Twitter Takes A Breather

After experiencing torrid growth during the first months of the year, Twitter took a breather in May. According to new comScore data released today, Twitter had 17.6 million U.S. visitors in May, which is only 3.5 percent increase from the 17 million U.S. visitors comScore registered in April. One month does not make a trend, but this is a screeching slowdown from the 82 percent month-over-month growth Twitter had in April and 131 percent growth in March. Recent Compete data also points to a similar slowdown in growth.

These are just U.S. numbers. (ComScore measured 32 million unique visitors worldwide in April). But up until now Twitter’s global growth rate has closely followed its U.S. growth rate. Remember, these numbers only reflect visitors to, not the actual number of registered or active users, which is much less. By one count, Twitter had about 11.5 million registered accounts in May. And probably about half of all consumption of Twitter messages occurs in mobile and desktop clients such as Tweetie and Tweetdeck, which comScore doesn’t capture.

The past few months, more and more traffic was driven to Twitter as politicians, TV journalists, celebrities and cute cats discovered the service and promoted it. Many people visited Twitter out of curiosity and maybe never returned. The measure of Twitter’s success will be how many of those grazers become active users. A short-term breather is to be expected after the astounding growth Twitter went through earlier this year. But if Twitter can’t convince mainstream users to make it a daily habit, this one-month breather could turn into a longer stretch where the service tries to find its natural audience.

What do you think, has Twitter peaked?