For the great unwashed (translation – non Twitter users) you should know what types of people are out there in the Twitterverse and what they do. For the initiated we need to identify what type we are (honestly) and work hard to marginalize and eradicate the twoise (twitter noise). You can call it Twam (Twitter spam) or just plain crap I don’t care really. I have noticed recently though that I have developed a real hair twigger on whether I follow someone or not. If I see the slightest indication of dumb use of Twitter I quickly cleanse my ‘following’ list (call it a twenema if you feel so inclined). To put it bluntly I’ve already had enough of the twap (Twitter crap) that is becoming more prevalent on a twaily (a day in Twitter time) basis.
Here are my ideas of profiles, or TwitterTypes of various Twitter users and some commentary I have not read any other takes on this idea (although I am SURE they exist) so if this is not original enough I apologize. Remember folks, there is NOTHING new under the sun. I suspect that many people will exhibit some qualities of many different groups (that’s call being twizophrenic) and that’s fine. The science of Twicology (Twitter psychology) is developing. Maybe I’ll be considered the Sigmund Freud of this field. All TwitterTypes and their associated behavior can be traced back to unresolved issues with your parents. Twust me, it’s twue.
- Hunter: Is a prolific follower and most replies are a veiled pitch for something. This is the sales guy who thinks he is actually not obvious. Sales people are pretty delusional and not nearly as aware as they think. This user is an annoyance at worst but useful at best. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. Use discretion and call them out on their obvious pitches. Shame them into appropriate Twittiquette. Oh and if you like the wind up and the pitch then buy something and get the economy rolling again.
- Gatherer: Is using Twitter for research. Probably follows more than participates but is harmless in the long term. While they may never add tremendous value to the community they also don’t hurt it. These are the 80% of folks that are the middle of any bell curve. Not a problem and not sensational. Doesn’t really matter what you do with them because they barely exist in Twitterville.
- Broker: These are serial retweeters. They pass along information to feel important. Sometimes they actually may be important if they pass along good stuff. If they are an individual doing it they have more value than the aggregators and redistributors of information which is a bit annoying in its own right. You make the call on whether to deal with these folks or not. Some are like serial e-mail forwarders. They may be people you like but you wish they would do something original for once. Draw them out and ask them to give an opinion or two beyond their reintroduction of the rehashed information.
- Lurker: Follows everyone and adds nothing to the conversation. When I see stats that show someone is following thousands and replies are in the double digits I immediately get tweeped out. This is the online version of a budding sociopath. Be afraid….be very afraid. I think these folks are looking for something they can game or steal. I am probably over reacting here but I’m a blogger, what do you expect?
- HornTooter: Self promoters in an obnoxious way. One of the worst offenses in life whether it’s in person or online involve these people who think that they are so good and interesting that they have to tell us about it ad nauseum. Puh-leeze. If you’re good I’ll figure it out you don’t have to tell me. I think it’s fair to refer to this type as a Twidiot. You don’t like these people in person and since they are even more brazen online it obvious that this is not the kind of stuff you need to clutter your day with. Stop following them and maybe say something to them as a parting shot (Sorry, that was mean but it felt good to write).
- Cellphoner – I call them this because they conduct personal back and forth mindless chatter in public for all of us to read just like the guy in line at the coffee shop who is not afraid to let you hear his cell phone conversation about his exploits the night before. What kind of evil endings do you wish on these types? I say we need to feel sad for these people. I suspect they are ignored in regular life but think that we actually care on Twitter. Word to the wise – we don’t. In person give them the evil eye and move on. On Twitter give them the Twitter eye and move on.
- Twitizen – This is the rarest of birds in the Twitterverse. This is the person who gets information, passes it along in the right amounts, comments to add value, listens and remains humble. Like perfection in life these don’t really exist in a pure sense but there are flashes of balance from some. A model citizen of Twitterland will show balance that always implies use and not abuse of the tool. This is what we should all aspire to because this will lead to growth for everyone the Twitizen influences.
To be fair I would say that outside of the Lurker I think I have exhibited qualities of all of these at one time or another. As long as we are looking to become a model Twitizen I think we’ll all be OK. I’m sure you have some ideas on types I missed. Remember, this is a fledgling field of study so we can all contribute.
FT Takeaway: Twitter is like anything else. There are all kinds of people out there with all kinds of intentions when using this tool. We will all have different tolerance levels and opinions. That’s what makes this social media stuff work. You can make of it what you want. Gotta love the internet.