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?