Types of Birds on Twitter and How to Be an Eagle

by Jason Mitchner - follow him at @jasonmitchener

I just received yet another tweet urging me to be a magpie and advertise other people’s products through my tweets. Since I don’t want to be a magpie, I started wondering what other types of birds are on Twitter. Let’s take a look …

Types of Birds on Twitter

penguins.jpgPenguin – Scientists often consider penguins to be one of the most social of bird species. Penguin Tweeps are incredibly social. Almost all of their tweets are replies to people and they treat Twitter like a chat room.

Steller’s Jay – The Steller’s Jay is one of the noisiest birds around. Steller’s Jay Tweeps talk constantly. If you check the profile page of a Steller’s Jay Tweep, he has only been on Twitter for three months but already has over 10,000 tweets.

Peacock – The male peacock loves to show off its beautiful plumage. Peacock Tweeps love to show off, too. Most of their tweets are about themselves. They always tweet about their latest blog post or their latest product or what they ate for lunch.

Vulture – Vultures are ugly scavengers who feed on sick or dead animals. Vulture Tweeps are spammers who follow thousands of people just waiting for them to follow back so they can send the one tweet about a web site or an e-book on how to earn thousands of dollars a day on the internet.

Parrot – Many species of parrots can talk by repeating what humans say. Parrot Tweeps are known for repeating the tweets of others, called retweeting (indicated by RT at the beginning of the message).

Dodo – The dodo was a flightless bird that has been extinct since the 17th century. If you look at a Dodo Tweep’s profile page, his last tweet was six months ago. He joined Twitter for whatever reason and then just disappeared.

Mockingbird – Mockingbirds imitate insect and amphibian sounds and even other birds’ songs. Mockingbird Tweeps set up Twitter accounts and pretend to be celebrities. Their tweets are often humorous and usually it’s obvious they are fake. Examples include @hugh_jackman and @FakeSarahPalin.

Wild Turkeys – Wild turkeys are ugly but amazingly agile runners and can even fly for 200 to 400 yards. Wild Turkey Tweeps are people who never replaced the default Twitter photo but are actually cool people to follow.

There are a lot of types of birds on Twitter, but how do we become eagles?

Traits of Eagles and Eagle Tweeps

eagle.jpg

  • Eagles build their nests high up in trees. Eagle Tweeps keep above what I call the “trash talk” of Twitter. They don’t get involved in gossip or arguments. They also don’t tweet racist or sexist remarks.
  • Eagles are strong. Eagle Tweeps are resilient. They don’t let criticism faze them. They are also positive despite seemingly negative circumstances.
  • Eagles have exceptional vision. Eagle Tweeps keep an eye out for interesting tweets and notice when people ask them questions. I remember when I mentioned something about @chrisbrogan. He immediately noticed and gave a nice reply despite the fact that he has over 30,000 followers.
  • Eagles have a long lifespan and can live up to 30 or 40 years in the wild. Eagle Tweeps will stick around for a long time. They know the benefits of Twitter and will keep on tweeting.
  • Eagles know where to find their food so they live near water. Many Eagle Tweeps follow other Eagle Tweeps because they know they will have a steady flow of inspiration and good information.
  • Eagles are majestic birds and serve as an inspiration to many people. Eagle Tweeps inspire us in many ways. They can tweet incredible quotes. They can point us to fantastic articles. Or quite often, just being who they are inspires us.
  • Eagles soar. Eagle Tweeps soar in number of followers because they are Eagle Tweeps.

Not every person has to be an Eagle Tweep. Penguin Tweeps can be pretty cool too. And so can Parrot Tweeps and Wild Turkey Tweeps.

What other types of birds are on Twitter? And what type of bird are you?

Comments

  • January 17, 2009

    I love these kind of analogies.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of vultures out there. I want to be an eagle.

    Great advice.

  • January 17, 2009

    Hawaiian Nene – Big, beautiful, endangered!

