Is there an “in crowd” on Twitter?

I was lucky. I started on Twitter when it was still new, and just being on Twitter was a reason to connect to someone else.

By some accounts, it’s a different story now. In many ways Twitter is a busy, crowded marketplace with people struggling to get attention.

But Twitter wasn’t designed as a marketplace; it was designed as a person-to-person social network. The problems seem to arrive when we have a message to get across, or something to sell.

In a recent workshop where we were getting people onto Twitter for the first time, I tweeted:

“New tweeters … would you say it’s hard work to break in to the ‘in crowd’ on Twitter?”

I got some fascinating responses.

“What in crowd?”

The vast majority of responses asked “there’s an in crowd?” This was a mixture of people new to twitter and seasoned tweeters, and some of the responses were pretty funny:

(er, ignore the “rooftop” message … another benefit of Twitter, multiple conversations at once!)

Only two or three people said it was a bit hard at first:

Great analogy. And yet one of the secrets of Twitter success is in the tweet above from @spdalton: “…everyone I’ve met has been super nice and friendly.” Twitter works best when it combines with real-life meetings, whether that’s a one-to-one coffee meeting, or a more festive atmosphere like a Tweetup.

That’s the beauty of social media. It’s part of an ecosystem where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You’ll likely end up knowing the same people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and in real-world events. Social media just allows you to have more conversations in more different ways.

What if you live in Eketahuna or outside the country you want to reach? It’s harder but not impossible, and requires a bit more online time.

Rule 1: There are no rules. Just relationships. But here are a few tips:

  • Find conversations where you have something of genuine value to add, that doesn’t involve selling your product. It’s counterintuitive, but you earn more trust when you just offer value and don’t stand to gain anything immediately.
  • Click through to people’s profiles to learn more about them, including where they are, their bio and website link. Also make sure your profile gives people enough info about you – it really makes a difference because there are no other ways to get a fix on who you are.
  • Take a long-term view. People buy from people they like, and how long does it take for someone to like you. Not five minutes. But not five years, either. Build relationships and look after people you connect with. As Zig Ziglar says, if you help other people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.
  • Ask for help. (But get to know people first). If you’re just learning Twitter, and there’s something you don’t understand, ask your followers for help. Or, ask for opinion. That’s how this blog post came about; I asked my followers’ opinions.

So is there an in crowd on Twitter? Not if you follow the advice above.

How about you? How did you find your groove in Twitter – or are you still trying to? Or worse still, has Twitter not worked out for you? Love to hear your comments below.

(Photo from It’sGreg. Did you know ducks were inherently amusing?)

3 thoughts on “Is there an “in crowd” on Twitter?

  • Kim Raggett

    Nicely said 🙂 Though would just like to add, that personally have found that I connect with different people on different social media platforms. Eg. am more likely to meet new friends on Twitter, while tend to keep up to date with those I have meet offline on Facebook and stick with business contacts on Linkedin. Though that is not say there are not people who transcend two or more of the social media platforms I participate in.
    And yes I agree, all the people I have meet on Twitter have been super nice and great people 🙂

  • Simon Young

    Thanks Kim, great comment. Yes I heard someone say that Twitter is where we find new friends online, while Facebook is where we find old friends online. It’s probably slightly different for each person, which just makes it more interesting.

  • Robbie Mackay

    Great post..
    I think the great bit about twitter is that there are lots of different ‘in crowds’.. vaguely defined groups based on the followers of people you already know (or know of).

    Personally I found it easy to get to know a lot of web devs and other online industry people through twitter and tweet ups. But that was early on. Later I found bigger tweetups a little odd because I was mixing with people I had nothing in common with.

    It also very much depends on how much time you’re putting in.. I’ve gotten busier and have less time to get to know people through twitter now. That said I still manage to get to know people a few new people when I have a chance, just not so many at once 😀


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