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Twitter Cliques

October 26, 2009

Anyone who is on Twitter and is following/ followed by more than a handful of people (and actually replies to others) forms at least one core group of individuals with whom they tend to have the most conversations.  It is inevitable:  even if all you do is reply to people who reply to your posts, there is going to be a constituency of people who tend to reply the most to you, thereby garnering the most of your replies.  There are people whom you look forward to seeing on your page when you log on, people whom you miss when they haven’t tweeted in a while, people whom you put into your favorite groups on Tweetdeck on in a Twitter list, people sharing mutual friends with whom you engage in group conversations.  This, my friend, is a Twitter clique.

I didn’t actually realize that there were Twitter cliques – and that I was in one or two – until I noticed that other people had cliques.  I would log on and notice that people I was following were having these protracted group conversations together – without ME!   I would peruse their conversations and wonder if I could jump in: would that be rude of me, like eavesdropping on a private conversation then chiming in with my two cents?  I realized theses were public replies and not DMs, but I still felt as though I needed permission to butt in.  It isn’t that these groups are trying to exclude people (at least I don’t think they are doing it intentionally), it is just that they have established a certain rapport or energy with one another that may have predated the relationship with you. 

The clique mentality is most evident during events like sports games or TV shows.  You can see a handful of people who only seem to be talking to each other.  It is also there during particular times of day: certain people tweet more during work hours or in the evening and they end up engaging with those who always show up at that same time.  Twitter cliques are not necessarily a “bad” thing: as in real life people naturally gravitate towards others who share common interests and Twitter is no different.  I am following a measly 2200 people right now and there is no way I could engage with each one of them equally (Hell, I couldn’t do it even when I was following 100 people).  I have my reality TV clique, my sweetheart clique, my cool ladies clique, my original Twitter friends clique.  I do try to broaden my circles and reply to those I don’t normally talk to, and the cliques are certainly fluid with some leaving and some joining, but inevitably I end up conversing the most with my core groups while most others seem to do the same.

I posted a tweet once that Twitter can sometimes feel like high school with the “cool kids” sitting together at the lunch table while all the geeks, tough kids and emos sit apart trying to become part of the inner circle.  The best Twitters make everyone feel welcome, and I continue to strive for that.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2009 7:13 pm

    It remains to be seen how effective or useful Twitter will be in the long run. A lot of people are still just fascinated with it and are following as many people as possible for no particular reason.

  2. October 26, 2009 7:19 pm

    Twitter is like a whole alternate universe! (I think I’m in that reality TV clique?? haha)

  3. October 26, 2009 7:35 pm

    I’m with you on that one Melissa :)

  4. October 27, 2009 1:47 am

    I pretty much join any convo I want to and reply to any person I want to. Not out of arrogance, but because that’s what twitter was designed for.

    If people are too cool for school, they’re welcome to ignore me. But I leave it on their shoulders to make that call rather than force myself to self-censor.

    I guess I’m kind of like that IRL too, but I’ve never been known to be the most tactful person either ;)

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      October 27, 2009 2:57 am

      You are correct, Elliott: that IS what Twitter was designed for. Each time I have “butt in” I am always welcomed but sometimes the conversations seem so intimate that I feel like I have to apologize. I like your Twitter style!

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