Me (@cpealet) And Twitter: Not the Same As It Used To Be

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.)

Tags: social media
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3 comments about "Me (@cpealet) And Twitter: Not the Same As It Used To Be ".
  1. Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures, LLC , May 26, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.

    I have followed your timely almost identically. I use FB much more than, and that is mostly in the personal side. I do check in with Twitter during the business day, but have really curtailed my evening and weekend usage.

  2. Barb Chamberlain from Washington State University Spokane , May 27, 2011 at 2:52 p.m.

    Similar arc, although I plunged into Twitter more quickly after signing up in summer 2008.

    I also coupled/decoupled FB and Twitter pretty rapidly thanks to pushback from FB friends. When I give workshops on social media I tell people never to couple the accounts. Dan Zarrella's stats make a convincing case for the frequency difference.

    I've recently started using Hootsuite to manage some accounts and find it helpful, but never much liked Tweetdeck (doesn't help that the app crashes on my Droid).

    I just "sip from the river" early morning and whenever I have a little down time waiting for a meeting to start or something, looking at the most recent tweets from whoever happens to be tweeting. This is admittedly pretty random, not strategic, but I enjoy the serendipity.

    I do still live tweet events and workshops--I don't "live FB" them because that would just be obnoxious--so Twitter still has more real-time/breaking news value for me as others do the same.

    My arc has an additional phase: Over-sharing in both spaces because Foursquare lets you post to both Twitter and FB. After the initial pointless tweets that just told you where I was, I "improved"--I'd waste time thinking about whether my location provided a reason to tweet or update, whether it was interesting to my FB friends or of value to Twitter followers, and post away.

    I'm not sure now why I keep checking in on 4sq; there aren't enough specials to be worth my while, although it's admittedly entertaining to be the mayor of my local city hall.

    I'm now at what may be the next stage in the arc: Do I open up my FB friend policy to be looser, similar to my wide-open Twitter practice? I just had a reporter ask to be my friend for my personal FB profile. Yes, I know him, but is my personal life now part of what I have to share to have a working relationship with a reporter? (I've tried using FB lists to sort out who sees what--I consider them a total pain at this point.)

    @BarbChamberlain

  3. Steve Schildwachter from rVue , May 27, 2011 at 3:48 p.m.

    Catharine, thanks for sharing your personal experience. Mine is almost exactly the same, including the calendar dates, except that I never did #5 because I never did #3. I wasn't visionary, it's just that I had no flood of co-workers friending me on Facebook.

    I am actually using Twitter more than ever, mainly because it's a great link to the media and marketing industry in general.

    Thanks again! -- Steve S.
    http://admajoremblog.blogspot.com/