A handful of the people I follow on Twitter are real-life friends. A larger group are friends I've made through blogging (but haven't actually met). Probably the largest portion I follow on Twitter are acquaintances - people I know very little about. I follow them and they follow me perhaps because of some vague connection or common interest. The only thing I really know about these people are what they say on Twitter.
And when all you know of a person are their tweets, you begin to build a mental picture in your mind, based on the kinds of things they post and their tone of voice. And because of this, I've come to notice several personality types.
Mervin is a moaner. He uses Twitter as an outlet for all his worldly grievances. He lists off all the reasons the universe has dealt him a crappy hand. Everything sucks for Mervin: love, life, money, you name it. After a while you begin to associate Merlin's profile picture with his moaning and general gloom. Later, you start to avoid his tweets, for fear he might drag you down into his den of self-pity, too.
No one likes Moany Merlin, but on the other side of the coin, Gushy Gloria can be equally infuriating. Gushy Gloria brags about her perfect life in direct or indirect ways. She boasts endlessly about her well-behaved children and touts her amazing super-woman-esque accomplishments. According to her, Martha Stewart comes to her for advice. Gushy Gloria is not just positive by nature, she's pathological.
Most bloggers tweet to let their followers know when they've just published a new blog post, if they're doing a giveaway, or if they're helping promote a brand as part of a Twitter party for instance. A certain amount of marketing for one's personal or business brand is expected - so long as those promotional tweets are balanced with some more persona tweets and interactions fellow Tweeps. But Marketing Mandy only has one thing on her mind: sell HARD. She pushes her marketing message relentlessly, shamelessly. In the end, it becomes boring. You know she's only out the to profit herself, and you begin to consider erasing her pushy tweets from your feed.
Everyone has Twitter buddies - people we tweet with more than others. But Cliquey Clara only ever seems to talk to one or two people. The message she's sending is: it's a private party and you're not invited. Eventually her followers will get the message that they're not welcome into the conversation, and will leave her well alone.
Vera is the most common type of Tweep. She writes a variety of tweets: some interesting, some not so much, some funny, some bitchy, some embarrassing, some happy, some sour, some drunk. She talks to everyone and isn't afraid to share that she's having a bad day or just burned the dinner and is feeding her kids peanut butter from the jar. She gets involved and engages in conversation.
That's my take on it - I'm sure there are many other types out there, that I haven't touched on.
But don't listen to me, because I just looked at some of my recent tweets, and it seems I'm another type: Completely Random Rachel.