The Three Stages of Twitter Commitment

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With an influx of new participants, Twitter continues to be a surprising space. But the most interesting part is the transformation that takes place for almost every person – well, every person who PERSISTS. This was made obvious to me by a message from Frank Sting.

Change management theory suggests that there are a number of phases which we must go through before we actually commit to a change. And it is fascinating to see what happens if we apply this to Twitter. In general, it appears as follows:
Preparation: This is an awareness stage. Here you will find people responding to the question “what are you doing?”. Accordingly there will be tweets along the lines of “checking out Twitter … who should I follow”.
Acceptance: By this stage, people have normally found a small community to engage with. The tweets will have transformed into a combination of status updates and @ messages directed to people that they follow.
Commitment: In this final phase, Twitter conversations flow freely between and amongst followers. The network continues to grow as more participants establish weak links at the edges of the social graph.
Of course, not everyone develops through all these stages. I would suspect that there are a large number who simply do not put the time in to build value into the network. This would account for discontinued use in the first stage.
Negative perception (caused via unexpected interaction) would account for discontinuation at the second stage.
For stage three, I would expect that additional tools are required to help manage conversations. I am thinking that applications like TweetDeck and its ilk are the only way that participants can actively continue to find and provide value to a growing follower base.
But what do you think? Does this accord with your own views?

9 thoughts on “The Three Stages of Twitter Commitment

  1. I was just thinking about this too – how odd it is that something so modern requires that most old-fashioned of virtues… patience. It does take a while to ‘get’ it. I wonder if phase 1 might be better called puzzlement, or bafflement?
    I think I’m in the happy stage of commitment… wondering what comes next. Hope it’s not divorce!

  2. I agree with your thinking here – nice work on putting it together so concisely!
    It reflects my experience and that which I have seen for other people on Twitter, even though I feel I may be just into stage 2 myself.

  3. I struggled with Stage 1 because at the time back in 2005 there was hardly anyone around from which I could generate my own network and thus value!

  4. Great way to look at real time reputation management. We Are Social did a great little piece of this.

  5. That’s very accurate in my experience. Twitter doesn’t take long to ‘get’ but I agree with Joanna – the first phase might be better named ‘puzzlement’ or just ‘general bewilderment’. I’m just off that!

  6. For the last few weeks Twitter and I have been honeymooners. Swooning around, snatching time together whenever we had a spare moment.
    But something changed for me on the weekend. Hopefully we’re just going through a rough patch and we’ll come out the other side, perhaps on a more even keel.
    I think there’s a fourth phase and that’s addiction.

  7. I’ve anecdotally discovered a ton of Twitter tools that in one fashion or another, can help the motivated user find like-minded people, integrate delayed messaging, etc. etc. As a user, though, I’d appreciate better aggregation of all the tool options in a single place, complete with descriptions, visual examples, etc. I know the open platform encourages free development and variety. But I can’t help but think that some stronger structure and/or organization surrounding those goodies would create an ease-of-use that could encourage more adoption, and greater commitment among users.

  8. It is funny the way that Twitter has allowed third parties to really determine the method of use. If they had have created some form of app market like Apple, then they could have created a whole new business model for themselves. And – at the same time – drive greater levels of adoption as you suggest!

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