A quick rant from me to you, dear readers.
Yesterday I received an unsolicited email from a woman who was pitching me a service -- one totally irrelevant to my life. In her signature, in which she included what she considers her credentials, she had the statement, "More than 2,000 followers on Twitter." I gasped, somewhat in horror. I laughed, full of humor.
Twitter is fun and a great networking tool and business opportunities can stem from Twitter. I won't reiterate all of the ways because there are tons of existing resources. Yet as big as Twitter has become it's still not massively adopted. Using such a tagline in your credentials does one of two things: 1) makes schooled Twitter users laugh and 2) makes those unfamiliar with Twitter roll their eyes.
For instance, HubSpot, a really cool inbound marketing firm, runs Twitter Grader, a way that Twitter users grade the reach of their feeds and profiles based on HubSpot's super secret algorithms. It's a fun tool -- but it only measures folks against about a million or so other users (I think that's because it can only grade you against other folks who have graded themselves). It's also not the end all, be all of measuring Twitter influence.
Here's a visual (as of 9 p.m. PT on 1/27/2009):
See the above? I am popular on Twitter. Yet I still get up and go to work every day. I still sleep well past when I should be going to the gym. I still sweat over looming performance reviews. I still learn and grow and change with every single one of the folks who read me and to whom I provide information. Having a lot of followers on Twitter does not necessarily mean that you have some extensive amount of business savvy (I wrote about this last month). And, as I said to someone at an event last week, if you flaunt your numbers you just come across as an egomaniacal dork. Not to mention, once you take your followers for granted you are no longer listening -- which violates the very base notion of social media in the first place.
Twitter does not determine your level of influence. It's a vehicle for influence. Most major influencers on Twitter were influencers long before they received a mass following. Look at Leo Laporte, Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, et al. They came in as influencers and now have massive followings that show merely a shadow of the people they reach beyond Twitter.
This is not to say that those folks with only 25 followers cannot be influencers in their own right. Chances are people are following you because they care what you have to say. Just don't run around bragging about it. Be authentic, be yourself, grow your network and give back.
I love my Twitter network. My aggravation over the ego and popularity contest that sometimes comes with Twitter numbers doesnot diminsh my appreciation for the folks who follow me or who I follow. Yet I refuse to get caught in a race. You should, too. Oh, and if you follow me, say hi. I will follow you back immediately.