The Twelve People You Meet On Twitter

If you’ve been around Twitter long enough, certain patterns start to emerge. People start to develop tweeting habits, and for better or worse, those patterns tend to stay fairly stable, at least in my experience.  Some people are composite creatures; others are definitely single-tracking.

Do you recognize any of these people?

  1. GHOST: Starts Twittering, posts a handful of times, then disappears.
  2. NERDCORE: Hopelessly geeky (and proud of it), writes tweets like this: “Linux.com states eDonkey as best P2P client on linux http://lin.cr/rf. But it was shutdown, wasn’t it? Can anyone confirm it?”
  3. FLIRT: Writes a lot of tweets with the word “sexy” and “boobs” and “naked” (not necessarily in the same tweet).
  4. WHORE: Shameless self-promoter of blog posts.  Has 10,000 followers.
  5. WHORE IN TRAINING: Just like a WHORE, but sheepishly apologizes for it every now and then.  Wants 10,000 followers.
  6. MR. GUILTY: Endless naughty-boy revelations about alcohol, gambling, or behaving badly.
  7. ST. CRISPIN: Today is an opportunity! Carpe Diem! I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be alive on THIS VERY DAY!
  8. HIPSTER: Goes to all the cool social networking events and meets with Loic and Scoble and Guy every month.  Lets you know about it.
  9. POLITICAL HARRIDAN: Sends 140-character rants about this or that politician or policy proposal.
  10. INQUISTOR: 90% of their tweets are questions to their “audience”.
  11. DILBERT: My office is dysfunctional and I sort of like it because I can tweet about it.
  12. ZZZ: Sends tweets like “I’m on my 2nd cup of coffee” or “heading home”.

So, which are you? Which other tweeter archetypes am I missing?

78 Responses to “The Twelve People You Meet On Twitter”


  1. 1 Damon July 14, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    You forgot, the Nannied: those stuck behind firewalls of companies that believe if you don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist.

  2. 2 Joel July 15, 2008 at 11:57 am

    But Damon, please refer to the title of this post. You don’t *meet* those people on Twitter – it’s inherently unpossible :)

  3. 3 geekmommy July 15, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Erm… well I don’t really fall in any of those. :( ???

    I think I’d put me under:

    The Socializer – seems to live on Twitter, talks to everyone that talks to her, occasionally spouts random thoughts about anything & everything.

  4. 4 Laura July 15, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Aw, crap.

    I’m nerdcore.

    Was hoping to be a Hipster/Flirt.

    Now I’m labeled, and all the cool kids will shun me.

  5. 5 Alanna Shaikh July 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    EATER: 75% of posts relate directly to a meal consumed or about to be consumed.

  6. 6 chabuhi July 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Part Inquisitor, a little bit ZZZ, and a whole lotta Dilbert.

  7. 7 Nikki Pilkington July 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Oh my God, I’m either a whore or a whore in training – I guess as I don’t have 10,000 followers I must be in training.

    Crossed with an inquisitor.

    Fab, I’m an inquisitive whore in training – my life is now complete :)

  8. 8 Jim Gleeson July 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    You missed the one about the bit of a smart acre who takes the zzz posts and turns them on their ear.

    And of course there is the spam.

  9. 9 Matt Searles July 15, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I actually find I go through phases..

    sometimes I’ll post a lot of url’s to my blog posts.. in part cause that’s the only way some of my friends know I’ve posted something new

    Sometimes I mention the coffee, or more likely energy drink I’m drinking (I’m drinking one right now as it happens)

    Sometimes, like today, I find myself answering peoples questions or trying to be helpful.. wish I was in this mode more often

    Sometimes I’m it’s like.. crazy talk.. or talk I think of as crazy.. contrarian thoughts on social media anyway.. that usually have a bit of eastern philosophy, depth psychology, or who knows what incomprehensible whatever beneath them.

    I’m always wanting the 10000 followers but… just don’t seem to care enough to make a full hearted attempt at it.

