Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The attraction of tweeters

I have already written a blog about Twitter and social media, so I won't repeat the contents or ideas I have already described. Instead, I would like to focus on the attraction some twitterers have. I am not talking about celebrities, CEOs and the like, as by and large they have large numbers of followers as a consequence of their status.

Ashton Kutcher, who was the first person to achieve one million followers, did so on the back of his celebrity status. Without wishing to seem overly critical, it was certainly not because of his inspirational or informative tweets, as by and large, they are pretty self serving and self indulgent.

I also do not wish to repeat the plentiful advice given by so many others in how to increase your following count. Instead, I am more interested in the attraction of non celebrity twitterers. People who are not famous, are not celebrities, and do not own or run a business. In essence, I am talking about the vast majority of twitterers. The Ordinary Joe's of Twitter. Since I joined Twitter, I have been impressed by the large numbers of followers these non celebrity twitterers attract.

Why do some people attract such large followers? What is different about these people that separates them from the vast majority of twitterers? Some people simply don't 'get' Twitter. They fail to see what it's about, and therefore fail to harness its elegant, simple, yet powerful means of bringing people together. To mis-understand or fail to grasp what Twitter is about, is to miss a great opportunity to interact with large numbers of people.

During my time twittering, the Ordinary Joe's who have amassed large followers seem to share the following traits:

  • They follow back. They are not Twitter snobs. By following more people back, they form more connections. This is an exponential increase in followers, where each new follower puts you in touch with a whole new set of followers. A large network can quickly amass by simply following more people back. However, this comes at the cost of becoming more difficult to manage, and so there is a trade off between generating more followers versus manageability.
  • They engage and communicate with their followers. Rather than simply tweeting links and information into the void, they respond and interact with their followers. They reply to them, and hold conversations with them. It's always a really nice feeling to get a reply from someone on Twitter. They have taken the time to read and respond to your tweet, and are willing to engage with you.
  • They share good links and information. They post useful, informative or interesting links. Unfortunately, there is no definition for what constitutes as useful, informative or interesting!
What sets these twitters apart is really down to the fact that they have grasped the concept of social media, and Twitter specifically, and are willing and able to engage with those that follow them. As I said in my earlier blog about social media, it all comes down to connecting people.

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