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When size matters… or not…

By 04/11/2010No Comments

Interesting debate on Mashable  yesterday on the (perceived) importance of having oceans of Twitter followers. Guy Kawasaki (300.000 followers) and Robert Scobble (145.000 followers) were putting forward their views on their Twitterville. While Kawasaki is very open in his “the more the merrier” philosophy, Scobble values targeting and dialogue more. Both men are real good (I can testify :-)) in engaging and dialoguing with their followers.

It’s a constant discussion, also in my resident Brussels scene: do you need lots of followers.  Often people with a handful of followers question the utility, reach, and usefulness of having following crowds. And rightly so. If your aim is to interact with your friends, or a couple of people in your industry, a Twitterville of between 50 and 150 is probably utterly satisfying…

But let me tell you: for me Twitter life changed dramatically at around 5000, bizarrely a figure that got backed up by Scobble and Kawasaki. Twitter behavior changes when you reach that critical mass. While cozy interaction with your fistful of important ones remains, lots of other gates are opening. There are different people, more views and viewpoints, interaction from unexpected angles, bigger crowd interaction.

True, it becomes all a bit more difficult to control. There are oceans of tweets, and more info than one can possibly handle. But some clever structuring (did I really used that word?), and the right use of helpful tools makes for great interaction.

Kawasaki and Scobble gave five points of advice. Who am I to argue ;-):

  • Aim for a reasonable goal
  • Put in some quality time
  • Choose your turf…
  • Keep your Tweets relevant
  • Respond and engage

I would add to that:

  • Be courteous. I follow everyone back. By default. I filter the bots, spammers, weirdos and callgirls out. Give credit where it is due, mind the language, etc…
  • Aim for a right mix. I try to divide my twitter stream in 3 equal parts:
    • 1/3th of content that I share
    • 1/3th of great content from my followers that I share (RT’s)
    • 1/3th of interaction and engagement…

This is a rule of thumb, and fits my twitter profile, and audience profile well. So, my point: there comes a point where size does matter. (even if it does not) 🙂 .

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