Twitter – Niches, Not Follower Counts

by keif on July 2, 2009

Let me break down twitter for you. It’s been abused by Oprah and Ashton Kutcher, it’s been used in by stars to flaunt their nudity (NSFW? I guess…). It’s all the rage and no one knows why.

I use twitter quite prolifically – mostly to vent, sometimes to ask questions. I don’t use auto-follow, I don’t use any “tips or tricks” to gather “hundreds of followers in a day.” I simply use the service, blog, and tweet. Somehow, I keep getting followers – possibly because of my associations of people I talk to (tweet with) or my hash tag usage (possibly again, through people’s auto-follow based on the hash tag usage from people). I’ve played with the twitter API on an as-yet-unreleased twitter project (I’m trying to make sure I “follow the rules” and get OAUTH working). Has that got me followers? Possibly.

Twitter – It’s Your NICHE, Not Your Numbers.

The very simple key to twitter – it’s not popularity, it’s not mass following, it’s not having the most followers.

The inherent problem with twitter, is, as since the myspace days everyone felt that the more people you had “friended” the cooler you had to be. I guess this herald’s to people’s high-school days where higher numbers of friends translated into something that mattered – perhaps the inherent psychological need is filled (yes, wikipedia link, deal with it).

The problem is that people still associate greater numbers with some sort of correlation to their skill level, reputation, or validation of “social media mastering.”

Again – It’s Your NICHE

If you have 50,000 people following you, and you’re following 50,000, and twitter is averaging 221 tweets per second, how are you really reading all your beloved followers? By automated scripts, or because you aren’t a master of anything except collecting followers. This is not a reflection of “social media savvy” nor a reflection of how effective they are at whatever it is they claim they do – be it real estate, loan sharking, web development, or ESPECIALLY SEO, SEM, or Social Media in general – if you compare some of the “top ten” or “top 25″ “experts” in various blogs you’ll see one of two things – they’re either the same list with the “obvious” experts (like my list) or full of self-claimed experts that tend to have a lot of seminars/webinars to show *you* how you can have google paying you fat checks for a measly $150!

Quality is What Counts – NOT Quantity

I’m really reinforcing that quantity issue – it’s the quality of who you follow that benefits you the most, as well as the quality of your tweets. Tweeting is the new blogging – and just as people blog about their cats, their daily lives, their secrets, people twitter the same things, so you WILL see mundane tweets, from even those that tweet about subject matter you’re interested in. People you find/follow on twitter that either speak of the subject you’re interested in, answer your questions, will post links to their blogs as well as remarkable links worthy of reading. What people post is important – after all, if they share every mundane article/image/digg/Retweet it waters down their quality as well.

The First Rule of Tweet Club

You have to tweet to play (okay, not really). By no means do I consider myself a twitter master, as I still tweet fairly mundanely – it’s my way of letting off steam, 140 characters at a time. But I also follow some pretty cool people, and have found some articles worth saving, some tips worth knowing, and some people worth finding. Won’t you be my twitter neighbor?

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