  • January 17, 2009

    Rocking post!
    “Eagles soar”, most important ;)

  • January 17, 2009

    Nicely done. I love the classes. I’m probably a penguin, but every so often soar up with the eagles. There are the same sorts of archetypes in blogging (or any group interactions). I wonder two things:

    1) Do people have one type on Twitter, a second on blogs and a third in commenting on other blogs?

    2) What does the future hold for RSS readers when Twitter and FF target the same audiences?

    George

  • January 17, 2009

    Great article and very funny :) I’m not even a bird yet, I think I’m still an egg. I’d like to be an eagle, but I may growth into a female peacock.

  • January 17, 2009

    Thanks for this. Not only I learn something, especially from the bullet points above, but this is also entertaining. TwiTip needs more posts of this kind.

    Btw, I’m mostly a parrot and a bit of penguin. ;)

  • January 17, 2009

    You forgot the Ostrich tweeps! they are flightless, they are always watching the other tweets but they usually dig their heads in the sand when any slight attention it directed towards them (despite this is not why a real Ostrich will dig its head in the sand). So they are here following lots of eagles, penguins, parrots or even wild turkeys but they are only followed by few birds! and they hardly post any updates at all! lol

  • January 17, 2009

    Wow some amazing comparison of Tweeter to birds. Great analysis work done here.
    though i consider myself as a mixture of Parrot and Penguin but would like to become an Eagle ;)

  • January 17, 2009

    This is a fascinating analogy. I must admit that I wouldn’t know if Wild Turkeys are cool people to follow or not because I don’t normally follow people with the default image.

    Some people must be owls because they only come out at night. And there must be a bird that matches the characteristics of those secretive folk who protect their tweets.

    I think I am a penguin with a few eagle-like tendencies. But my followers may think differently :)

  • January 17, 2009

    Hi Darren,

    This is hilarious! I almost fell off my chair when I got to the Dodo. Of course I aspire to be an Eagle but right now I’m still learning about blogging and tweeting, which makes me… a CHICK! ;)

  • January 17, 2009

    I can be a bit of a peacock. It’s been my struggle in life. But I love to follow eagles.

  • January 17, 2009

    Excellent article. Not only did I learn about Twitter users, I learned lots of great things about birds. I think you might add Chicken to this list – I am a bit of chicken when it comes to engaging with people I don’t know – but I am not sure if Chickens (the birds) are really chicken (the slang). Any thoughts?

  • January 17, 2009

    This is a great guest post and I can’t believe someone didn’t use birds as an example before. Thanks for sharing I”ll be tweeting this later as it’s a great read for any twitter enthusiast!

    Oh and TGIF!

  • January 17, 2009

    I like the creative similes you came up with, Darren. I follow several of each kind, I believe. When I first started on twitter about a year ago, I couldn’t keep up with the traffic the penguins and steller’s jays were creating. So I unfollowed some of them, only to follow them back later because they added value to my twitter experience.

    I think I’m a part penguin. I’m also a bit parrot, because I like to retweet my friends’ blog posts, just to be helpful. And I’m striving to become an eagle.

  • January 17, 2009
    Anonymous

    I have to say, this post is really well written describing the animals and twitter. Lol. Very nicely written post.

  • January 17, 2009

    I love this post, and it is some comparison that I don’t read everyday. At times I am a parrot and at times a penguin – if someone strikes a conversation with one of my tweets!

    Perhaps the most annoying bird to me is the Stellar Jay. I have some Twitter friends who tweet their complaints online too often and when I read those, that negativity also affects me in a way. I just really wish they change their ways and tweet interesting stuff instead.

  • January 17, 2009

    Nailed It – Excellent stuff and oh so true!

    Love the Penguins and Eagles and learning to fly clear of the Vultures.

    I’ve seen this RT’d many times, so you must know a lot of Parrots!

  • January 17, 2009

    Personally, I don’t want to be another type of bird. I like being a chick. ;-)

  • January 17, 2009

    I’ve encountered the magpie requests, too. Magpies are considered chatterboxes and indiscriminate hoarders. Maybe some on Twitter are like that.

