As I’m writing this I have 323 followers on Twitter. Last night I had less than 300. This morning I had more than 350 – and then, one by one, the difference disappeared as I deleted used-nonce and pure noise followers. Obviously, Twitter’s request to some services to stop using auto-unfollow has not kicked in properly.
This isn’t a bad thing. Not one bit.
Get this straight. I don’t really care if you follow me on Twitter.My numbers don’t mean a thing – now. I’m just a dude who writes. I’m not a pundit or journalist like Jeff Jarvis, a massive tech god like Robert Scoble, or a marketing whiz like, well, at this point half of Twitter. I’m a participant, not a trend-setter. That’s what I’m about, that’s what I do. So I don’t really care if you follow me. But you’d better damn well bet I’ll be impressed with YOU if you respond to something I’ve said, the way Jarvis, Scoble and a few others have.
I don’t care about follower numbers because until Twitter and blogging and other things of the sort become a career instead of a hobby, I’m always going to win the engagement war against bigger stars in the social media arena. How, do you figure, that is? For the same reason that Liz Strauss and I agree Conan O’Brien won out; he didn’t forget his core audience. There’s no value in the followers metric, at all, any more. If there ever was. I care about conversation.
I can account for eight of my twenty subscribers. I speak to these eight people fairly regularly – half of them are on Twitter, and about the same number reliably hit my blog from the links I post there. Of these, two or three comment regularly. Of all of the numbers, this is what matters to me the most, because I value contribution, even when it’s small. Lots of bloggers say they live in the comments – I dream of one day having a comments section to call home.
Robert Scoble just dropped a bomb about the differing benefits of creating content versus curating content produced by others. It’s one of the best he’s done in a while, taking apart the work of going to a big event, and why following it in broader scope is an important job too. I agree – but doing this work does not help Scobleizer’s engagement. He sits at his screenbank, aggregates, and curates. A necessary job, yes, but it places him even more in the ivory tower others have built for him – it’s entirely his personality. But it makes the idea of engaging him, of insinuating oneself into his circle nearly unimaginable.
Having a massive following is great – hell, if I hadn’t engaged on Twitter, I wouldn’t ever have interviewed Mark Dykeman, Liz Strauss wouldn’t know who I was, and Steven Hodson wouldn’t be putting out perspective on my writing. It’s awesome, all of these people rock.These people are why I win.
Participation is something we can’t lose. Participants are like me, engaged, interested, involved. Meta-curators, the human aggregators, are more like Scoble. They can be very interesting people, but they’re spending so much time outside themselves, in their lists, being the activity more than the action, that the focus of what they do moves beyond participation to something bordering on obsession.
Something to think about. I’m participating – and winning, but that’s me, and my role. Some might be better served by meta-curating, as Scoble is.
Have you given any consideration to what you’re doing with your in-public presence online?
Photo by Brian Auer.