Yesterday, an interesting blog post went up on Loic LeMuer’s website requesting an advanced Twitter search and how you should be able to filter search results based on how many followers you have. He simply stated, “Comments about your brand or yourself coming from @techcrunch with 36000 followers are not equal than someone with 100 followers.”
I don’t want to get into the discussion about the filtering and advanced search, because I would clearly like to have some filtering features added to search.twitter.com. (And there’s already been a bunch of discussion around this…in fact, probably far too much. Take a look at what Robert Scoble had to say about the matter…and he also talks a little bit about the issues raised later in this post.)
I still think ranking by number of followers is a little odd, but that’s neither here nor there for me, because there are apparently a lot of people who will find value in that funtionality.
The conversation to be had, in my mind, is the underlying problem: the importance placed on the size of your following.
I’m not sure how each person goes about gaining followers, but I have done my best to purposefully NOT follow a thousand random people in the hopes that I’ll end up with more followers. Sure, I love seeing new followers pop up in my inbox just like the next person, but I suppose it’s even that much more meaningful to me because I’m going about this organically.
I like to think that I tweet about stuff that matters, things that add value to the greater stream, or in the least, may make someone feel good or think deeply on a subject. I hope that that is why I have new followers.
There are plenty of people I follow that don’t have a thousand followers who I feel add 10x the value of someone like Loic, whose tweets (not right or wrong, mind you) tend to be more of the personal status updating nature.
Of course, Twitter is used for a bunch of different purposes, but for me, I tend to search out people that are talking about social media, interactive marketing, design, philosophy, humor, etc. I like posts with links much more than those without, because I am largely on Twitter to learn and participate in the community, hopefully adding some value along the way.
I guess it’s just human nature to enjoy the feeling of celebrity that comes with having 10,000 people watch your every move. It’s something that a great many people are interested in attaining. And for those Twitterers/bloggers out there trying to earn a living from their time on Twitter and other social media channels, I totally understand why they think they need to grow their following by any means necessary.
I think all of us using social media are trying to increase our reach, but I hope that we’re working hard to make sure that we’re not gathering subscribers and followers just for the sake of building up the numbers.
For me, I’d much rather have a closer-knit community of people interested in furthering dialogue, conversation and cooperative learning.
So, if you enjoyed this post, please follow me on Twitter and tell 100 of your friends to do the same. I would however, love to read your comments and thoughts on the matter.