    I never post wild stuff about my life.. never flirt.. feel like that might make me creepy.. though I’ll sometimes say things that are… could potentially be taken the wrong way..

    for a while I was just tweeting about.. the new gear I was investing in.. and stuff related to whatever music production thing I was dealing with..

    Sometimes I tweet often, sometimes I don’t.. sometimes I’m trying to figure out how to get back into the habbit.. and that effects how I tweet..

    Sometimes I’m shy about tweeting.. like “oh my god, what if someone reads my tweet” but usually I assume no ones paying any attention.. until I run into them at a meet up, or something, and they say something..

    But mostly I think I tweet all wrong.

  10. 10 Steve Olson July 15, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Howbout the

    Narcigeek who thinks every little detail of his life is interesting:

    Going to Starbucks now!

    My kids going potty.

    Gotta get a haircut.

    Sitting here watching the rain fall.

  11. 11 XML Aficionado July 15, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    How about the EARLYADOPTOR (e.g. Scobleizer and others) who mostly tweets about the next big thing (i.e. the next social networking site) they have discovered and is trying to move the conversation over there, e.g. mostly Twitter -> FriendFeed or other transitions…

  12. 12 John July 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Wow! I guess that puts me somewhere between ZZZ and Whore in Training. Who knew?

    I’ve always claimed to be a computer mouse whore, or mouse jockey, depending on who I’m talking to. Give me money and I’ll drive that mouse pretty much wherever you want. :)

  13. 13 Dr Wright July 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Guilty as charged of being WIT

    Dr Wright
    http://www.twitter.com/drwright1

    TWEET ME!!

  14. 14 Jennifer July 15, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Why is the truth always so funny? It’s right in your face, yet cracks you up when someone else says/writes it.

  15. 15 Ginger July 15, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I’d have to say I’m somewhat of a “Chatty Kathy.” No distinct rhyme or reason to my tweets, other than being tired of AIM and Gchat and wanting to meet some new people with similar interests. Tweet topics can range from cloud computing, to golf, to social media, to Shark Bite fruit snacks.

  16. 16 Carol July 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I have read many (too many?) #12′s. I might even be one of them! OK, going to go watch some paint dry now…lol.

  17. 17 connie July 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I think you missed me: CHATTERBOX

  18. 18 rickwolff July 15, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    There’s one Twitter evangelist/training speaker who, when things go south in her life, instead of pulling a modified #11 and carping about her disfunctional existence, she turns it into a #10, and tweets “What do you do when this happens?” It’s actually kind of mentally healthy. I’ve done it too.

  19. 19 Dave July 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I just posted a St. Crispin post last night…I couldn’t help it, it was too damn nice out!

  20. 20 Hannah July 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I would say there is a few types you didn’t mention.

    The show and teller: This person constantly shares articles (not their own blog posts) that they found on the internet. This is personally my favorite type of person.

    The @ person: This person seems to be on twitter 24 hours a day and is always sending @ messages to five or six people at a time.

    As for me, I go back between being the inquisitor, zzz and the show and teller.

    Great post! I really enjoyed it.

  21. 21 Helen Mosher July 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    the repressed class clown. so missed the bus back in the school days because he or she was too shy or introverted or well-behaved to interrupt the daily flow of learning with a punch line. Now overcompensating.

  22. 22 Matt Williamson July 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Let’s not forget that soon enough we will have employers searching tweets like they already do your MySpace accounts and try to find information about you on Google.

    We are still missing the fact that Twitter is a wonderful tool to mine marketing data as well as taking the pulse of developing news stories.

    Check out this small post I wrote about Twitter for the enterprise: http://www.technologystory.com/2008/06/11/twittering-the-internet/

  23. 23 Dana July 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    what about:

    WHINER – complains about coworkers, weather, girlfriend/boyfriend, pencil, pda, ipod, cellphone, disagreeable lunch, state of the nation, landlord, taxes, gas, lack of social life.

