In the middle of last year, Twitter's growth slowed from 7.8 million new users a month to 6.2 million, according to a recent study from RJ Metrics. That report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December -- an all-time low. An earlier study by the Nielsen Co. revealed 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next. Taking that into account, it's tempting to conclude that Twitter is following in the footsteps of another social-media ghost town, Second Life.
A difference between twitter and second life, is that twitter is ultra-public. People get mean there, but not for long, because it does more damage than good. In second life, the anonymous are either much better, or much worse, than they would ever allow themselves to be in public as their rl identities.
Twitter turns everyone into something akin to the slurry of snow and sand, and grit, that washes along the edges of city streets in late winter melting days. But the waves of pure personal hatred that second life exposes, twitter does not even begin to touch.