The Evolution of Twitter Use

Disclaimer: I am not saying that everyone evolves in the way described in this post.  However, I do believe it is a trend.

Here are the steps I believe many people go through

Stage 1: What the heck is this thing?  What a waste of time.  Most of the people on here are talking about nothing (or at least nothing of interest to me)

Stage 2: Why does everyone keep raving about Twitter?  Maybe I should take another look.  Hmm, I am starting to find some interesting people.  I will login periodically to check out what they have to say.

Stage 3: I am finding more and more interesting people to follow.  People are starting to follow me, too!  I find myself checking Twitter more and more often now.  I am using ________ (Fill in the blank with TweetDeck, Seesmic, TweetGrid, etc…) and it makes everything so much easier.

Stage 4: What fun it is to track how many people are starting to follow me.  I am now thinking about things I can Twitter throughout the day.  I check it and post several times a day and I am finding it hard to keep up with the flow of information.  I have found TwitterGrader to keep track of my progress.

Stage 5: This is getting to be too much of a drain.  I am going to have to be OK with the fact that some things will get posted that I will not see.  I have found hashtags.  They make it so much easier to just track topics of interest.  I am starting to use Twitter for my business and have found some tools like hootsuite that are very helpful.

Stage 6: Some of my hashtags are actually communities.  They have Twitter chats which take place weekly and all the members support each other.  TweetChat and twebevent are two apps that I use to take place in these community discussions.

Stage 7: I don’t watch my main Twitter stream at all now.  I am using _______ (TweetDeck etc..) to create saved searches and groups.  I have a few Tweeple subsets that I check their streams as a group.  Otherwise I just check hashtags and participate in Twitter Chats.  I am getting to be friends with several of the Tweeple in the Chats.  I have even phoned a few of them to share ideas.  They are all so knowledgeable and helpful.

Stage 8: You tell me.  What happens next?

Thanks to @samueljsmith for the recommendation to add a poll.  Here it is.  Share your Twitter Stage

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21 responses to “The Evolution of Twitter Use

  1. Hi Swan – I am heading to level 7 – if I am not there. You should create a poll to go with this. I would be interested in what others think – too.

    – Sam

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  3. Perhaps Stage 8 has more to do with Twitter content than behavior.

    Or… perhaps there’s a parallel evolutionary path regarding content. Many people initially tweet about trivial topics, and then one of two things happen: either they stop altogether, or they begin contributing and seeking out more meaningful information. I’d venture to guess those of us who are farther along the curve make frequent use Twitter as a professional tool for research and networking, whereas those in the early stages aren’t. Just a thought.

    Thanks for your excellent observations!

  4. @Gwen, great point about content being a parallel evolution. It may be harder to generalize a path for how that happens, but there is certainly change over time.

    – More links to more in-depth content
    – More content targeted for particular audiences
    – More value per Tweet
    – more RT’s of valuable content

  5. How about having multiple accounts – one to maximise “read”- the value of the main twitter stream by only following people of genuine interest – and one to maximise “reach” – the breadth with which you’re able to push out your content and messages.



  6. Agree with Boris
    8) Multiple Accounts to serve different purposes i.e. Marketing, Customer Service, Peer Networking, ‘Intelligence Gathering’, Personal etc
    9) Integrating twitter into your broader social media and business communications strategy
    10) Measuring tweet effectiveness against purposes and iterated fine tunning of tweet copy, links, RTs and links

  7. @Boris, I think what you are describing is covered by Stage 7. Once you are using subgroups rather than your main Twitter stream, it doesn’t matter how many people you follow and so you can utilize a strategy that gets you the most and/or best quality followers you can get.

    @Paul, Those are great ideas. I think measuring Twitter value is going to be a key one.

  8. I think you hit the early stages exactly right – skeptic, interested, addicted.

    We just decided to “prune” the group of people we follow from our company account because the amount of updates made it so overwhelming that no one actually listened to the community unless they were talking about us. We realized this was less than ideal and we were missing the chance to learn from people.

    We could have set up a group using tweetdeck (or perhaps the forthcoming lists feature) and just listened to that “group”, but that had the disadvantage of not being easily shared, not collaboratively edited, and not mobile.

    So now we’re starting a phase where we’ve shrunk the size of the stream with the intention of consuming it all. Hope this works better.

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  14. Currently I would have to go with Other: Microblogger. I use @foldberg1 as a place to get information (I only follow a handful of people) as well as broadcast content either from my site or any number of other ones. I interact with my audience using the @ feature and nothing more. Working well so far for me, I may start following more people in the future but for now I enjoy microblogging through twitter.

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  20. What’s old is new… Twitter still seems to be hanging in there. Great overview on stages of twitter use/interaction. I dig it.

  21. Thx for the kudos Sean.

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