Two Lists: Why Twitter Numbers Matter, and Don’t

img_2886If you’re a Twitter user, I’m sure you’ve got a strong opinion on numbers. If you’ve blogged on it, please drop a link here. If not, let us know your philosophy on follows.

In a nutshell, here’s mine. Number matter, and they don’t matter.

As I explain, I believe most will agree.

When numbers don’t matter:

1) When you don’t have a purpose. Why should people follow you to read about how you’re trying to get more people to follow you?

2) When all your people are the same. If you’re building a niche, such as tech tweets, there really is a limited number of people that are going to give you the info, and once you reach a saturation point, your feed is going to get mighty dublicative.

3) If you never tweet. Why, oh why, would you follow 2,000 people and not tweet? (Actually, I think I know, and I’m going to start using the “block” feature more often.)

When number matter:

1) When you know what you are doing. Personally, I have a lot of fun on Twitter, but I also have activist agendas. I am openly Christian, openly pragmatically political, and a rabid advocate of culture change in American government. If you know what you want to accomplish, your follower network is important. I also want to help people, and the most needs I know of, the more chance there is I can meet one or two.

2) If you’re promoting. Really, all the “numbers matter” will come down to either influence or resource. This one falls in to the influence category, as if you’ve got a product, and idea, or a Web site to sell, the numbers truly matter.

3) If you need ideas. Crowdsourcing, while not the end-all for good ideas, is important. And if you’ve got a huge list of peeps, you can crowdsource and edit for the best. This is almost impossible if you don’t have many followers.

What would you add to these two lists?

2 thoughts on “Two Lists: Why Twitter Numbers Matter, and Don’t

  1. Adriel,

    I’m not sure numbers matter all that much. I’m relatively new to twitter (<3 weeks) and at first, I was trying to decide if it was a business tool (a la linkedin) or a personal tool (FB). In fact, I posed my dilemma of personal v. business persona to you at the very beginning. It seems like a lot of social media gurus use twitter to build numbers and perhaps use those numbers to wow potential clients. I have a small business and there might be some eventual advantage to being on twitter…meet other people in the niche, put a human face and heart on my business, but it’s also obvious to anyone who has seen my few tweets over the last 3 weeks that my business is not who I am or my sole purpose in life. I’ve enjoyed twitter so far because I’ve met some interesting people, shared some of my interests and have enjoyed the community aspect of it. So, at this point, it’s all about quality, not quantity for me. I don’t need to wow clients with massive numbers and it’s actually a nice break from my day job, where I can explore other interests.

  2. Right now twitter remains to be more of a social tool, leaning towards professional. The work I’m looking to get into right now is community management, and the numbers of followers I have on Twitter does have a factor (not the only factor, but still) in my appeal to a potential employer. It shows that I have built my own network and do obviously have experience using it. That being said, I do not go out and solicit followers just for numbers, and I am still picky about who I choose to and not to follow. And when I do follow someone, though I appreciate a follow back, I never expect one. I also regularly block spammers. Basically, though I do acknowledge that numbers matters to some degree, when it truly comes down to my Twitter Network, I abide by a quality over quantity rule.
    Whether the benefit is personal or professional, it’s never about numbers for me.

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