Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 13, 2009
As y’all know, I’m on Twitter, and if you didn’t know then you’ve probably wondered what that big blue bird on the right over there is all about.
I’ve written about Twitter more than I’d care to admit, yet there’s always something more to talk about. In this case, I’m going to talk about people who try to get as many Twitter people following them as they can.
I’ve never been one who’s thought about how many people are following me. Some folks get really obsessed about it, then turn around and say they want to start unsubscribing from people who aren’t following them back, who aren’t saying anything, and many other reasons. I know there were certain people I wanted to follow specifically, mostly friends, and a couple of relatively famous people, but otherwise, I’ve just kind of let it grow as it grows. I’ve never really even thought about trying to get it to grow, and couldn’t think of a reason why I might want to.
Then I read this post by Scott Allen titled 5 Reasons Why You Need Lots Of Twitter Followers Now And How To Get Them, and I started thinking about it some more. In general, Scott’s main premise is that having lots of people following you helps you get your message across and helps you gain in popularity, which could be a big deal if you’re hoping to get known by lots of people for the ultimate success of your business or career. He makes some really good arguments, and I hope you go over and read the article, just to see how someone else thinks about it if nothing else.
So, I started thinking about this premise from a different direction. One of my long term goals is to be a professional speaker and presenter, and to get that done one has to be somewhat known. Well, if you’re better known, you’ll make more money per presentation. But is Twitter really the way I want to get there?
Scott shared this site called Twitterholic, which tracks the top 100 Twitter people as it pertains to followers, and I have to admit that I was stunned by some of the numbers. I can understand CNN news alerts being at the top of the list, but Ashton Kutcher being number two with over 730,000 followers, which is a phenomenal number. How many people is Ashton following; 60, that’s it. The person with the lowest number of followers on the list has almost 164,000 of them; that person is only following 34 people back.
In the end, that’s one reason why I think I’m going to stick with doing it my way. I’m not following as many people that are following me, but I’m right on the verge of 1,000 people. I actually talk to some of the people I follow, and they talk to me. I’ve always thought about the internet as an interactive agent, a chance for me to learn things by research, but also a chance for me to learn about people, and about myself, by having the opportunity to meet some of them.
Numbers for numbers sake, other than money, means nothing to me. If I get 200,000 people following me by means that aren’t necessarily natural, then did any of those people take the time to figure out who I am, decide that they actually like some of what I have to say, enjoyed talking to me, and, ultimately, retweets and shares some of what I have to say to them? And if they’re not sharing anything I offer on Twitter, then is it really helping me to have more numbers just because, as is said in every other venture, the more numbers one has, the more opportunities there are that someone will discover you and share information about you?
Possibly, but it’s not for me. I had my own little bit of notoriety a few days ago when someone wrote a Twitter post about how restaurants in the NYC area don’t always treat minorities properly, and I shared my own experience with a restaurant in Westchester County that irritated me to no end. Within the next two hours, my post was retweeted 9 times; I found that phenomenal, but also illuminating.
When people are touched in some way with what you have to say, they’ll share it with others. I get many requests from followers every day, so I figure I’m doing well doing things my way. Of course, though I still don’t know why so many people are following me, I still have my list of people who I don’t want to follow on Twitter, and it still seems to be appropriate.
But, for those of you who Twitter, you may have your own thoughts on all of this. Feel free to share.