  24. 24 Kellye Crane July 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    How about the Workout-aholics, who send tweets like “heading out for my second trip to the gym today, still sore from this morning!” These sometimes fall into the ZZZ category, but I believe their need to pronounce to the world how buff they are puts them in a class by themselves!

  25. 25 Kari Rippetoe July 15, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Crap, I think I’m a Twitter Whore-In-Training. I wish I was a Hipster.

    What about the TMI (too much info) people – those that tweet about everything they’re doing (“eating a hot dog with onions and mustard from the stand across the street”, “going to the restroom, brb”). Or people who send tweets about the meetings they’re in (what they’re talking about and who they’re talking to).

  26. 26 Chuck Reynolds July 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    but what if you’re like all those all swirled up and wrapped into one twitter guy? lol
    Funny list though, and very true. Thx for posting

  27. 27 chvnx July 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Now Playing: Xidey – The Twelve People You Meet On Twitter.mp3
    ;)

  28. 28 Glen Allsopp July 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Great post, some good entertainment before I go to sleep, I helped spread it around for you:

    Sphunn
    Stumbled
    & Mixxed

    to be exact ;)

  29. 29 Eric Reid July 15, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    That was absolutely brilliant.

    I think I’m a reluctant ghost. I keep meaning to just disappear from the site, but invariably I wind up back on Twitter, posting something terribly lame. Maybe I’m stuck between the Ghost and the Zzz – either way, I think that means I’m unconscious.

  30. 30 Rachel Keslensky July 15, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Whore-in-training/Hipster.

    But at least I admit it!

  31. 31 Jason McElweenie July 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    What about a reverse 10? The only tweets are thanking other people for following them. Ok, I get it you are somewhat popular amongst some of your friends and spammers

  32. 32 markzero July 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    It’s amazing how successful the whores actually are. Now I know why Britney Spears makes money, etc. :)

    How about the type that tries with every post to be funny? There’s a whole webpage set up for favorited snide/sarcastic posts over at http://textism.com/favrd/

  33. 33 jaycruz July 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I’m offended by the bad use of the “hipster” category. If Robert Scoble and company are “hipsters” then Scarlett Johanson is a web industry expert.

  34. 34 Cheryl Smith July 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Oh my gosh, what a great post. I laughed out loud more than once! I’m trying to figure out where I fit in. Perhaps like in real life, nothing seems to fit terribly neatly for me. Oh well, I’m cool with that.

    I’m interested to know which Twitter person you thought of for yourself?

  35. 35 Kate Olson July 15, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    This is great :-)

    I’m a 5 + 7 + 10 + 12, which adds up to……..36? Right, a 36 is someone who gets distracted easily and loves to talk but works at home and has no cube-mates to annoy. Yup, that’s me. Twitter is my watercooler chat and my billboard.

  36. 36 Kate Olson July 15, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Right, and I’m a mathematician, too! Of course, that equals 34! Too much time on twitter fries ALL brains.

  37. 37 Steph July 15, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Yeah… socialiser seems like it would fit me too (unless I’m being delusional and there is another profile there that suits me better). ;-)

  38. 39 SexySEO July 16, 2008 at 6:50 am

    You have missed me LOL
    BTW thanks for funny post :)

  39. 40 Anthony Stevens July 16, 2008 at 9:16 am

    @Cheryl: I’m pretty sure I’m Nerdcore. I’m loving some of the additional suggestions, especially Socializer, Show and Tell, and Whiner! Thanks everyone.

  40. 41 Jennifer Lewis July 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    How about the newbie? Trying to figure out how all this interactivity will help him or her and not really sure what to tweet about.

    J Astete-Lewis
    http://www.webfullcircle.com

  41. 42 Tanner Christensen July 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I am definitely Dilbert ZZZ.

  42. 43 Reilly O'Donnell July 18, 2008 at 6:42 am

    im definately a mutt tweeter

  43. 44 Zak Nicola July 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I am typically a Ghost on Twitter now thanks to Plurk. I’m still on Twitter to see what others have to say, and on occasion I speak up. If there was a hipster in training, that would be closest to what my activity was on Twitter when I was more active on the site.

