Twitter: givers, takers and lovers

As far as I can tell, there are three types of Twitter account.  (I purposely didn’t use the phrase Twitter user, because I reckon there are many people out there with multiple accounts.)  The three types are: givers, takers, lovers.

Givers are people who use Twitter solely to tweet, but don’t read other people’s stuff.  Their number of followers will generally be a similar number to the number of people they follow.  A good example of a giver, as it were, is @BarackObama who, at the time of writing, was following 764,329 people, and had 972,597 followers.  I would hazard a guess that the president doesn’t sit down to find out what his 764,329 friends have been up to.  @StephenFry is also a proverbial giver, following over 50,000 people, but I strongly believe he has another, more personal account with which he keeps up to date with the few people he wants to keep up with.

Takers are those who read stuff, but don’t tweet so much.  They will be following lots of people but won’t necessarily have lots of followers, and are unlikely to have many updates.  These are largely made up of the spammers of this world, and often result in closed twitter accounts.

Then there are the lovers.  They’re unselfish, giving as well as taking.  They have a more discerning list of people they follow.  They might have lots or few followers, but they tweet regularly and they follow a sufficiently small set of people to physically be able to follow them.  @lilyroseallen is a lover, following 17 people but being followed by 165,766.  I am too, following a few more than Lily, but also being followed by one or two less.

And that’s pretty much it.

I’ve often wondered how people get so many followers.  I conclude that they do so either by being famous or by following others and relying on reciprocal behaviour.  I’m not famous, and I don’t want to go following lots of randomers on the off chance that they’ll “follow me back”, because then I won’t be able to read the stuff that I care about from the people I want to follow.  So I’m quietly contented with the 66 people following me.  Hello everyone!


4 Responses to “Twitter: givers, takers and lovers”

  1. Francis Shanahan on April 25th, 2009 15:35

    Don’t forget the opportunists. e.g. @TweetARun – I use @TweetARun to publish updates about the Service. Whenever I add a new feature I tweet on this account.
    E.g. did you know you can get beautiful Flash charts that are embeddable in your blog? e.g

    It’s purely opportunistic to build a community around TweetARun (7 legit runners and counting…)

    Then there are the “Passthroughs” – which is me personally @FrancisShanahan. I joined Twitter in Autumn of 2008 purely because I can update Twitter and it’ll pass through status updates to Facebook.

  2. Nick Robinson on April 25th, 2009 23:08

    I’m currently experimenting with it myself – will it be a good place to publish the daily themes I set for myself? – let’s see. I also like being able to keep up with a few people I like and who have something to say.
    Liked your categories but I think, as I’m only following a few people I want to keep in touch with and posting my themes plus the odd announcement, that I must be a ‘lonely, opportunistic lover’!
    Amusingly, in the few weeks since I started, three people have separately begun following me then stopped again when I canceled my reciprocal following of them.
    Oh, and I’ve looked for @tangentailramblings and @osirra but can’t find yours…?

  3. Dan on April 26th, 2009 12:32

    Givers, takers, lovers and opportunists wouldn’t’ve sounded quite as appealing as a post title 😉

  4. slatfatf on April 28th, 2009 13:45

    Why not categorize the users. They appear to come in 2 flavors

    1) The lonely. People who track other people’s activities because they have no life of their own. It makes them feel like they have friends.
    2) The egotistical. People who think that anyone is truly interested in THEM and not because the subscriber are wanting to be associated with the famous and apparently popular simply because it makes the subscriber feel special. See 1)

Leave a Reply