I am assuming you have read Kerry Pinny’s ‘I’m rubbish at twitter‘ or James Clay’s follow-up post ‘No, I’m rubbish at twitter‘. If you haven’t then you probably should (and maybe check my response too).
While I enjoy thinking about how twitter can facilitate communication, relationship-building, information dispersal and all the multitude of things it is great at doing, I have started to think about the groups of people who use it. And how they use it.
Now, I’m no anthropologist, sociologist, or psychologist, so this is very much with an amateur people-watching lens, but I think I can divide twitter users into one of four categories.
These categories are arbitrary and will probably have overlap and edge-cases, but in my experience of using the network, these are the main, distinct groups I’ve noticed.
Thankfully, I had not come across too many ‘Angries’ as my main topics on twitter were not especially ireful. Not many people get too irked by technology, education or silly jokes.
However, with Brexit and subsequent disintegration of the fabric of society, I have had a few encounters recently.
It seems that scorn and hatred bubbles in some people’s veins, and the anonymity (or celebrity) twitter affords allows them to pour that hatred over others.
Take for example when Louise Mensch (ex-Member of Parliament) responded to this tweet:
I’m on a hospital ward with my son, awaiting a delayed and postponed operation. Huge cheer just erupted at news Jeremy Hunt has been sacked.
— Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) July 14, 2016
Well scumbag enjoy the fact you were wrong you loathsome tit. Jeremy is staying https://t.co/5fgFJb8w0J
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) July 14, 2016
There was no provocation from Jon Bartley, no personalised attack. He merely reported what was happening (with added context of why he was there). To receive that level of spite in response is astounding, bordering on sociopathic.
And don’t get me started on Katie Hopkins and her bilious spite, or the clouds of egg-shaped racists that scour the net to inflict pain on unsuspecting twitterers.
In 2013, I went to see McFly when they played at Market Rasen races. After the gig I tweeted:
McFly rocked Market Rasen Races pic.twitter.com/ffX156N8OV
— Marcus Elliott (@marcuselliott) August 31, 2013
and then this happened:
— Harry Judd (@mcflyharry) August 31, 2013
And then all hell broke loose.
I made the mistake of receiving every notification for every kind of interaction on Twitter. So when hundreds of fans responded by liking, retweeting or replying, I got every single notification.
There were hundreds.
And then teen heartthrobs, like Justin Bieber, get thousands of interactions with every single message, however banal:
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) July 5, 2016
That’s right, over 200,000 interactions!
The sell, sell, sell
This is the serious business end of twitter. It ranges from big corporate monoliths churning out content, to #social #media #innovators splurging hashtags with gay abandon.
It seems like everyone in the group is an expert.
I am often followed by these types when I use keywords like ‘innovation’, ‘leverage’, or ‘synergy’.
I have no doubt that the majority of this group are bots.
The bots even advertise the services of bots to ‘increase the number of followers’ with more bots.
The title of this group could also be ‘sex, sex, sex’ as it also includes the busty ladies who seem to randomly like posts and invite you to click on dubious links.
The black humourists
I would say I probably sit in this group. I’m not sure the title is right, but often this group are self-deprecating, darkly comic, and anarchic.
Included in this group is political satire:
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) July 13, 2016
Or general silliness:
This will never stop being brilliant. pic.twitter.com/jKCRbskvzz
— Amanda (@Pandamoanimum) July 10, 2016
Or just a general disdain for society:
Often twitter is like going for a walk in a beautiful park with a bunch of people who are obsessively focused on the dog shit.
— Moose Allain (@MooseAllain) July 15, 2016
…which probably wraps this post up nicely.