  • January 17, 2009

    I love the way you did this post… extreamly clever and well thought out.

    The Dodo made me laugh! Here one day gone the next…. Genius.

  • January 17, 2009

    So I am a Parrot with some Peacock feathers standing in a group of penguins while I dream of being an eagle? great.. ;-)

  • January 17, 2009
    Robyn Durst

    I’m a bit of a penguin, striving to be an eagle. Thanks for the great post!

  • January 17, 2009

    Great Stuff… very contemplative! “Fly Like an Eagle!”

    I think the mockingbirds are lame in my opinion; although @girlkawasaki does have the best name!

  • January 17, 2009

    What a great analogy! I’m a bit of a peacock mixed with Penguin and a little Eagle ~ moving toward more Eagle :) Thanks!

    Jackie

  • January 17, 2009

    Love this post. LOL’d at the bottom of the post when an ad comes up for those spikey gutter pigeon barriers with the title “Bird Control Products” !

  • January 17, 2009

    nice post. interesting take on the matter

  • January 17, 2009

    Interesthing

  • January 17, 2009

    Now that the Arizona Cardinals have made the NFL playoffs I think that they should be included in the list :)

  • January 17, 2009

    What a wonderfully-original article. Great simile’s here, looking forward to seeing more!

  • January 17, 2009

    how abt the owl? the twitterers who never sleep! always online – always filling the timelines.

  • January 17, 2009
    Jason Taylor
    @jasondtaylor

    Loved the blog. I kept thinking Big Bird needs to be in this list. Big, clumsy, not quite sure what he’s doing, but truly enjoying life and ultimately helping others enjoy it too.

  • January 17, 2009

    @Twilight Fairy: I almost put the owl, but would’ve described them as people who tweet at night.

  • January 17, 2009

    @jason – yes I also thought that. but then that’s timezone dependent. my night could be ur day. so i omitted that. but we do need one bird which tweets all the time, totally addicted.

  • January 17, 2009

    @Twilight Fairy: That’s sort of the Steller’s Jay.

  • January 17, 2009

    Great analogy, I’m a bit of a penguin. How about the Magpie? http://www.dfg.ca.gov/viewing/magpies.html

  • January 17, 2009

    With my name the bird would seem obvious, but I actually consider myself kind of a Raven – pretty much omnivorous, somewhat clever, and with an eye for bright, shiny objects.

  • January 17, 2009

    @brian fidler: Since I’m a Phoenician … Go Cardinals! Cardinal Tweeps are underdogs that win.

    @Gia: As you see in the first sentence, magpies inspired the whole post.

  • January 17, 2009

    @Jason thanks my oversight, glad that you were inspired brilliant!

  • January 17, 2009

    Loved this article! I’m just hatching and just peeping around. Who wouldn’t want to be an Eagle – one of my favorite songs, “Fly like an eagle, let the spirit carry me … la la la. But maybe I’m a chicken.

  • January 17, 2009

    @Adele: I don’t think you’re a chicken. Baby eagle maybe. :)

  • January 17, 2009

    You forgot KINGFISHER rubbed and dubbed on cheap self promoted Paint shop job.

  • January 17, 2009

    Those were great! Reminds of one of my favorite sayings: How can I soar like an eagle when I work with turkeys.

  • January 17, 2009

    Hmmmmm … maybe a black-breasted puffleg? It’s one of the 50 rarest birds in the world. Black-breasted, due to my T-shirt collection. A rare bird, because I don’t seem to fit into these other categories, and I seem to prefer to not hang with large groups of *any* species. Oh, and the qualities I value seem to be pretty rare in most marketing people. I do know of a few other pufflegs, though; we do good work. ;-)

  • January 17, 2009
    Channa Connolly
    @bananachanna

    I love the add-on suggestions of “Owl” “Raven” and “Chicken”. I’m definitely an owl (catch up on twitter after my kids go to bed), and maybe part Raven (since I like swoop in and check out all the “shiny things” that other people post!), and am almost past my Chicken phase!

