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Why People Twitter - in one word

The other day I sat down to write something about Twitter. I struggled with my thoughts, threw some words down, and came up with a question: “Why are you twittering?" I knew the answer people would give. I know Twitter, and I know the type of people who tweet. I know why my husband is on his iPhone flipping through tweets at 1:30 a.m. He insists on reading every tweet from every person he follows. Personally, I'm guilty of recently tweeting after midnight with a couple of people who tweet for major newspapers. So I know my husband and I are not the only ones afflicted with this social addiction.

Then I had a thought. Perhaps other people could confirm what I already knew. So I sent out the following tweet:

 

 

The responses were significant. People were passionate about their answers and wanted to be counted. One person DMd me seven times. She kept coming up with better words to express her passion. Actually, one of her suggestions was “addiction,” and maybe for her it really is.

The most popular reasons I received: People and Information.
 
People
Other words used: friends, connect, connecting and connectivity, camaraderie, companionship, hardcorestatusupdating, networking, relationships, audience, outreach, community, ewatercooler, engagement, rapport, and outreach.

Garnering nearly one-third of the votes, this was the most popular reason people gave for Twittering. This proves once again about the importance of human connections.

Information
Other words used: news, brainfuel, newsdrip, instant-info, infoshare, data, and insight.

This second most popular category received less than one-fourth of the votes. This surprised me. I really thought more people would be in it for the news and information. That's why my husband is reading in the middle of the night when he can't sleep. He follows several newspapers and other news organizations.

The next seven reasons/responses received less than 10 votes each, in the following order, starting with the most popular:

Learning
Other words used: listen, education, research, and scoop.

Conversation
Other words used: communication and dialogue.

Fun
Other words used: entertainment, humor, and diversion

Voyeurism
Other words used: G2 (military shorthand for intelligence), nosy, and curiosity.

Job
Other words used: job-hunt.

Inspiration
Other words used: none

Then there were a bevy of words mentioned only once and not fitting any of the above categories:
Speed, spontaneity, stimulant, strategy, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, thrive, tonic, tool, tweet, value, variety, vital, life, whisper, ADD, access, addiction, America, attention, BFF, notoriety, omniscient, opinion, perspective, PR, fortune, clients, collaboration, hoping, procrastination, you (me!), advertising, venting, work, massmarket, opportunities, branding, and recession.

The findings are interesting. I certainly would not have dreamed that only one person would say “marketing” or “branding.” Especially since at least half the people in my twitterville are in some form of marketing and PR. But maybe I shouldn't be surprised since PR and marketing are -- at its roots -- about people. And I could say the same for Twitter. Twitter 'is' people.

Join The Conversation

  • Apr 1 Posted 6 years ago Steve Broome (not verified)

    I feel like it's still really important to learn the function of twitter and use blogs for the remaining purposes. People seem to be having 20-25 post rants instead of using blogs now and it's gotten a bit ridiculous.

  • Nov 10 Posted 7 years ago EleusisDurrell I loved Renaud's one-word: Ego.  Made me chuckle.  

    Though I am pretty sure that what constitutes the "I/me/mine" impulse in this day and age is much more atomic than the durable unit of the original meaning.

     

    Leu

    http://tantra4bobos.blogspot.com

  • DavinaKBrewer's picture
    Nov 3 Posted 7 years ago DavinaKBrewer

    My one-word answer was and is Connection. Agree that community, relationships, networking are all part of making connections, which are essential in business. Not surprised there weren't more "marketing" and "branding" answers; that comes after connections are made and relationships are developed but it starts with connecting. FWIW.

  • Nov 3 Posted 7 years ago RuthLambert

    I don't twitter - I found the site difficult to navigate (got lost - no way back after clicking on help), buggy (tried to upload a photo about 50 times before giving up), and not as interactive as I'd hoped. Thanks for the tip on Whispurr, Michael, I will definitely check it out.

    (And for those shaking your heads, I'm not a computer illiterate - know enough to be dangerous- I'm a web manager for a large multinational)...

     

  • Nov 3 Posted 7 years ago jansegers For me it's all about information dissemination and I loved Twitter immediately, probably because I was already kind of microblogging before it even existed...

    see http://jansegers.mygb.nl/ to backup this claim where I was already informing people/myself of good links on a guestbook application open to anyone to see and even open for input from everyone else

    Pieter Jansegers

  • VictoriaHarres's picture
    Nov 2 Posted 7 years ago VictoriaHarres John - Great connection. With the decentralization and democratization of news, the 'people' are now often the ones who have the 'information' we want, hence even information/news is really about 'people.' Thanks for the input!

     

    Martin, I was just re-reading what you wrote the other day. I suppose I should add immortalization to the list of words. It is a human desire to leave a legacy and tweets I suppose can be that, since nothing ever seems to die on the Internet. Our mortal bodies may turn to dust, but our tweets will live on in the world wide web.


  • VictoriaHarres's picture
    Oct 30 Posted 7 years ago VictoriaHarres THANKS everyone for commenting. I'm noticing lots of people commenting on real-live human connections, which have the potential to suffer if we forget that Twitter and social networks are just tools that should 'aid' us in our networking and connecting, but can never replace a real handshake or a hug. That's why on the 8th day God created the tweetup : )  
  • Oct 29 Posted 7 years ago AllenRainey Great article, especially for us rookies.  Thanks.  Some of the comments are great also.Communication and information would be my two.  It is too early to tell, but I don't think Twitter would be good for branding.  If you interest people, you will develop a following.

  • Oct 29 Posted 7 years ago NickDiGiacomo Narcissism
  • VictoriaHarres's picture
    Oct 29 Posted 7 years ago VictoriaHarres
    Andrew - You are probably right. Whether it's Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, people want to connect. Their reasons for wanting to connect might vary, but it does seem to always stem back to relationships. I agree, Twitter's uniqueness is its novel method of connecting. 
  • VictoriaHarres's picture
    Oct 29 Posted 7 years ago VictoriaHarres Peta - I think your research was showing the same results as mine. People have such varied reasons why they Twitter. And in the end, it all really is about people connecting.

    Renaud - Ah, the honesty : )  I think ego is there behind the scenes for so many of us...and some more than others. To be re-tweeted is to have ones ego stroked. 

    Beth - Indeed, the ultimate reason: connectivity (camaraderie and community are part of that).

    Thanks all for reading and commenting. I greatly appreciate it!

    Best,

    @victoriaharres (also @prnewswire )



  • Oct 28 Posted 7 years ago BethTerry What I find most interesting is this - NO ONE in your survey said, "To be sold something." Yet so many of the articles we are reading are about how to make money on Twitter, or how to follow eight gazillion people and have 20 gazillion following you. Thank you for this. I just posted a snit about those people who deign to tell ME who to follow and how to unfollow. I think I have that figured out, thank you very much. I personally don't care to amass millions of followers. I just want to find community and read cool information. Bottom line? Connectivity. Camaraderie. Community.
  • Oct 28 Posted 7 years ago BethTerry What I find most interesting is this - NO ONE in your survey said, "To be sold something." Yet so many of the articles we are reading are about how to make money on Twitter, or how to follow eight gazillion people and have 20 gazillion following you. Thank you for this. I just posted a snit about those people who deign to tell ME who to follow and how to unfollow. I think I have that figured out, thank you very much. I personally don't care to amass millions of followers. I just want to find community and read cool information. Bottom line? Connectivity. Camaraderie. Community.

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