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The 6 Stages of Twitter Evolution

by Mitchell Cuevas on December 11, 2010

social media, twitter, social media vocabulary, social media classesI saw this great post by Robert Swanwick, aka Swan, @spkrinteractive, @swanwick, or @twchat (definitely check him out, he has some great stuff)  about the stages people go through as they find Twitter and begin to use it. The stages were great, but we tweaked a few based on what we see happening in our social media classes and among clients. Any of these stages sound like you?

Stage 1: This seems silly…why are there a bunch of people on here talking about nothing? What does ‘Follow’ mean? Are those my friends? How do I message people or put up pictures? 140 characters! That’s nothing! Who is everyone talking to!?

Stage 2: I guess Twitter must be popular for a reason, I guess I’ll stick with it for a while longer and log in once in a while and see what happens. I still feel like people are just shouting into space, but…

Stage 3: Hey there are some interesting things out in the twittersphere. Finally some awesome people to follow! TweetDeck is awesome! I am starting to make Twitter a part of my social networking habits.

Stage 4: Twitter is actually really useful for getting to great content and stories! Hashtags and listening channels help me organize the crazy world of tweets and lookey here, I have a good number of my own followers! My @ tags must be working!social media, twitter, social media classes, social media vocabulary

Stage 5: The power of Twitter is pretty apparent, I am starting to use it to draw my followers to content and maybe advertise for my business. Twittergrader is telling me whats up and I have one of the great mobile apps on my phone so I can always be ready to tweet and see my mentions.

Stage 6: Twitter has become an essential tool for building relationships and finding conversations my business and I want to be part of. I have built teams in Hootsuite and made real connections through Twitter and my network is active and supporting.

What do you think? Where are you in your Twitter development? Need a little help getting to your Twitter (or other social media) goals? Let us know how you are progressing or if you think there are more stages!

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  • Hunter

    Twitter is definitely a powerful tool. Thanks for sharing.

  • AF

    Great post. I probably am around stage 5 or 6.

    From my perspective, there is a direct correlation between my personal investment in Twitter and what I get out of it (relationships and content). What I find hard is to leave Twitter in the background while I do other things as it seems to absorb all my attention, but by quarantining it, I don’t allow for fluid, instantaneous dialogue with others online. There’s usually a time lag. Any advice? *Multi-task more effectively?*

  • Anonymous

    I believe so

  • Maruska

    Stage 7: Seriously its all business and biased self-promotion. Ugh, Mass unfollow anyone I don’t like or actually know, and only interact with people I value personally.

  • diana

    Why do I want to advertise my business?

    I don’t have a business. Don’t want to do business.

  • Chris Miller

    There’s two reasons I believe Twitter gets a bad rep for. Twitter is listening to and participating in conversations – but as the younger crowd are typically more in-the-loop, younger conversations are more prevalent. As an adult, this can be like going to a high school and listening to the conversations going on in the lunch room. Who cares? Suzi is going out with Jenny and that last test was like so not fair WTF blah blah blah. The other bad rep I see comes from the fact that Twitter has a more tech-oriented following, so there is a lot more 1337 speak, which the common person doesn’t understand (and doesn’t want to).

    As Twitter, or whatever emerges at the next thing, however, it will only continue to become more mainstream – and as things become mainstream, the conversations will make more sense.

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  • Swan

    I appreciate the attribution and @samueljsmith has some great content, but the post you are referring to comes from me.

    It would be great if you could explain why you altered the original steps. I think that would make for an interesting conversation.

    FYI: Among other accounts, I am @twchat on twitter. The curator of the Twitter Chat Schedule described and linked at

    All the best.

  • Mitchell Cuevas

    Hey sorry about that, no problem, I have updated it to reflect the proper author. We loved the post and a lot of what you said was visible in our social media classes and amongst our clients. I read a few posts on the ‘evolution of twitter’ after thinking to write something on it and yours was sure a favorite.

    Thanks so much for the suggestions and I’ll definitely add you on Twitter.

    Thanks again!

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