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October 27, 2010 / zachfarley

How Twitter Can Use Video Gaming to Improve Retention Rate!

Video Gaming is a unique experience where interaction with the surronding world is required.  After coming out of a long gaming session, you have to re-enter the surrounding reality and say woah, how long did I just play? (Minecraft anyone?)

The reason is because the gaming companies develop their games this way.

My design for Twitter's "over capacity" screen

Each game starts with a tutorial to get you acquainted with the controls and how to use them to manipulate your surroundings and become fully immersed in the world. You then start as a weak player with only low level abilities and items. However, you are facing opponents on the same level and advance quickly, which keeps your mouth watering for more. If you started out with nothing and had to fight the hardest boss in the game, you wouldn’t keep playing for too long would you?

Twitter Orphan Accounts –

On Twitter, over 60% of accounts are abandon within the first month. Maybe a user just signed up to get a coupon and never started engaging people. Perhaps they decided this platform wasn’t for them and would rather spend their time on other mediums.

When I see a twitter link on a website, I always click just to check out HOW they are using the service. Are they simply auto posting links, are they engaging in conversation or have they abandoned it completely?
I would rather not see a  link to a page at all, then click it and find 2 followers, 6 followed, 3 tweets – which were automated from 3 months ago. If you don’t understand the platform, that is okay, but why broadcast it as a feature on the site? Keep it underground for a bit and see if it’s for you. There is almost no wrong way to use twitter, (other than spamming) but neglecting it is as useless, if not worse, than not having an account.

Friends on Twitter –
When friends from home or your parents make an account because they hear you talk about it all the time, how many stick with it? You have to guide them along slowly, leveling them up much like leveling up a video game character. Perhaps you introduce them via @ to some of your followers. Give them a little tutorial on direct messages vs @ messages and what an RT is. They start out slowly with 0 friends, 0 followers and a empty page or world. If they level up too slow and see other people with 1,000’s of followers they become discouraged and think I will never get there. If they don’t see some instant gain and start engaging, they are likely to become part of the 60%!

My Solution: Have Twitter offer a starter pack! If you signed up via the Patriots website, your feed would come preloaded with the top 10 bloggers in the category. Mike Reiss, Ian Rapaport and Albert Breer would be automatically loaded into your feed. You would have a tutorial related to following game events and learn how to search for “Patriots” to see what people are saying in real time!
If you selected a “Gaming” profile, you would be loaded with IGN, Gamespot and a few of the underground sites that really engage on the platform. Instead of following games, you could get reviews and learn how to search your favorite game to hear what people are talking about. You are so much more likey to jump in when people are talking about something you have a passion for and you can say either ME TOO, Or wait a second, that game doesn’t stink, its awesome!

Why This Is Big:

One reason I love twitter is the following of sports events and information, it is tremendous to paint pictures of a game and engage in live conversations. When Lebron made his legendary decision to “take his talents to South Beach” my feed exploded! Whether you are watching the game or just following from afar, this is a great tool. Then you would have people checking there twitter constantly, maybe not engaging, not yet, BUT it would keep them logged in and learning until they are ready to speak in the 140 character language known as a tweet.

Remember, Gaming has shown the model to keeping gamers interested and engaged by leveling them up quickly and keeping their focus on the platform. Twitter takes too long to build up a following and make it feel like it has any value. Reducing the 60% abandon rate is essential to the success of twitter and implementing a faster way to “level up” would help more users stick around!

Did someone guide your twitter use? Did you almost give up? When did you know you would stick with Twitter?


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