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The 5 cliques of Twitter

OPINION

February 20, 2014|By Jessica Galliart, @jessicagalliart

When you spend more than half of your day looking at or aggressively typing out tweets -- because it's, you know, your job -- you often find yourself asking things like, "Who ARE these people?"

Only 14 percent of the adult population uses Twitter, according to Pew Research Center, but on any given day, you'll undoubtedly cross paths with at least 78 different kinds of human beings, for better or for worse. Many of these people can be clumped together into stereotypical subsects if you really give it a try.

Segue to ...

New study! After analyzing thousands of conversations on Twitter, Pew identified six types of Twitter archetypes, or networks, and what they are discussing. The report is fairly scientific-y and identifies networks like "Divided" (two polarizing crowds mostly discussing politics, though not with each other) and "Clustered" (focused on timely topics and current events).

Thanks, science, but if you really want to understand Twitter from a casual user's perspective, you really only need to know about a few subsects of the Twitter wasteland. Here are some of the conversations I've noticed in my six-plus years falling down the rabbit hole:

Aggro Twitter

I hate Tuesdays, too! The media is what's really wrong with society and we need to burn it to the ground!(!!) Let's start commiserating openly on Twitter about how much we hate our jobs! Everyone's done it, of course, but for some, this revolving, aggressive conversation is pretty much it. I personally prefer it to a passive aggressive conversation, though, which actually leads us to ...

In-fighting Twitter

These people suck and should be dumped as friends immediately. This type of conversation comes from the tight friend groups whose members are all on Twitter mainly to communicate with each other and nobody else. So when beef erupts within it, the passive aggressive tweets, retweets and "favorites" start to fly. Folks just outside of the circle begin to wonder what's going on, but "just want to stay out of it." Back and forth, back and forth, until someone eventually blocks everyone and the whole thing drops off the face of the earth. Just give up and start a Tumblr, damn.

Weird Twitter

In which some bots and real people type out nonsensical things, press send and then retweet each other on a loop until they cannibalize each other.

Megaphone Twitter

Look at me! Click my link! Is anybody out there? ... Hey? A combination of stream-of-consciousness tweeting and promotional messaging, Megaphone Twitter is basically harmless, if not pointless. It's that conversation you have every time you see that one friend who is incapable of talking about anything other than himself or herself.

Porn Twitter

I recently sat behind a guy on the Blue Line aggressively looking at cleavage pics on Twitter. There are literally millions of other ways to get porn on your phone. But Twitter? It's undoubtedly a good promo tool for folks in the business, so, I get it. But the funny part about this is that the "conversation" is totally one-sided and consists exclusively of someone sending photos and someone else gawking at them. Whatever gets you through the day, I guess.

JESSICA GALLIART IS REDEYE'S SOCIAL MEDIA LADY

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