I imagine there are written guidelines somewhere on how to conduct yourself on Twitter, but I haven’t read them and I don’t intend to. I’ve always believed in learning by doing and my first few weeks on Twitter have been an eye-opener. My conclusion — it’s all about agendas.
Fortunately, recognizing someone’s particular Twitter agenda is not that difficult. Just go back through their tweet history and a common thread will likely emerge.
Here are some examples of Twitter modus operandi I’ve witnessed so far:
1. Blog vomit
Twitterfeed will post your blog rss feeds to Twitter automatically and there are Twitter members that use the site purely for that reason. Personally, I see nothing wrong with that, but if you don’t invest some effort in following and conversing with like-minded Twitter members, you might as well be broadcasting to Mars, because no one will notice you.
2. It sucks to be you
I could spend all day watching these people’s tweets. The Buffies and Biffs can’t wait to let you know which expensive wine they just drank, the $1000 suit that had to be returned because it wasn’t up to snuff, and mentioning as many SEO Internet moguls as possible in their tweets, in the unlikely event some of the twinkle will magically rub off on them by osmosis.
3. American Gigolo/Gigoless
They only follow sexy avatars in the hopes of hooking up. Truth is, if you gathered most of these real people in a room, you’d have a Star Trek convention. No offense, I’m just saying.
4. Ain’t nuthin’ but a gold digger
There are Twitter snobs that feel Twitter was created for the sole purpose of hyping their online business. They generally do not converse with anyone who does not share their particular area of expertise. You can follow them, and they will follow you, but don’t expect a “good morning” from them any time soon. They are too busy figuring out ways to outdo the competition. A succubus if there ever was one.
5. Ladies and Gentlemen: Rodney Dangerfield
I call these the one-line-wonders. Posting tweets with a punchline and an imagined rim shot. Hey, I’m witty. Look at me. Problem is, if you take the chance on replying to one of these tweets, you get nuthin’ in return. It’s all one-sided. That’s why stand-up comedians are usually introverts.
6. Secret Squirrel
These are the voyeurs of the community. Seldom, if ever, exchanging dialogue — they just like to watch. Heaven forbid that anyone would actually talk to them — what response could they form? I imagine their lips are stitched shut like in some weird NIN video.
7. Welcome to my tent
It’s all about the numbers and the sheik eagerly welcomes you to his harem of followers with promises of interesting banter and witty repartee. So you click the “Follow” icon and wait. Success — he/she follows you in return. This looks promising. What generally happens, though, is Buffalo Bill flings you down the hole with the other followers, never to be heard from again. How many is too many? Only Precious knows for sure.
8. The Town Crier
If it weren’t for this guy, I’d never know what was going on in the world. A veritable fount of rss feeds from CNN, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, he’s got it down, man. As soon as news breaks, Ron Burgundy has tinyurl’d it, entered his commentary and tweeted it, at lightening speed. How does he do it? I don’t care — I just hope he doesn’t stop or I’d be a complete moron.
9. Tupperware party
I fall into this category, as do most Tweeple. You establish a comfortable group with whom you have regular conversations, albeit in 140 character segments. It’s fun, entertaining and you manage to pump up each others’ egos one tweet at a time. They read and comment on your tweets and blog posts, and vice-versa. You feed off of one another and there is little risk involved. Over time, however, this can get boring. That’s when you go searching for fresh meat, I mean new followers. It’s all good — it’s just part of the game.
10. Combo meal
The longer you frequent Twitter, the more likely you will find yourself developing more than one agenda. A multi-tasker, realizing that one can kill two or three birds with one tweet. Very efficient — managing to pimp your blog or website, spread viral headlines and videos, and flirt — in one perfect 140 character tweet (also referred to as a twoosh.) Barack Obama did it and so can you — achieve total Twitter nirvana.