Twitter has a steep learning curve. Most people join Twitter, use Twitter, and keep Twitter without having the littlest clue on how to use it.
Take it from me, an obsessive-compulsive trier of all sorts of web tools that need effort.
Facebook? Easiest thing in the world to get used to. Stalking tendencies are instantaneous, as soon as you realize that you can keep up with what your friends are doing. LinkedIn? Okay, it’s boring as there’s not much to do, and that damn “Your profile is only 80% complete” message keeps pissing me off. But still. LinkedIn after all is about accepting acquaintances and hoping to use the connections some time, one day. Blogging? Ooh, this is a hard one, and that’s why there are so many orphan blogs, and yet it’s still much easier than tweeting. After all, what needs to be done on a blog is so simple: you find a subject you like, and you blab. Blab. Blab. Blah. Nice as pie.
Twitter, on the other hand, is an orientational disaster (though not as bad as Google Buzz, which I don’t think anyone has figured out just yet). I mean, seriously, when you sign up for a Twitter account, the most important question is glistening like Las Vegas neon lights: What the hell can I do with these 140 characters?
Here’s what I mean by that:
There are four stages of “Getting” Twitter.
Stage 1: Complete Inability to Understand Twitter
That’s all of you guys sitting in your tech-phobia and thinking “What the hell is this crappy 140 character shit? I don’t care what you had for lunch. Narcissistic bullcrap that adds no value. Mark my words: Twitter is not going to exist a few months from now, except for lame losers.”
People in this stage have either tried Twitter and completely failed at figuring out how to use it (thus the steep learning curve), or have never tried Twitter because they “don’t follow crowds”.
Ha. More like you didn’t get it, darling.
Stage 2: Trying (and Failing) to Enjoy Twitter
This is the hardest stage to overcome in Twitter-life, and I really feel it for those who are stuck in this phase. The people here somehow see the value of Twitter, but cannot figure out the perfect enjoyment formula. Is it about following the celebrities? Is it about collecting friends? Is it about reading great links?
It’s a hard, hard world out there, me son. The good news is that the end of this post tries to dissect the perfect Twitter experience, so go right ahead.
Stage 3: “Ohhh, So That’s What Twitter is About”
This stage has a very small life cycle. Once a user figures out what the hell to do with the 140 characters, life becomes pretty.
Stage 4: Addiction Phase
The Twitter addict has got a personal taste of Twitter Heaven, which includes but is not limited to: meeting kick ass people, creating a personal brand, improving career prospects, reading curated links and information, staying on top of news and happenings in short bursts of plaintext, and getting help in making decisions and doing research.
Did you enjoy this? Then don’t miss out on the follow-up: The 10 Ways to Learn Twitter