Twitter is simple. Twitter posts contain a maximum of 140 characters. Posts can be witty, coy, or simple lead-ins to links. I’m currently operating two twitter accounts; in my experience I’ve witnessed a number of different types of Twitter users. I argue that there are three types of sophisticated users: the Engagers, the Feeders, and the Observers. This observation comes from several months of using Twitter every day. I remain open to new user classifications.
The Engagers have tended to be the more sophisticated, web savvy, early adopter types. These people are the pioneers, who have paved the way for the rest of the folks on Twitter. Even though they have paved the way, I’m not sure they will remain long enough to shape the future of this specific tool. This question should be left for another day. The Engagers are folks like Kristie Wells, President and Founder of Social Media Club.
The Feeders are organizations or people representing organizations, such as Guy Kawasaki, who use Twitter as a feed to blog articles, websites or news articles. In the words of Kawasaki: “I repeat a handful of my tweets because I don’t assume that all my followers are reading me 24 x 7 x 365. This is the same reason that ESPN and CNN repeat the same news stories (without updates, simply identical reports) throughout the day.” News organizations, companies, and government entities all fall into this category.
The Observers are the final group. This category consists of everything from the casual user – who tweets once a week – to the regular user who comments on social, cultural, political or entertainment trends. This category consists of both light-hearted Twitter users as well as users with a more deliberate cause, such as political demonstrators in Tehran. Observer users can reach very different results, as 28 year old Justin Halpern recently learned.
Currently, I am tweeting from two different names for two very different reasons. On one name, I represent Allied Media Corp. on twitter as primarily a Feeder. I’m increasingly trying to move this name into an Engager role in order to reach potential clients and other interested parties. On another name, I am an observer – but am attempting to grow into an Engager’s role. In which category do you find yourself or your organization?
These categories lead me to several other questions. Some of these others have asked recently. Is Twitter a search tool or is it a form or social media? Are Twitter lists appropriate? Will categories matter as demographics change?