  • January 17, 2009

    Darren,

    I always try and have Steve Miller’s “Fly Like An Eagle” cranked while I’m on Twitter.

    John

  • January 17, 2009
    defcon_5
    @defcon_5

    Well done!

    Love the idea of adding a flightless bird (that’s still alive :-) . They watch, but the don’t participate.

    And the Chick! Is it an eaglet? A penguino? Fun to find out.

    Maybe the Ravens are the ones that repost Twitter links on their facebook page, or even their own Twitter accounts, without crediting the original poster… flying away with the shiny object. :)

  • January 18, 2009

    LOL! Creative and informative. LOVE this. I think I’m a combination of penguin, parrot, and stellar jay. I definitely treat Twitter like a chat room. I hope it doesn’t drive my followers insane!

  • January 18, 2009

    Great post..
    We cant forget about the Pigeon – Pigeons congregate in places they’re not welcomed.

  • January 18, 2009

    I love this article. I chose to be an eagle when I began with Twitter. I also love the following quotation which affirms all birds and songs and Twitter styles. May the variety continue!

    “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ~ Maya Angelou

  • January 18, 2009

    Definitely a Stellar Jay crossed with Owl and some Penguin mixed in. lol.

  • January 18, 2009

    Most people would laugh if I described myself as ‘incredibly social’, but most of my tweets are replies. So I suppose I’m a penguin. I’m just the quiet penguin in the corner.

    I noticed one group you didn’t mention…

    Robins – They seem cute on the outside, but they’re aggressive. They’ll attack other robins in their territory… including their own mate. Robin Tweeps can seem nice at first, but they regularly start fights with their followers and drive them away.

  • January 18, 2009

    I am miffed at the hijacking of ‘magpie’ for advertisers. Australian magpies are great, and would be a stellar kind of Tweeter to be! I think the advertising thing would be better named Seagull. …Flies in and craps all over the place…

  • January 18, 2009

    Was a Dodo for a bit until I started to understand it. Now I’m more of a Turkey. Once I have highspeed access (getting a site survey in the next couple weeks — cross the fingers) then maybe I’ll be able to work it up to a penguin or eagle. Its hard to get there when I can only connect at slow speeds for a few minutes at a time.

  • January 18, 2009

    @Lindy LOL I agree!

  • January 19, 2009

    Fun piece — I think I’m an egg too!

  • January 19, 2009

    I must be a headless chicken because my tweets are all over the place!

  • January 19, 2009

    I might be a falcon… or not. Not dominant but hoping to be useful.

  • January 19, 2009

    You forgot about pigeons. Seems to be millions of the buggers, they crap everywhere and get right on ones Tits (Blue ones of course).

    (Apologies to @YmPlanner, didn’t see your pigeon comment until just about to reply)

  • January 19, 2009

    @YourMortgagePlanner: Good call on pigeons.

    @Jeanie Marshall: Beautiful quote by Maya Angelou: Thank you.

    @Polenth: I like your Robin addition.

    @Katharine Robinson: Too funny about the headless chicken.

    @ilona: Falcons are beautiful birds.

  • January 19, 2009

    I love this. I have only been on for a short time but I have seen every one of these birds and some I can’t even begin to describe….yet. Thank you so much!!

    I am a Robin Bird

    1. One of the first to arrive and last to leave.
    2. You see me everywhere.
    3. I have the ability to scope out the surface of a person to see if there are any worms crawling around that I could savoure.
    4. I rule my roost.

  • January 20, 2009

    Brilliant analogy, Darren. I’m probably a penguin but aspire to be a eagle (I just love to fly!). Thanks for yet another great post ;-)

  • January 20, 2009

    Love the bird comparisons! Learned a lot from your birds.

    In real life Mynahs gather throughout their day to share information. Hoping my tweets emulate them.

  • January 20, 2009

    I’d rather be a Cardinal than an Eagle!

