Twitter is not a popularity contest: most followers is not equivalent to most successful

March 10, 2011

Mass friending on social media: its something that almost everyone is guilty of. You, though, could not possibly be guilty of such an offense! How proposterous, right?

Ask yourself the following questions concerning Twitter:

1. When or why did you get your Twitter? Was it for personal entertainment or was it for business purposes that could help your brand growth?

2. Who was your first follower on Twitter? Was it a family member or a friend or was it one of your brand loyalists?

3. Who did you first follow on Twitter? Was it a family member, friend, or celebrity you like or was it a member of your audience or person with similar passions?

If you chose the first answer to any of these questions, you are indeed guilty of said offense.

You don’t want to simply sit on Twitter for your own enjoyment, you will not benefit from it, nor will your followers. What you need to do, according to Patrick Thornton of, is “create a quality experience on social media that will get people to interact with you, retweet you, link to you, talk about you, and tell their friends about you.” If you do this, you will have the best chance for organic growth.

It is difficult to separate family and friends from professional social media but in the world of journalism, it is imperative to do so. Just because you have more followers than one of your colleagues does not mean you have a more successful Twitter than them. In his article “Followers (or fans or friends) are not all created equal,” Thornton offers us some advice to help us in the separation.

The following is a list of points that Thornton believes will assist us.

1. “Only follow people that you want to interact with and that would be interested in your organization or project.

2. Look for ways to be interactive. Make your tweets enjoyable for your followers so they look forward to coming to your Twitter.

3. Make sure your content isn’t all about your self. Link to or retweet articles from colleagues that relate to your interests on a larger scale.

4. Follow Thorton’s 10-5 rule: for every 10 posts that involve links to cool articles, photos, etc. or ask people questions, you should have at least five @replies to your followers.

If you strive to abide by these guidelines, you will be able to create an interactive and enjoyable experience for your audience. They will then retweet you and recommend you to their friends, allowing for fan base growth. With the fan base growth, you will have the potential to become extremely successful and truly create a beneficial experience on Twitter. That’s more priceless than proving you can have the most followers, wouldn’t you agree?

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