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6 Stages of Twitter

September 15, 2009

I am not the most tech-savvy girl in the world and when I heard about this business of Twitter last fall I was completely clueless.  This is after I gave in to my husband’s persistent entreaties to join Facebook.  Prior to joining Facebook, I had looked down my nose at the people who felt the need to reconnect with high school friends they were just fine not thinking about for the past 20 years.  I finally signed up, telling my husband I would never spend any time on the site.  Was I wrong.  I immediately fell in love with the sense of connection to friends and family.  It was on Facebook that I started hearing about Twitter.  I was intrigued but frankly didn’t understand how it worked or what the point of it was.  Thinking I had to stay current, I created an account in September of 2008.  I had no idea what to do from there.  The account lay dormant until January when one of my Facebook friends, @ToddBrink, gave me a tutorial.  I quickly became obsessed.  In real life I don’t like most people, but on Twitter I adored everyone.  Now that have been Twittering for 8 months I have been reflecting on my changing experiences with Twitter.  Therefore, I present you with the 6 Stages of Twitter:

1) Resistance.  This is when you think that Twitter is for nerds and geeks and people who lack the ability to make friends in real life. (True, true, and true; but other people use it too)

2) Confusion.  Once you submit to your curiosity you log on and have no idea how it works.  Who is a follower and how do I get some?  What is an @ and a RT?  What the hell is #FollowFriday?  Luckily, people on Twitter are happy to answer your questions.  That is, if you can figure out how to get them to follow you so they actually can see your question.

3) Finding your identity.  Who am I going to be on Twitter?  For some, this may be a non-issue.  If you have a product to promote or a bunch of techie tips to share, that’s what you do.  But I was interested in conversation.  I had to figure out if I was going to get into political discussions, if I was going to curse and use foul language (which I do in real life), if I wanted to risk offending people.  Was I willing to authentically be myself?  How would I use Twitter?  Would I be able to “talk” to people enough to keep them engaged?  Would I follow every one back and what if I followed first and they did not reciprocate?  Would I focus on some issue or cause?  How revealing would I be?

4) Excitement.  Once I figured out my identity and started collecting followers, I got hooked into the immediacy of the connection to people.  There was so much information being shared, so much positive feedback, so many funny, fascinating people sharing their lives.  I would rush home at the end of the day to read every post I had missed while at work.  I would spend the entire evening on Twitter, much to the amusement of my husband who had to twist my arm just to get me on Facebook.

5) Disappointment.  Once the initial rush wears off, you may find that all the love that seemed to flow in abundance between you and your Twitter friends can be fleeting.  I would get hurt and confused when people I thought I had a great rapport with suddenly unfollowed me seemingly without provocation.  And when I replied to someone and got no response in return.  I would be offended when I would follow someone thinking we would get on famously only to have them not follow me back – especially when we had many mutual friends.  I would get jealous when people who had been paying so much attention to me started getting infatuated with others.  Yes, this is because I am a petty, possessive person in real life, but it felt like high school all over again.

6) Acceptance.  This is when I got over myself and stopped taking everything so personally.  It is when I figured out how Twitter can work for me and what my strengths were.  I gained confidence and realized that sometimes I would tweet and no one would care: and that was ok.  I came to understand that due to Twitter’s immediacy, relationships are accelerated and just like that college sweetheart who thought the sun shone out of your bum for two weeks then flatly dumped you (although that never happened to me), Twitter friendships can be fleeting.  You decide to be polite and as interactive as you can, you try to be interesting and interested, you accept that you are going to miss out on about 90% of what is being said and that you will understand about 89% of what you do catch.  You develop your favorite tweeters pay attention to them.  You try to keep growing and learning from others.

Twitter has been a mirror for me.  It has shown me my insecurities and my talents.  It has made me doubt myself and made me feel great about myself.  I wish that people I never met did not have the ability to affect me in that way, and I don’t think that they do any more.  Well, at least the bit about making me doubt myself.  In the end, Twitter has added great value to my life.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2009 2:04 am

    Congrats on the new blog! Great post – everything you said is so true. Looking forward to reading more posts!

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 15, 2009 11:45 pm

      Thank you Dr. Lori! I appreciate your support!

  2. September 15, 2009 2:39 am

    That’s one hell of a web 2.0 bug you caught!


    – The random guy you facebook friended just because he went to your high school over a decade after you graduated :p


    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 15, 2009 11:44 pm

      Lol! You were the first and only person I sent a friend request to that I did not know personally. It was also because of the U of M and Minneapolis connection. Glad I did, and glad you accepted!

