Upon the occasion yesterday of Twitter buying Tweetdeck, it's time to ponder something that has intrigued me for some time: how my Twitter usage has evolved.
Not that the Social Media Insider column is always about me, but with all of the myriad Twitter clients out there -- and the evolution of the Twitter-verse itself -- I've been wondering over the last few weeks whether my experience is typical. If I had to sum it up, I'd say it like this: On the one hand, I'm not as into it as I once was. On the other hand, I'm more into it than I ever was. I'll explain, but, first, here are Catharine P. Taylor's six stages of Twitter use (dates approximate):
1. Sometime in 2007: Sign up for Twitter, follow one corporate account, and proceed to otherwise completely ignore it.
2. Nine or so months later: Start to check it out more and tentatively begin tweeting. Add Twitter handle to most of the posts I write.
3. About three months later: Link my Twitter and Facebook accounts so that my tweets show up both places.
4. Sometime in 2009: Download Tweetdeck, and practically abandon Twitter.com, because Tweetdeck makes me much more attuned to not only what's going on in the Twitter-verse, but my place in it. (This also leads to a temporary, debilitating, bit.ly addiction, as I can't stop checking out who is tweeting my posts.)
5. About a year ago: Finally get around to decoupling my Twitter and Facebook accounts because, though the two communities overlap, a lot of my Facebook friends have no use for my diatribes, about, how, for instance, my Twitter use has evolved.
6. Last six months: Get supremely busy with projects and start turning to Twitter content aggregators for a fast morning read on what links the people I follow are sharing. Not tweeting as much. (Conversely, start using Facebook more because more and more friends use it.)
Your usage may vary, but I'm wondering what all this says about me and Twitter. You could analyze the above and say that my interest peaked at around stage #4 and is now ebbing, but it's more nuanced than that. Part of my recent change in use is because of an abnormally hectic schedule. The more I have to do, the less likely I am to check Twitter.
Another reason my habits have changed is that, while I never subscribed to the theory that you should follow every non-bot that follows you, when you're following more than 450 people, well, it gets a little hard to separate wheat from chaff. That's where the aggregators come in. They are indispensable for someone who needs to know what the headlines of the day are in their industry. A good aggregator will not only tell you that Zynga is probably going public, but also tell you how popular the sharing of individual links, and stories, was. It's really hard for me to start the day, both professionally and personally, without knowing what's going on out there. Maybe this shouldn't include the details of Lady Gaga's interview with David Letterman, but that's something to ponder another time.
And then there's the Facebook phenomenon. With only so much time to waste in a day, does the huge growth of Facebook mean it sucks the life out of everything else?
So, how has your Twitter usage changed? Are you using it more, less, or differently?
(OMMA Social New York is happening on June 9. Check out the agenda here.)