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Why do people use Twitter? What drives them and HOW do they use it?

As I and many others have talked about, everyone has their own reasons for why they use Twitter. Relationships. Communication. Lead Generation. Reputation. Add Value. There are probably as many reasons as there are people using Twitter.

On Mashable.com, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs.com concludes her post called “Inside the Minds of Twitter Users” with this thought:

“Twitter may be used as just another lead-generation tool. Or it may be about connecting with new friends. But above all, people on Twitter are truly motivated by learning new things and getting information real-time, as it’s developing.”

The survey collects the responses of over 400 “highly involved” Twitter users who spend an average of 2 ¾ hours on Twitter per day.

The survey indicates that more people agree that they don’t care if others do not follow them back, and that they do not “feel bad” if no one responds to their tweets. Gauging the emotional responses of Twitter users through a survey of “highly involved” users skews the responses to that group, but raises interesting questions.

If the emotional boost of getting followers or communication is less of a factor, do the people who use Twitter a lot use it less for relationships and more for information? Or, have these power users already formed their relationships and personal brands as far as Twitter is concerned, so this is less of a focus?

I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point again and found it interesting that he describes Mavens as people who “want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help, [and this] turns out to be an awfully effective way of getting someone’s attention.”

If power users on Twitter are motivated by a love of information and a desire to help, then it makes sense that a survey of them would conclude that they are, as Handley writes, “truly motivated by learning new things and getting information real-time.”

While this is one use of Twitter and any social media outlet, as Twitter and all of social media evolve I continue to see exciting and creative uses for affiliate marketing and public relations- uses that are sure to expand and evolve as Twitter does.