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Very well said. Engaging in meaningful conversations that create a sense of community is far more important than having tons of followers where your tweets get scrolled past link blips on a radar screen.Thanks for your insight.

Ayala Rahav

Hi Beth,
In my view context is key in for any meaningful conversation and attention management both on the social web, which I call contextivity ( context+ connectivity), and in all our interactions. I believe that the future lies in taking a holistic view of a person, and contexting the person and not a single interaction in a siloed site, and treating each individual as an Itom in a people's grid
This leads to context based social web that transcends commnuities and networks and can evolve around topical/interestbased/cause based... interactions and so create context based sub communities that are more manageable


"The bottom line is to focus on the results of your social media strategy,
don't get distracted by meaningless metrics like the number of Twitters followers."

Agreed. And I agree with 90-something % of the things
Anil and Chris observed.

However, it is not as starkly black and white as we're
now presenting it.

The folks at Twitter HQ are not idiots.
They're bright, progressive, and socially aware.
It is after all a business, not a charity or group encounter session.
While I have very little / no interest in Hollywood celebrities,
and some of what passes as popular, the masses do.
And TwHQ knew from People Search, who was being sought.

They've also tried to help causes get some attention.

But most importantly, the temporary SUL has been a learning experience for them.
The next iteration of Twitter discovery engine
will be a far better resource, creating a more fruitful
'onboarding' process for new and existing users.


Beth - I couldn't agree with you more. I've found that Twitter requires much more time and effort than Facebook or other sites - simply because it's such a conversational medium. That said, I do think that follower growth in context with other data points, can provide insight into how folks respond to your use of Twitter (unless of course, you're a recommended user).

Nat C

Well said Beth. Yes, Twitter has its uses, but fostering relationships is in my opinion not one of them. Relationship building takes time and effort. I have found the use of niche social networking sites to be helpeful in creating relationships. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jay Frost

To take a contrarian view, clickthrough rates are not necessarily the best measures of influence, even if they are one of the only ones readily available. If they were, however, then having a 0.2% clickthrough rate on 120,000 followers still means more people across a likely more diverse audience are being exposed to your message, and by extension your brand, than if 2% of 1,200 did so. It is natural that the larger the audience, the smaller the pool of individuals who will truly engage directly with the "messenger." This is true much in the same way that since there is a finite number of UNHWIs, an ever increasing donor pool yields a diminishing number of major or principal gift prospects in percentage terms. So while some of us focus on the masses and others on small "qualified" markets, I think most experienced fundraisers and marketers would agree that it's best to have both. Build a bigger pool and you'll access more potential sources of support or business in the future, although it means individual engagement may be more limited. Sometimes there will be no engagement at all but business can still result from continual exposure. Case in point: while I have never had the privilege of meeting you or hearing you speak, I have already recommended you as a possible speaker to a conference on the basis of your blog. I had never seen your blog until reading your posts on Twitter. And, in turn, I had never seen your "tweets" until seeing your name via another Twitter account which followed you. In short, the big following you have built, both through the quality list naturally attracted through your messaging and dropped on you through Twitter's recommendation, has yielded you probably dozens of people like myself who are "chatting up" your brand. That can't easily be measured through any of the techniques currently at our disposal, although some of the screening services becoming available soon will help us to refine our understanding of who is following us and how much influence they truly maintain in their own part of the Twittersphere. Until then, I'd say, "the more the merrier."


I totally agree! Building strong relationship with your followers are far more important than collecting a lot of followers with meaningless conversations.

Tracy, Velocity Fulfillment

Jon Marks

Yep, I'm with you too. Number of followers is meaningless. I think Jim Morrison had the right view of this (just before he died!).

"I will not go
Prefer a Feast of Friends
To the Giant Family"

I wrote about this and more here. Jim is the last one.


Hi Beth - It seems that the older I get, the more I often I hear "relationships matter." This is true whether you're in sales, service or any other profession. People listen to those they trust and are influenced more by those they know. Well said. RFW (@scatj)


Totally with you on this.
Relationships can and are made on Twitter when people take the trouble to get to know each other and are more willing to give than take at the outset.
It's real life, I nearly said it's just like real life, but it is an extension of social interaction through a digital media. I would prefer 10 'real' followers with whom I could 'talk' and interact with than 100,000 others peddling "teeth whitening" miracles or the Trump Network - and I'm sure that I am not in a minority here.

Erica Mills

Love, love, love this post! Couldn't agree more. Every time I get something about growing my number of followers by 8,546 in one day, I think "Why on earth would I want to do that? I wouldn't know them and wouldn't likely have much of a relationship with most (if not all!) of them, so what's the point?"

This feels akin to the qualitative vs. quantitative data debate in evaluation. Data without context is just a bunch of numbers, which isn't very useful. Combined with context, however, they take on meaning and purpose.

Thanks for yet another insightful and right on post!


I have to agree as well. Sure you should have to get to know everyone that you have following you, but Twitter is about communicating with everyone and meanwhile you see people follow and unfollow just to get noticed. what's the point in that. just because people notice that you followed them for a day won't build up any relationship on Twitter and therefore there isn't a point of being on there if you aren't going to get to know some people. :-)


I know someone who runs a twitter account with 90K plus followers- all it does it tweet links from RSS feeds- that account gets about 1% rate of click throughs, compared to my account, which has 2,300 followers- which I get anything between 5%-15% clicks on links I tweet, the highest click through rates are always on links to my own articles or blogs.

I'd know which percentage I'd rather have :)

I also know that I get a higher click through rate because of the relationships I build with people who follow me.

So yep. good article, I totally agree!


my understanding about twitter is to "connect" more or less with people you admire or have impression about i.e positive .people who are interesting to you ( like Dr Phil) if you like quick fix therapy which we all need from time to time. But it is complex because things happen so fast around the world and of course you are busy. It is nice to know there are many people like you and smarter and there is opportunity to learn so much.


With such a powerful word as "Follower" what do you expect?

Human beings are blissfilly simple creatures, the prevailing reasoning is, "the more followers I have, the more important I am". One of the first things anyone (including you, ..yes you!) does when viewing someones profile one Twitter is checking out the number of followers the person has in order to size them up since there's little else to go by, its sad but very true.

What amazes me the most is that we chase after followers without considering what quality of content we're going to feed them when we have them.

Personally, I think the feed I get (people I follow) carries a little more weight than the feed I deliver (people that follow me).

Though I'm quite mindful of the the quality of content I put out there, I find myself slightly more focused on (and constantly tweaking) the streams I receive.

For most, Twitter is a soapbox, for a few it's an info service.

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