Twitter has risen quite quickly over past few the years into something of a social phenomenon. Its attraction is mysterious to some and obvious to others, however we all have our own ideas on what Twitter is useful for.
This disparate set of ideas has created several types of Twitter user, each have their own contributions to the wider community; however some are more valuable than others. Try to see if you can figure out which pigeon hole you belong in.
This type of user can be easily identified as they are probably the most common type of user. Their defining characteristic is their ability to frequently tweet about anything that pops into their head. They will share articles if one catches their attention but their idea of twitter is that is a fun community to belong to. They often talk to other twitter users and will gladly retweet anything they find amusing or interesting.
The perceived value of this type of user is probably quite low as they don’t share much content and very rarely care about increasing their followers by doing so - however they are the beating heart of the community. Their tweets are a window into their minds and many of them often have insightful comments and funny things to say. Those with effervescent personalities can find themselves becoming very popular indeed.
Sadly this type of user is all-too-common, they simply don’t get twitter at all and generally use it to post rubbish like “OMG that sandwhich was awesome”. They also seem to lack the mental capacity to realise when something should not be said and often post tweets that are either utterly meaningless or just plain embarrasing. Lindsay Lohan and Katie Price are prime examples of this type of user, as is almost every rapper in America.
Short of the high amusement factor, their value is zero, these people are the type of people who count ‘watching Eastenders’ as a hobby and will actually tweet things like “BAM! BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!” (That was from the refined and intellectual mind of miss Lindsay Lohan by the way). They quite literally have nothing of interest to say and usually their ego’s are so high they never realise it.
These guys are commonly known as the Twitter power-users, their main goal on twitter is to gain exposure, usually in an effort to garner a position of respect and authority from other users. They will often share articles and retweet others they consider authoritative figures. Many of these users are often in marketing of some sort and use Twitter as part of their strategy. Many celebrities also fall into this category.
If T-witterers are the heart of the community, these guys are the backbone, their tweets nearly always have some interest and are generally followed by those who are interested in whatever niche they tweet about. Sometimes they do not even need to share articles, as the tweets themselves are great sources of information or inspiration.
These users enjoy using twitter much in the same way as T-witterers, however they are casual users, they very rarely use a twitter app and most of their posts are very similar to status updates eg: “Just found out, I got the job! :D”. They almost never retweet or share articles, they think a hashtag is something you get with a fried breakfast and you maybe see one or two tweets from them a week.
Pretty much zero, they rarely have many followers (which tends to exacerbate the issue) and usually give up on Twitter after a month or so, dismissing it as pointless. That is not to say that all of them lack value, sometimes something will suddenly click in them and they will finally ‘get’ twitter and become one of the other types. These guys are the ‘stem cells’ of Twitter.
There are not really any notable users for this type as they are tremendously hard to find, there are a few who probably would blossom into great users if they started to see its value so should you find any I urge you to start following them to offer encouragement:
Companies and websites
I couldn’t think of a better name for this one so this will have to do. A large part of Twitters value comes from websites sharing the content of themselves and others, they are very rarely managed by a real person and even when they are you don’t see any personal tweets. The accounts exist purely to share content.
Despite not offering anything in terms of community, they often find themselves with a tremendously high follow count. This is because many users (myself included) use them as an RSS feed of sorts. Most of these ‘users’ share specific types of articles so followers can be pretty confident of seeing interesting information from that feed.
Although twitter started out as merely a micro-blogging platform and in many ways, remains so today, other users have extended twitters usage to provide some truly useful tools and services, from simple picture sharing sites, URL shortening and tracking trending topics. In fact may of Twitters core features such as Retweeting began life as community created extensions of the tweet. Once twitter opened up its API these tools began to come in thick-and-fast.
It is difficult now to see the value of Twitter at all without these tools, retweeting has now become such a common practice for sharing articles and tweets it is amazing it wasn’t something they thought of themselves.
Have we missed any twitter types? Do you think you fit in to one of the above? Feel free to discuss it in the comments.