Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

img_2976I’m always hearing all these analogies about Twitter:

Twitter is like your inner monologue.”

“Twitter is like one big status update on Facebook.”

“Twitter is like an indie rock show.”

“Twitter is like passing notes in school.”

“Twitter is like Montreal.”

“Twitter is like sex, everybody does it differently.”

“Twitter is like reading the ramblings of a crazy person.”

“Twitter is like the neighborhood bar of the industry.”

“Twitter is like wandering around at a cocktail party.”

Now all these musings are fine and good. But after just barnstorming Twitter for several months, I think I’ve got a better analogy.

Twitter is neighborhoods in a global community.

It’s global community, where you can seek out just about whatever you want, whether it’s red light districts, product launches, Bible studies, bars, classrooms, political rallies or community meetings. Like any community, a wave and a smile can make someone’s day.

So what are all these other analogies?

Let’s consider. A community has all kinds, right? I think most people get to niche focused and forget that Twitter takes all kinds. So, as in all life, you’ve got some standard archytpes. I’m only going to name a few names here, but you can fill in the blanks.

Mack daddies: These are the “social media experts” who stay up to late or drink a bit too much and start tweeting around for dates.

Small town mayors: Like @chrisbrogan, these are the folks who know how to build a community around themselves. Chris remembers how many kids people have and where their nearest Starbucks. And if he doesn’t remember, he tags them so it looks like he does. This guy is SO the mayor of Twitter.

Showmen/women: This would be the guy or gal who get up on the stage at the town hall talent show and just wows. Everybody loves ’em. I’d put @unmarketing, @kimsherrell and @garyvee in this category.

The bloviater: Every community and neighborhood has someone you wish would just stop talking. Maybe that’s me for you, and I’m thinking of a few other names right now. Luckily, it’s easier to walk away on Twitter than it is in real life.

The barfly: This tweep really does think Twitter is a cocktail party.

The BFF: All over Twitter. I love these people. Way more of them on Twitter than in my real neighborhood, actually.

The cool neighbor: You might not talk much, but they’ve always got a second to say something nice. Almost an @dannybrown, but Danny helps out a little more than this archetype (“really cool neighbor”?).

Codgers: This would be the person you wave at passing on the street and they act like you’re not even there.

Too cool for school: Still in high school, still cooler than everybody. Still a jackass, and now you don’t care.

What other categories would you add? What do you think of Twitter as neighborhoods in a global community?

20 thoughts on “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

  1. Great post!
    I would humbly add only the following.
    The clueless: Those who feel they need to shout at the rest of us and are not interested in carrying on a meaningful 2-way (or n-way) communication.

  2. What a fun topic, Twitter is my global neighborhood your description of the archtypes is pretty spot on. We have some “Bullies” you know the ones who think they know everything. I have been attacked by a couple of these tweeps it starts out like a debate but it is really an argument in disguise. I am all for a good debate but when I start getting trashed they get blocked. I also think we have a couple of “Rebels with a cause” in our neighborhood; you and Mr. Sting fit that profile. I also see several “cheerleaders” who somehow send me a hey you can do it when they did not even know I needed that. I really underestimated the value of the cheerleader in high school.

    I am trying to explain Twitter to my friends all the time, hen they just don’t get what I am saying I tell them to just do it! Once they get on here they will either love it or hate it but either way I think they will benefit from the twitter neighborhood.

  3. @larryroth – Really, this is why I only follow big guys who follow back. Because, are they that smart? The answer is generally no. If I’m going to sit through a series of lectures, I want a degree at the end!
    @inspectorwatts – “bullies,” “cheerleaders” and “rebels with a cause” are all great additions. Thanks!