  44. 45 Joy July 18, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Funny but true..^^ I think I’m between the inquisitor and ghost.

  45. 46 Christine July 18, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Oh goodness, it is so hard to decide which one I am. I think I’m a mutt tweeter too.

  46. 47 sheilamia July 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I am fearful I belong to the “zzz” category. I need to spice things up!

  47. 48 Sherwin July 19, 2008 at 2:56 am

    hmmm I’m a n00b 11+12. actually did a mini laptop review on twitter this morning for all of my 4 followers :D (which includes Guy Kawasaki)

  48. 49 Walt Ribeiro July 19, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I’m a little bit Inquistor. Def don’t wanna be ZZZ ^_^

    @waltribeiro

  49. 50 rajbot July 19, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Cute, but to qualify as a hipster I’m pretty sure you need to be completely ignorant of Scoble, et al. Once you take a bite of that apple you’re a dork forever. No changing it.

  50. 51 Dave Atkins July 19, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I’m probably what someone labeled a “Narcigeek.” There’s just not enough time and media to adequately share my brilliance with the world.

  51. 52 Elizabeth M July 20, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Wonderful post. I guess I am a reappearing ghost/hipster wanna be!

  52. 53 Greg Hollingsworth July 21, 2008 at 7:34 am

    You left out “the curmudgeon”. This is the person who is constantly complaining about something, @AmandaChapel is a perfect example of this. Sometimes interesting, often annoying, never, ever, happy.

  53. 54 Tracy Lee July 21, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Hmmm…I think I am more like GeekMommy, which is not a bad thing. :)

  54. 55 Jan Tallent July 21, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Wow, on twitter like in real life I guess I just do not fit into any mold or category, lol. So, is being an original a good thing? Most of those I follow are a mix of good things and those who have become boring or blah are easy to UNfollow. :-)

  55. 56 Megan McCarthy July 21, 2008 at 9:08 am

    I love to share resources I find that may help others :-)
    Love to look at other twitterer’s finds and blog posts – a wealth of information!
    Love updates from my friends on what they are doing
    - and just love feeling part of a community (except of course when I started by talking to myself – perhaps I still am!)

    in short – i think i’m just a twit in twitter training and my tweets shall evolve as I evolve online :-)

    One type of twitter I do dislike a tad though, is the ‘name-dropper’. ie. the ‘important person’ who thinks that their all-insightful wisdom must be followed for any of us to be successful (if in the IM arena) – one in particular is obvious, but i’m not going to name such twits :-)

    so, a merrily twittering I shall go and yes, there are probably many more types and probably most of us fall in a combination of the twittering types depending on where we are, mood we are in, what we are doing, productivity, etc etc… am i boring u yet? hehe :)

    thanks for a great blog post and a great blog find overall (via a tweet of course)!

  56. 57 Nancy Sutherland July 21, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    This is so funny! What about the twitterholic? A socializer who leaves Twirl on all night so that you can go back and see if you missed anything while you sleep! Then it’s an uphill battle all day to catch up!
    I really do enjoy the people that I have had the ability to “meet” on twitter. But where is the support group for twitterholics?

  57. 58 always, buddy July 22, 2008 at 6:52 am

    definitely a ZZZ. definitely.

  58. 59 Rhonda Tipton July 22, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I think I’m a combination of Nerdcore, Dilbert and zzz.

  59. 60 Chris P July 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I think you’re missing a few archetypes:

    1. @ Messenger – I only use Twitter to @ reply people who may or may not be @ replying me. But I look like I’m a well-connected person through all my @ replies. Who cares what’s going on with me that people really want to know about. Piece it together through my @ replies to people you don’t know.

    2. TV Guide – I let you know what’s on TV, what I’m watching, what I missed, what I didn’t want to miss, what I caught and hated, what I caught and liked, what I’m looking forward to, what I’m not looking forward, what happened, what I couldn’t believe happened, and what is going to happen on tv shows that you don’t even know are on.

