Ten Twitter Types
January 31, 2013
As with any technology, different people use Twitter differently. Forbes breaks this diversity down into “The 10 Types of Twitterers and How to Tame Their Tweets.” To set the stage, writer Steve Faktor explains why it is a mistake to label Twitter a social network:
“Though it looks social, it’s more hyperactive than interactive. Of the billions of tweets sent, 71% get no response, only 36% are worth reading, and a majority is generated by a tiny fraction of users. Twitter is a personal announcement system that captures the collective pulse of a world screaming for attention – or revolution, or discounts, or Kanye. Twitter is a tiny, evolutionary step towards a ‘global mind’. Making sense of that mind has spurred a gold rush of mind-readers trying to sell you shovels, pans, and a donkey.”
With that, the article launches into the Twitter-type descriptors. On one end of the scale, you have what Faktor colorfully calls the “undead,” those 60 percent of accounts that were created but remain inactive. “Organizations,” large corporations that Faktor calls Twitter’s big spenders like Starbucks and Zappos, are at the other end. It seems that most businesses, though, have so far failed to recoup big bucks this way. In the middle are such characters as “chirpers,” “scouts,” and “stars.” It is worth reading through his astute descriptions.
The write-up also lists three types of incentives that motivate tweeters: The tangible, like discounts or job leads; the perceived, psychological rewards like respect or convenience; and the informational, actionable data that feels rewarding. Will other incentives manifest? Twitter is still an evolving medium, and its use is a continuing experiment. I wonder what a list of user types will look like five or ten years from now.
Cynthia Murrell, January 31, 2013