Early Adopters

I went to an eLearning meet a few years ago in Cupertino. I met no one in the group before, and there were some interesting discussion on learning tools. Towards the end I asked them whether any of them blog. The strong reaction I got surprised me. “Blogs are for people who have nothing else to do” said one person. “Who wants to watch pictures of cats and dogs and read people’s rantings” said another. I was not sure what to expect, but these pre-conceived notions gave me all the signals I wanted. I never went back to their monthly meetings.

Why am I recounting this story now? Reading Why Journalists should use Twitter reminded me of that meeting.

I mentioned to a colleague of mine, who is a freelance journalist, that I’m researching an article about Twitter. “I hope you trash this service”, was his answer. “This is nothing else than verbal diarrhea.”

The early adopters are a fascinating bunch. These are the people active on Twitter, sign up for several product betas, try almost every product as time permits, read Technorati/Techmeme/ Reddit/ Digg,/eHub/ Slashdot and countless blogs. They remind me of the robot in the Short Circuit movie that keeps asking for “Input” and devours vast amounts of information.

These are great people to follow on Twitter, blogs and other forums. If you are start up, these are your little angels. They will tell you whether your product/service sucks, give you great suggestions for improvements, and if they like your product will tell everyone who may listen to them.

I still have not figured out what motivates early adopters. Is it because they have a high Curiosity Quotient? Or is it because they have a compulsion to make the world better? Or is it something else?