  3. September 15, 2009 5:25 am

    Wow! Nice first post!

    Like I said earlier, I’ll help you make your site prettier, but I need your log-in information.

    P.S. Sorry I dumped you in college.

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 15, 2009 11:42 pm

      Thank you SOOOO much for all your help. I think I have thanked you about a dozen times now. getting sick of it yet? You are my fave!

  4. September 15, 2009 10:20 am

    Wow. How wonderfully stated. This is just the sort of thing that I can share with newbies so they don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.
    Thank you!

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 15, 2009 11:39 pm

      What an honor! Thank you!

  5. September 15, 2009 3:37 pm

    Interesting perspective, and a nice read! I love #5, as I feel in a constant state of that!


    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 15, 2009 11:41 pm

      I was in #5 for awhile. Just recently one of my what I thought good Twitter friends unfollowed me. I debated asking him why for awhile, then finally gave in. He hasn’t responded and I am over it. I will still keep following him- for now. Thanks for your comment!

  6. September 15, 2009 3:50 pm

    The truth! I can really identify with your 6 stages of Twitter. I appreciate your authentic voice openly sharing about your experience in this beautifully turbulent sea of social media. I’m going through stage 4 right now, wish I could skip stage 5 and get on to 6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 15, 2009 11:41 pm

      Thank you for your comment! So glad I’m not the only one who has gone through these changes.

  7. September 16, 2009 4:53 pm

    Maija Jean, you are such a gem! Congratulations on your first blog post. I LOVED IT.

    You so accurately describe the 6 Stages of Twitter, I feel like you’re inside my brain. (If that’s true, where did I put my checkbook? Do you know?) Ah, if only we’d been commiserating all this time! As Melinda said, this is great to share with newbies so they don’t think they’re crazy. Heck, I’ll refer back to it myself.

    And to think, I was jealous when @smashadv had us listed in his FollowFriday recs and said you had the best smile on Twitter. How glad I am that I agreed and reached out to befriend you. One of the best moves I made in social media. You Rock. For newbies who are looking for good people to follow, I invite you to check out the folks in the Katnip Awards. (I can’t believe Maija Jean isn’t there, but have a feeling that will be fixed soon. )

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 16, 2009 10:41 pm

      Thank you heaps and heaps, Kat! That was the sweetest ever! I feel the same about you and so appreciate your positive presence! And whenever I see an ice cube with something edible frozen inside, I will always think of you.

  8. September 24, 2009 1:22 am

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 25, 2009 12:13 am

      Thank you, Tony! Your comments are greatly appreciated and very encouraging! I just came across it because for some reason your comment got sent to my spam bin. Glad I checked!

  9. tekee812 permalink
    September 29, 2009 12:20 am

    OK, 1st post read and I LOVE it! Well done! The six stages fit me to a T. Possibly the best twitter experience analysis I’ve read.

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 29, 2009 1:52 am

      Zowie! Thank you, my friend! Who knew we were all going through the same progression? Here I thought it was my own neurotic experience!

  10. Alex Keckeisen permalink
    February 21, 2011 5:08 am

    This is one of the best posts I have ever read about twitter. I have gone through every stage just like you and didn’t even realize the progression until I read this post.

  11. February 21, 2011 5:10 am

    #6 here. Love Twitter.

    FB? Not joining any time soon. ;)

    Great post – am I reading correctly that it’s your first? If so, welcome to Blognia. If not, ignore that, I’m a clueless commenter who found a link to this post ON Twitter and have not looked through your blog enough to really know what the heck I’m saying. Nice to meet you.

  12. February 21, 2011 5:11 am

    Well, total DUH. What an id10t. It’s a 2009 post. So double duh.

    Please ignore the things I said in my last comment.

    Except for the nice to meet you part. That part still stands. ;)

  13. February 21, 2011 5:34 am

    Excellent posting…

  14. February 21, 2011 12:44 pm

    Great post! I was unfollowed (and blocked) by one person, that I know of. I’m not hurt, just mystified by it. I’m not one of those posters that offend others easily, so I don’t get it. Anyway, my twitter experience is exactly as you’ve described it!

  15. mjjaaska permalink*
    September 19, 2009 2:18 pm

    Thanks, Tyler. I had no idea how many people could relate to this progression. So glad I am not the only one!!


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