  4. Hmm, I don’t know Adriel – I think there’d be a few that say I hover around the bar too much (especially after Podcamp Toronto!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Fun idea and nice way to analogize – look forward to seeing new additions by your readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Of course, then you have the Police – these peeps that tell everyone how to use Twitter, even though there are no real rules ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I hope Danny’s policing comment wasn’t about me. I’m more like the lone guy on the street corner taking pictures of the police and wondering where they’ll go next…

  6. Some other assorted and sordid types:

    The Guy With a Coat Full of Rolexes: Following 1378, Followed by 48. Wants to tell you about a great way to become rich without working, just follow this link.

    ee kerouac: stream of consciousness with no capitalization or punctuation the formation of every thought detailed in exquisite detail

    The Librarian: A font of knowledge and always willing to share. Ask her a question and if she doesn’t know, she points you in the right direction to find out.

    The Neighbor’s Hyperactive Kid: Wants to talk about everything under the sun and isn’t very good at editing his thoughts. Every other tweet is a link, link quality varies widely and link topics shift like the sequence of digits in Pi. Never learned how or when to end a conversation.

  7. Cool nomenclature! Heeey, wait a minute…

    How do we know @adrielhampton is the real Adriel — Hampton — not a fake Dalai Lama?

    FAKE DALAI LAMA: one who covets notoriety, but refuses to go through years of school, hard work at ridiculous jobs, embarrassing failures and misadventures (that may or may not include REHAB!) only to discover they still have to *FART and pay taxes like er’body else.

    Thankyouverymuch (I’ll be here all week!)

    *FART is a reference to that tweet where somebody got wind of the fact that Nancy Pelosi has gas.

  8. Great additions from the comments would be Cheerleaders, Bullies and Rebels…I like Librians, though I call them Encyclopedias. There are also Eyeyors – everything is hopeless to them as opposed to Tiggers who are better known as Passionistas – they just get your excitement through their enthusiasm. Great post!

  9. Twitter is like “a little birdie told me”. It’s like some great info that you want to get around the web quickly so that everyone can share…So Twitter me anytime…

  10. I’m not sure I can articulate this clearly but here goes. For me there’s a “Oh my God, I’ve got a doppelganger” Twitterer. When I see this person’s Tweets, I wonder if I sleep-tweeted because the 140 characters are exactly what I wanted to get down. And what’s amazing when I think about it, is that actually its not a doppelganger, but a real flesh and blood person who probably lives on the otherside of the world and yet through this medium could become someone I am interested in and care about. If that happens enough times to enough people, imagine what kind of a world we could end up with.

  11. Adriel, sorry I put my email address incorrectly and came back to fix it as I want the post updates. Hope this has worked.

  12. Pingback: 14 of My Fav Blog Posts - Treasures from Below Dreck « Adriel Hampton

  13. We’ve all seen the “Paul Revere” type, always warning of impending doom. News barkers.

    We should also have an appropriate name for the celebrities who are simply sitting on their @name without tweeting, and the thousands of waiting fans following said (empty) celebrity Twitter.

  14. Just curious Mr. Modesto. Have you ever been to Montreal? I’m reading on Wikipedia that Modesto is the sixteenth largest city in the state of California, with an estimated population is over 200,000. Area is plagued by some of the worst air quality in the nation. Sounds nice. Just reading on Wikipedia also that Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. [Seriously, I didn’t know that.] In 2007, Forbes Magazine ranked Montreal as the 10th cleanest city in the world. [In winter especially, it’s wonderful to take a deep long breath.] Montreal was ranked 16th in a list of the world’s 25 most liveable cities, contributing factors included a strong arts community. That’s true. [I lived there for 20 years.]
    So if Twitter is like Montreal, it’s definitely not because of the spoken language. I would like to see more French on Twitter. But it could be because it is a nice loveable city, not too small, and not too big, with a fantastic artistic milieu.

  15. The great thing about Twitter is that like the Great Chain of Being, it can swallow all analogies, similes, and metaphors whole. They all work.

    I like the dynamic of how the imagined likenesses proliferate, like Twitter itself!

    Tonight, for example, I’m on a saxophone kick. Twitter requires you blow a jazz solo not to exceed 140 notes!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s