It makes me sad, and honestly a bit frustrated, that we are still debating quantity vs. quality when it comes to the number of followers any given person has amassed.
Part of the reason we are still having this discussion is because there is still a large percentage of the population, in our single serving, fast food, news in 60 seconds world, that has lost the ability to look below the surface. They see a person with 10,000 followers and say “wow, they must be really important and influential.” — And thus, the virus spreads.
I’ve personally witnessed people with tens of thousands of followers who have had very little impact on their community, they Tweet….and…..nothing….happens. I’ve also witnessed people with a small number of followers but when they Tweet, something amazing happens, their words create conversation, their words create action, their words drive change, not only within their immediate network but within the networks of their friends and those of their friend’s friends.
To help illustrate how this works, I’m going to compare Twitter followers, and their ability to create conversation (chain reaction),to nuclear fission.
NOTE: Please don’t get caught up in the technical details of uranium and nuclear fission, I’m not a nuclear physicist, this is simply an example that helps illustrate the impact of Twitter followers and their ability to create a conversation (chain reaction).
Let’s first take a look at an example of someone who has created a large network of followers, built of both those followers who are highly engaged, high quality (Illustrated as Uranium-235 isotopes, which can sustain a chain reaction) and those followers who are unengaged, low quality (Illustrated as Uranium-238 isotopes, which are unable to sustain a chain reaction).
When this person Tweets, their unengaged network fails to create much conversation and the chain reaction quickly dies before many people are impacted.
Now, let’s look at an example of someone who has slowly grown a network made up of high quality followers, those followers who are highly engaged, highly likely to influence others.
When this person Tweets, their highly engaged network creates a lot of conversation, the chain reaction expands outside of their immediate network, and they have effectually made change happen.
Who do you want to be, the person whose word has real impact or the person who shouts out to a room full of mannequins?