  • January 22, 2009
    nancy loftis
    @nlloftis

    Very nice but has me laughing as some friends try to worry waterfowl with paintball guns from speedboats. The birds figure it out faster than you might expect.

  • January 22, 2009

    I will never look at the tweets I receive in the same way again. I will spend way too much time trying to figure what type of bird they are. Actually, some of the tweets will be easy to identify by bird. I seem to have seen way too many Penguins and Stellar Jays at times.

    I would like to nominate the colorful Flamingo as one of the Twitter birds. The Flamingo was one of the most “viral” birds in the past. This description from Wikipedia will attest to that.

    “Pink plastic flamingos are one of the most famous of lawn ornaments, along with garden gnomes and other such ornamentation.

    The pink flamingo was designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone while working for Union Products, and has become an icon of pop culture, as well as a statement[1], and won him the Ig Nobel Prize for Art in 1996. It has even spawned a lawn greeting industry where flocks of pink flamingos are installed on a victim’s lawn in the dark of night. Plastic flamingos are widely considered to be the stereotypical example of lawn kitsch.[1]

    Union Products, of Leominster, Massachusetts, stopped production of pink flamingos on November 1, 2006. However, HMC International LLC, a subsidiary of Faster-Form Corporation, purchased the copyright and plastic molds of Featherstone’s original plastic flamingos in 2007, and will be resuming production of them in Westmoreland, New York.”

  • January 22, 2009

    @brian fidler: After Sunday’s game, I agree with you!

    @nancy loftis: Oh my!

    @Carol Ann Wiley: The flamingo is a good addition.

  • January 24, 2009

    It depends on my user profile! I am a peacock under my name–the account is just my blog posts for those interested in following them–and for media breaking news stories. Under my moniker, Ark Lady, I sometimes interact but usually luck. Edge Girl, well that is where I mostly post interesting finds for the blogsphere–so I am a morphing avian type depending on the day!

    Nice post. Interesting and right up my alley!

  • January 24, 2009
    Pokinatcha
    @pokinatcha

    I’m thinking I’m a Penguin.

  • February 8, 2009

    Jason, Great article! joe

  • March 16, 2009

    Avatar is an Eagle…but I can see me in many of them here!

    I DO Parrot alot….only due to the fact it is something GOOD and instead of being a thief like a Mockingbird can be, I parrot believing in Giving credit where credit is due.

    I guess I better work harder at becoming More like my Avatar!

  • April 23, 2009

    Thanks a lot, Jason. Great post. Only now I have this song stuck in my head by this very obscure little 70s folk band called Waterfall:

    Three birds are flying over Clifton
    The sparrow, the eagle and the dove
    Each one looking for the lady
    The swan-like lady of love

    My older brother couldn’t stop playing that album. I’m copying those lyrics from memory. Can’t find them anywhere on the internet. Not even on this very obscure website:
    http://website.lineone.net/~martyn.oram/bio.htm#waterfall

  • April 23, 2009

    Forgot to follow that up…

    Sparrows are people who don’t actually have accounts on Twitter, they just swing around on the public timeline.

    The dove is a love bird. Talks about how much he loves his wife/husband/kids/dog/cat or really anything else he wants to know the world he just loves. Male and female doves out there, of course.

    The swan is very much like an eagle, but what defines this bird most of all: he/she’s just really very pretty. Has photos of him/herself on the profile that make people green with envy.

  • April 27, 2009

    Nice article. I think I’m a bit of a penguin and Steller’s Jay but I like to share info a lot. I definitely want to be more Eagle-ish!

  • June 11, 2009

    Peacock with parrot tendencies… Rgds Vince

  • November 5, 2009

    good post – interesting perspective to take on tweeps.

  • December 31, 2009

    Phoenix… I prefer that, seriously.

  • December 31, 2009

    Great post! Love analogies- best way to explain; best way for people to learn. Most twitter tips talk “at” you; analogies “include” you. You’re an “Eagle” ;) esta

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