discussing it have gone. The truth is, these numbers represent a drop in the user activity and interest in one of the newest news outlets – this one being The Daily, the iPad-specific news app.
Let’s face it, though: a headline saying that social media is dying gets a lot more reader interest than one that says The Daily is dying.
To be fair to the information’s collectors at Niemen Labs, though, the numbers of some other gadget-specific news outlets were also considered. They show roughly the same results, though not in as dramatic a way as those of The Daily.
What the data really seems to be saying is that current (paid or unpaid) applications for finding news using the iPad are lacking. Users seem to be dropping them, or at least not using them as often. The high point for The Daily was during the Holiday season and into the New Year when the app was brand new and was getting heavy publicity as part of Apple’s push for the release of the iPad 2.
Since then, users have complained about the app’s shortcomings and basically heard the “we’re working on it” line. In the fast-paced world of the Internet, “working on it” for more than a few days or even a week means losing users. The longer you take, the more you’ll lose and the harder it will be to win them back. The Daily seems to be missing that point.
The Future of The Daily
With the losses over time that The Daily appears to be sustaining, according to Niemen Labs’ information, it’s not likely that the app will survive without a major publicity effort. In their favor, though, Daily promoters can also note that Twitter itself is losing users as well. Many use it as a glorified RSS feed for their blogs and despite its best efforts, the Twitosphere has become inundated with spammers.
So where will The Daily go? If they’re smart, they’ll revamp their app to match user expectations and then they’ll make another huge marketing push. If they wait too much longer, though, they’ll have a tough row to hoe and may have waited too long.
JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.
The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.