Yet another post about Twitter’s much studied demographics. Like most cool, new (or newly mainstream) things people want to define it. To study it. To dissect it like a hapless amphibian and figure out if by looking inside we can understand it as a whole.
We’ve heard about the 60% drop off rate (which means that a 40% stay, which is still pretty damn good and there is no metric for people who come back in a couple months) and now we’re hearing that the majority of people don’t tweet, but use Twitter as a source of information:
Although this may sound strange at first, Twitter really is more like Wikipedia than, say, Facebook. Twitter is not so much about connecting with your friends, it’s about broadcasting information. Although it doesn’t necessarily take much creativity to create a tweet, only the most creative users actually persist in tweeting every day over a longer time period. However, Twitter is also similar to a instant messaging tool, which should have a very different curve, with a larger proportion of users contributing to the number of overall tweets. It seems that Twitter’s micropublishing component is winning over its chatting component.
ink: Twitter is Not Your Average Social Network
Wow, you think? Twitter is one of those tools that is almost completely flexible. You can use it to gather info, send info, chat, read, discuss. There aren’t “rules”, per se, on how to get the most out of Twitter, but there are some tricks that help you get the most out of Twitter more quickly.
- Follow news feeds like CBC, BBC, CNN, ZDNet, etc. These tweet feeds give you great value with little effort. You’re not going to get a firehose of information, just a nice steady flow.
- Group the people you follow. Regardless of whether you use Nambu, TweetDeck, PeopleBrowsr, or Mixero you need to put people into bins in order manage the flow. I “follow” about 5700 people, but can only really track a fraction of them. I group friends, news feeds, colleagues, and TwitFic into separate groups. This gives things context and focus.
- Find your friends and affinity groups on Twitter. It’s a lot easier to use Twitter when you can “listen” to people you know. Most people I know who left Twitter and later came back, left because there was no one there and came back because their friends were there.
I flip through my Twitter channels to keep an eye on things. I add and remove people from groups to tune the info. Yes, I spend a lot of time with this, but you don’t have to. You aren’t likely to follow 5700 people, so your challenges won’t be like mine. Find the people than topics you’re interested in, read, listen, retweet, reply, then you’ll start to feel connected.
Twitter can be great or boring. Twitter really is what you make of it.