Admit it. You’re in one of these stages right now, and if you’re reading this blog or following social media people like me you are probaby at least in the second stage or beyond. Or maybe you’re still in the first stage but curious and stubborn enough to stick it out. What I’ve discovered after countless conversations and Twitter coaching sessions that people generally fall into one of four stages of Twitter acceptance.
1. I don’t get it. This is stupid. Why would anyone care about this?
This is generally the most common reaction people have when they first see Twitter. The shortened links, the hashtagged conversations and the abbreviated language can be confusing and nonsensical at first. One comment I often hear is “why would anyone care what I had for breakfast” or “who cares that you went to the bathroom.” These are people who’ve tried Twitter and didn’t understand it, or haven’t tried it at all.
2. I get it, but I don’t know what to do with it.
These are people who can vaguely see the value but aren’t sure how to capitalize on it. They aren’t sure who to follow and what content is out there and how to make sense of it. This is a stage users can be stuck in for a long time. Twitter’s made some improvements in their platform to help these folks, like the “suggestions for you” service that came out a few months ago, and the sidebar in the new Twitter that allows users to view bios without leaving their own page. Still, traditions like #FollowFriday and ReTweets escape them. Out of all the registered users, the best estimates are that 30% are actually using the service regularly. This fact tells me that 70% are stuck in either stage 1, or stage 2.
3. I think I get it now!
This is when a user typically starts checking Twitter regularly from their mobile device or computer, and often starts interacting with their followers. This is the stage when they start paying attention to their followers and the people they are following, and often begin dropping those not adding value to their feed and following more of those that do.
4. I can’t live without it
People typically move through stage three pretty quickly and on to this stage, where they are creating their own personal brand, forming relationships, and relying on the twitter feed for most of their news, entertainment, research and information sharing. Life is good. Once you’ve reached this stage there’s no going back. You understand the value of Twitter for business and for personal use, and you have sudden urges to tweet whenever an important thought crosses your mind. If you don’t have a mobile device at this stage you’ll start wishing you did.