I’m old enough to have used an address book and still have a Rolodex on the phone table. When I actually sit down and think about the people with whom I have reasonably regular ‘quality’ contact in a 3 month period, either electronically or face to face, it probably amounts to no more than a hundred or so. I guess it’s safe to say that in the world of networking I’m a ‘quality over quantity’ sort of fellow. I’ve never been a great collector of large numbers of business cards or people details – collections are fine for stamps, coins and locomotive numbers but are kind of creepy for people. 🙂
Back in the late 1990s / early 2000s I used a networking site called Ecademy – I stopped after a while because it seemed that people were making contact with you purely from a sales oriented viewpoint. Allow me to explain – if I’m interested in AI, and someone brings something to my attention that’s even vaguely related to the field – that’s cracking! That’s exactly what I’m there for – and hopefully I’ll be able to reciprocate. On the other hand, if someone steams in with a ‘Hi, I’m Fred, I’m in marketing, blah, blah, blah’ I get the feeling I’m receiving a boilerplate message which is likely to end up as a boiler room selling attempt. The site seemed to encourage numbers of contacts over quality – and that’s one of the reasons why I eventually jacked it in.
I’ve noticed in recent days that I’m being followed by people who are following thousands of others. And the odd thing is most of them appear to be selling something that is as relevant to me as a comb to Sir Patrick Stewart. The ‘Bio’ of one such follower (soon to be ex-follower in my daily purge) – “A Business Dedicated to providing free online MLM training videos, articles, books and webinars”. If I received an email like this I’d call it spam – pure and simple. I know that Twitter has policies around spam, but my point is that most folks following 20,000 people seem to be in the MLM, ‘sales and marketing’, ‘social media consultancy’ sort of areas. They’re cold calling – they sure ain’t networking.
Bottom line – there is NO WAY, realistically, that the content generated by the 20,000 people these bods follow is ever registering in any meaningful manner with these people – I assume it’s simply being harvested electronically and searched for keywords that might suggest a sales lead.
Joe’s categorisation of Twitter users…
- Vast number of followers, smallish number of followed – publisher / celeb.
- Vast number of followers, vast number of followed – probably sales / mass marketing
- Smallish followers, large number of followed – probably spammer
- Smallish followers / smallish followed – personal / business networking
OK – it’s not a brilliant classification but it works for me. Just watch out if you’re in category 2 or 3 ‘cos I’m binning you!
Whilst I was drafting this yesterday, I came across this piece on the same topic: http://juliorvarela.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/when-twitter-numbers-are-meaningless/
Don’t get too hung up on your numbers on Twitter. If you’re following lots of people, just check WHY. Do they add value to your day? Amuse / entertain you? Educate you? Guide or enlighten you? If not, ditch ’em. And those following you – just take a look at their numbers and think about what I’ve said.
And I hope you don’t chuck me off your lists. 🙂