    3. World Report – I post links to the latest news going on as it happens. Current TV should have hired me, but I use Twitter until they call on me.

  60. 61 Adventures In Babywearing July 23, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Ha- I probably could be any of those on any given day. But most often I just tweet “what I am doing” because that is what it asks!

    Steph

  61. 62 Dave July 23, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Is there a category for people on Twitter who are always telling non-Twitter people about the things they’re reading on Twitter, resulting in a long conversation about what Twitter is, why someone would be on Twitter, and so on and so on, and eventually the non-Twitter people shake their heads and walk away?

  62. 63 Tina Tobin July 23, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I don’t Twitter for the 12 reasons you list above, but I love your list. Would love for you to do a similar list for people you meet on business networking sites.

  63. 64 Katie July 23, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I am ashamed to say that I think I’d be “Debbie Downer” Twitters only to complain about bad crap that happens. It’s sad that I know I have a problem, but don’t bother to try changing it. Maybe I’ll twitter about how sad it is.

  64. 65 abbreviated July 25, 2008 at 10:36 am

    What about two timer ?

    The one that twits on one window while plurking on another ?

  65. 66 Vicky July 25, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Too funny! Us humans sure like to classify everything. I’m a mix of a few of these Twiter personalities – I wouldn’t mind being a Twitter whore, I don’t apologize for it but, I don’t yet have 10,000 friends. I’m certainly a Dilbert @ times because I do most of my tweeting while @ work. And – I am ZZZZ because I just want to post for the heck of it, whatever that may be.

    How about another one – Voyeur? I admit it – I just like to plug in a location and browse the tweets to see what so-in-so in Germany or Australia is doing. Oddly enough – they’re often mundane, no matter where the tweeter is. Geographical differences doesn’t appear to make the tweets anymore interesting.

  66. 67 Elana Bowman July 30, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I’m the work/book geek.

    There’s nothing personal, I don’t flirt, I’m not a WIT, I’m a bit of a ZZZ and I love tweeting about Wii or my cat or the latest book I read (bbooorriing!)

    so I’m a work/book/ZZZ and I tweet more on my work twitter than my own. And blog more on my work blog than my own – sheesh talk about a boring book geek whose work takes over her life. What am I?

    http://twitter.com/ebbye

  67. 68 FunkyAngelClair July 31, 2008 at 12:45 am

    I’m with Geek Mummy, def a socialiser, although I’d love to have the time to dedicate to becoming a whore in training! lol :)

  68. 69 F. August 25, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I’m pretty much a Drama Queen/Emo tweeter. My tweets can get pretty angsty and make a whole hell of a lot of no sense sometimes. One of my friends likens them to a soap opera or Sweet Valley High. But they’re just the thoughts going through my head at the time!

  69. 70 Qrystal August 31, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Heh, I suppose I’m St.Crispin-ZZZ with a pinch of Nerd-Whore-in-Training:

    * St.Crispin because I’m often twittering to motivate myself with powerful intentions for my day…

    * ..but I also often fall into ZZZ– at least, that’s if you look only at the content of my tweets. I’d like to think that even the mundane is fascinating when expressed in haiku form! :) If not: oh well, at least it amuses me!

    * a pinch of nerdiness (I’ll tweet about physics or computing or video gaming)

    * a pinch of Whore-in-training (I do have a blog and a tumblr and a blip.fm, and I would love for people to go check them out! and having 10000 people do so would rawk!)

  70. 71 Cassie September 14, 2008 at 2:17 am

    Hmmm. I think the list is pretty accurate (and entertaining!). I’d be interested to know which one you’d put me in, because I’m not really sure myself. I suppose most people are a mix.

  71. 72 Cassie September 14, 2008 at 2:18 am

    P.S. Just added you to my RSS feed – woot! Sorry it took so long. Boo.

  72. 73 Anthony Stevens September 14, 2008 at 7:17 am

    @Cassie: I can’t pigeonhole you into any one of the categories. That makes you an ideal Tweep! :)


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