Followers: Playing the Number Games



Oh, Look! Someone just followed you on [put your favourite social network here]!

Of course, that little 'new follower' notification makes you happy - just a little; don't say no! Then, unless you're like a very celebrity-like popular kinda person, you'll probably go and check out your new follower's profile - you know, just to see who's gonna see what you post.

So, what do you see? A bunch of numbers, a follow button, maybe a biography line, and then maybe their tweets or pictures or whatever it is that network's for - of course unless their profile is private or they haven't shared anything yet.

In this post, I'm gonna talk about a specific type of people and their numbers:

#TeamFollowBack: What losers do to get meaningless followers on [not just] twitter.

Source: TagDef

If you take a closer look at their profiles, they usually have a lot of followers, but following around the same number of people (followers/followings ratio close to one). Ok, we know we can't ignore the effects of those numbers,  but we can make sense of them to determine quality, this is of course if you care about quality.

(Of course, anyone would say they care about quality, because they think that will make them look better, smarter, or more sophisticated - take your pick - but the truth is that many of them don't.)

Now, back to that [notification]. So, you earned a new follower, but is he/she ever gonna read a single word you write? Or see a picture you post? Is he/she gonna engage with your content ever?!

What I mean is that having followers is not the same as having readers. And I'm sure if you've got to this point in this post, you know which one you are, and I'm glad you're here : ) And also, you know which one you want to have. I mean 

anyone can have a follower, but

it takes quality and consistency to earn a reader.

More Followers & Less Respect

I'm not saying that the numbers are all bad. Hell, I wouldn't mind having a few more hundred followers, but not at the price of looking like a dumb cheat! I think it's much better to have 20 readers out of 200 followers, rather than having 20 readers out of 50 thousand followers! For me, it's about the engagement, rather than just the followers number.

To be completely honest, I think having many followers with no engagement, whatsoever, would even make me look stupid! I mean, for example, look at this: (oh, and by the way, after reading this, I decide to block the names - you know, less online shaming, why not?)

Followers vs Readers on Social Media
Followers vs Readers on Social Media

Look at that 'Followers' number. What's the point of having 51,600 followers if after two hours you get only 2 retweets? Basically, it means 51,598 of your followers didn't give a sh*t about what you said. That's a lot of being ignored!! I mean I'd rather have 200 followers ignore me - not 51,598! That's a lot of self-respect down the drain!

(Oh, and I know the impression rate is not 100%, but you know what I mean, right?)

Now, back to our [notification]. If someone like this caused that notification, not only it doesn't make me happy, but to me, this is insulting! I mean, it's like someone took my time to tell me:

Hey, I don't care who you are or what you write about. Follow me so I'd have one more follower; and if you don't, I'll unfollow you so you'd have one less follower!

Just think for a moment. Why would you wanna follow someone like this!? For quality content?! For hashtags?! Interesting tweets!? Beautiful pictures? Inspirational quotes? Breaking news!? What!?

As much as I don't want to talk about buying followers here, I think this is even worse than that! Because when you pay for followers, although they're useless bots, no one will notice unless they go and look through your followers, or use a tool to analyse them. But, this way, it's like a public statement of stupidity!

(Just to be clear, I'm totally against buying followers.)

There are instances when people mass follow to let others know they're on that platform, but at least they create - or curate - content. Okay, that's a little bit less annoying, but still not even remotely cool.

Bottom line is that increasing the number of followers on social media isn't something you should waste your time on, there are no real shortcuts to do it (but there are cheats and they come at a price). Oh, and by the way, paying for ads to grow the number of your followers is not cheating and it's not buying followers, because you're probably targeting potential readers, not followers.

Anyway, earning readers is worth working hard - even paying - for, but for me, this sums it up quite nicely:

Good Fast Cheap
Good Fast Cheap

Finally, to start the conversation, let me ask:

  • Where do you stand on the follower vs. reader discussion? And #teamfollowback?
  • Do you usually comment after you read a post?
  • Are you following me on Twit... LOL Man, I can't even finish that sentence!

Image credit: Creatures in My Head