An absolutely fabulous post by Pete Blackshaw over at ClickZ on the different personality types emerging in Twitterland. He uses the device of imagining what Niccolò Machiavelli would think of today’s Twitters.
FlackSmackers. These are journalists or high-reach bloggers who use Twitter to publicly complain — nay, groan — about lame PR or shill-induced pitches. Machiavelli cites Brian Morrissey of Adweek, for example, as someone who’s on a “hair twitter” to out bad pitches and shills.
Rory Cellan-Jones has been doing his fair share of this on Twitter over here.
See below for the full list of personality types. You know who you are. It’s a hoot.
- TweetBacks. These are folks who use Twitter as a real-time focus group for immediate feedback. Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, and many others use Twitter like an open-end survey tool. Machiavelli wonders out loud whether these folks will get buried.
- TimeTweeters. These folks just love to “punch the clock” with a time-stamped discovery before anyone else. Their social currency, Machiavelli says, correlates with the speed with which they can put a fresh link in play.
- FlackSmackers. These are journalists or high-reach bloggers who use Twitter to publicly complain — nay, groan — about lame PR or shill-induced pitches. Machiavelli cites Brian Morrissey of Adweek, for example, as someone who’s on a “hair twitter” to out bad pitches and shills.
- SpamSneakers. These are the folks who use Twitter as just another marketing channel for preexisting content. They just drop the URL from the blog, newsletter, or Web page with something like, “Just blogged this.” Machiavelli warns that such individuals still have an early-adopter grace period but warns of backlash and mass mutiny.
- BrandBaggers. These folks “bag” anything related to their brands and use tools like Twitter as a customer-service or resolution proxy. Machiavelli points to Frank, a.k.a. ComcastCares, as a classic example of a brand using Twitter to reach and engage with consumers, or even sandbag potentially bad news. (Full disclosure: Comcast is a client.)
- BankRunners. These are the folks who post “end is near unless you act now” messages, potentially eliciting a sense of panic — a run on the bank, if you will — among Twitterites. Here’s a sample post from high-reach Twitter maven and search guru Danny Sullivan: “smx advanced 85% sold, less than 100 tickets left. today’s early bird deadline so more will go. not joking, book now.”
- RingCiters. These are the folks with real or virtual ring-side seats at sporting events who can’t resist sharing even most mundane play-by-play, as though the rest of Twitter Nation is glued to their modern day Howard Cossel-inspired tweets. Really exciting stuff like “he’s about to shoot” or “Kobe’s breaking a sweat.”
- Tweetniks. People who try to write literature with Twitter. Every once and a while you’ll find someone turning Twitter into haiku.
- FamilyTweeters. These are folks (like myself) who tweet about the most mundane of family-related issues. We’re usually (mistakenly) convinced Twitterites are interested in our family drama and engage in silly comments like “Just changed a diaper,” or “Back from childcare.” Machiavelli warns me that family tweets will decrease the more my Twitter network grows.
- ProudRouters. Quintessential connectors, these folks love to forward things from other Twitter posts. In Twitter parlance, the ProudRouter usually puts the @ in from of Twitter profiles. By definition, they’re social connectors and love to bring folks together, make introductions, and take credit for matchmaking. Former colleague Max Kalehoffis a classic ProudRouter. Machiavelli urges moderation here.
- TravelTeasers. These are the folks who create a bit of mystery about exactly where they are. Are they really on business? Could it be a job interview? A secret affair? Sometimes we just don’t know, but we can’t resist playing out scenarios when they say something like, “Here at Amsterdam coffee house” or something.
- WeightWatchmen. These folks believe Twitter’s potential for peer pressure might have motivational value for losing weight or achieving some other major goal. So they report results in real time, like “Just swam 20 laps.” Machiavelli points to über early adopter Jason Calacanis, who now posts photos to Twitter of himself on the treadmill. Machiavelli has doubts about this tactic.
- TweetSquaters. These are folks (sinister or entrepreneurial, depending on your view) who squat on well-known Twitter names. Machiavelli points to Judah, for example, the dude who registered an account ostensibly from John McCain. Then there are the bogus tweets from folks who falsely impersonate Steve Jobs or Chuck Norris.
- AdverTweeters. Lots of brands are tweeting these day, observes Machiavelli. Tony Hsieu of Zappos.com has nearly 4,000 folllowers — a sign of Zappos’s appeal. In the process of his fans following his most mundane activity on the Zappos publicity tour, a whole heck of a lot of branding and advertising takes place.
- Twitterazi. Even worse than paparazzi, Machiavelli warned. These folks send Twitter updates on any scoop or personality they see, touch, or even imagine. Sometimes it’s supported with a link to a photo or video feed. Sometimes you feel like the Twitterazi are after you at conference.
- GameTrappers. These folks post Twitter messages to an entire distribution list hoping to snare an unsuspecting target to respond (usually in error) to the entire group. GameTrappers try to force adversaries to take sides prematurely, especially when they know how others will pounce on the first responder. They also know it’s extremely difficult to unwind a Twitter message.