Does the number of Twitter followers matter?

I cannot lie: numbers do matter to me. I am always excited to see someone start following me; I know this means someone to see my work, to interact with and hopefully someone to learn something from. When people comment on my work I am encouraged.

I hope that title caught your attention.  Now that I have your attention for few a minutes, let me explain what I mean.  Listening to the Social Media Serenity podcast over the last few weeks, Cliff Ravenscraft and Eric Fisher have hashed out the key elements of Twitter influence.  Their discussion was launched by a service called “Klout” which is a self-proclaimed “standard for influence” on the Internet.  Klout provides the user with an influence score in exchange for your Twitter username.  Your Klout score is determined, at least in part, by your number of followers.

Cliff and Eric rightfully pointed out that generally the number of Twitter followers does not equal Twitter influence.  The quality, loyalty and influence of those followers are also critical.  For instance,  one person’s cultivated and dedicated group of 500 followers may have more Twitter clout than another user’s randomly collected list of 1500 followers. But can a dedicated group of twitter 500 followers have as much influence as a group of 25,000 twitter followers?  I strongly doubt it.

At some number, the sheer volume of twitter followers begins to matter.  I place this number at approximately 5,000.  Once a Twitter user rises above 5,000 followers (my arbitrary pick to establish a threshold), the user has influence based on simply the share number of people who see each tweet.  This principal does not apply to Twitter users who have achieved fame outside of Twitter and are simply extending their brand through Twitter (Ashton Kuchar comes to mind).

Whether the number of followers is important to you depends on your Twitter purpose.  If you use Twitter for fun and to connect with new people, the follower count may be of little importance.  However, if you use Twitter at least partly to brand yourself or spread word about the work you do, follower count absolutely makes a difference.  The problem is that focusing solely on numbers often comes across as hollow and vain and actually has the opposite result of decreasing the number of followers.

I cannot lie, numbers do matter to me.  I am always excited to see someone start following me; I know this means someone to see my work, to interact with and hopefully someone to learn something from.  When people comment on my work I am encouraged.  My takeaway:

The number of Twitter followers matters but Twitter influencer is not explained by numbers alone.

Does the number of followers make any difference to you?

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Cazes Roberts, PLLC in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with wife Amy and my two children, Sam (17) and David (9). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."

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