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Tag: Getting followers

 

Contests are a really useful way of drawing traffic and attention to a site. They can be used to launch a product, a site, a television show… You, of course, know all this since so many companies utilize them in order to get subscriptions, feedback, reviews, tweets, whatever. They gain potentially a very large amount of publicity (at times) for a small amount of money.

 
But let’s disregard that. I think contests are fun. I’ve won a handful during my lifetime and that was always exciting (even if I didn’t want the prize).

 
The very first ‘modern’ site I created is a book and movie review site (I’m not considering the sites I created in the mid 90s nor the eCommerce-type sites I created for work). This site is still up and running – it’s the site I put the most effort into, but, unfortunately, is practically abandoned. The problem is that even though it has quite a lot of dedicated followers (and a Facebook group), it is simply not worth the time I put into it: no ad or any form of monetization seemed to work and I just couldn’t afford working on it.

 
At the time I thought of running weekly contests. I never finalized the details, but I thought of sending a book (of choice) to the person who will write the most interesting book review, which I could use. I thought it would be a good way of getting content, even if somewhat expensive, but more importantly, it would be fun! BUT I was too busy so I never did it.

 
Several conversations I had recently made me feel like running such a contest again. This time, here, on my blog. However, I am still unsure about the details. Nor am I sure I want to go ahead with it.

 
I figured, why not use the blog itself to get answers to my dilemma? At the moment I’m considering that in order to participate in the contest a person will have to:

  • Sign up to my blog newsletter (he can always unsubscribe later).
  • Tweet about the contest
  • Leave a comment that he’s signed up
  • And that sort of thing. Nothing that requires any effort or commitment.

In exchange, I’ll help the winner get 3,000 followers – actually, almost certainly more – in about 10-12 days (I don’t want to commit myself to a certain number of days because this largely depends on the starting point: a brand new user is definitely harder). If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you probably know I’m pretty good at getting many followers, and quickly too ;)

 
For some people this might be trivial. For others uninteresting – many people don’t want more followers. However, I know people who both want more followers but don’t know how to get them. Often they are “stuck” at the 2,000 Twitter follower barrier.

 
A friend of mine said that people might think there’s a catch. No catch. The thing I will gain is potentially more traffic to this blog and have fun. Furthermore, it would involve some work on my end; I wish I could wave a wand and make an account suddenly have 3,000 extra followers – but I’m not Ashton Kutcher, you know (for me he’ll always be the king of Twitter! You hear this, Britney??). Also, obviously I’d need to know the user’s password to arrange this, but he/she can change it every day and let me know, whatever. I truly don’t care.

 
If people think this is a good idea, I’d also need to determine a way to pick the winner. Could be random, could be another criteria, like, coming up with the funniest Twitter Jail joke (a trend I began at the time!). Frankly, I’m undecided.

 
Is this ‘prize’ worth it? You tell me. Let me know your thoughts. I really like the idea of running a contest but as I said, still fine-tuning the details. I only want to do this if other people think this could be fun too.

 

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mass unfollowing

Unsurprisingly, there are various approaches to follower attraction and – for lack of a better word – follower removal. Some people, and I believe these are the people Twitter originally aimed to attract, just naturally meet people. Follow those whose tweets interest them and unfollow those whose tweets do not.

 
Another group of people are similar to the above, but they aim to gain as many followers as possible. I admit to belonging to this group, primarily because it gives me a much greater audience to this blog as well as significantly more opportunities for interaction and meeting people (it’s also so easy so why not do it?).

 
A third group aims to gain as many followers as possible since every follower is a potential buyer. If you have 50,000 followers, and you try and sell something, even if 0.1% on average buy, then it’s still 50 people – which is a lot if you compare it to other ad models (i.e. PPC).

 
The philosophy behind following and unfollowing is clearly intertwined. If you’re in Twitter and truly only care about interaction, then there’s no reason for you to care if you are being unfollowed (unless this offends you).

 
If you try and gain as many followers as possible, then you’re fully aware of the fact that if you don’t follow someone back (reciprocal following), there’s a good chance he’ll stop following you very soon. So often you see people who follow roughly the same number of people who follow them.

 
Personally, I believe that only those who offer truly unique and interesting tweets can expect someone to follow them and not need to follow back. For example, if you’re a celebrity (I covered this in greater detail in my post, Why Do People Follow Celebrities?) then your life is deemed interesting to your followers even if it’s completely mundane.

 
But even if you’re not a celebrity, but say, are a very funny guy or a very interesting person (i.e. Iconic88, one of Twitter’s treasures), then it also likely that people will continue following you because of who you are and what you say.

 
Alas, for most people, that is not the case. A while ago I looked at the tweets of some people I consider celebrities or experts in their respective fields. Although they may be interesting, even fascinating, in real life, their tweets are, how shall I say it, not really interesting. They often deal with the uninteresting trivia of their life (i.e. I don’t particularly find interesting what William Shatner had for lunch). It may be fun and exciting to interact with them, but normally these people also don’t interact with their followers – don’t respond to their followers’ comments, etc. I’m not just talking about people with millions of followers, but also those with a far smaller number. Some even have fewer followers than I have (and I always respond to anyone who attempts communication – not talking about DMs which are really unusable).

 
For the sake of fairness, I’m not sure how many people would continue follow me if I did not follow them back. I almost always tweet articles from my blog, other articles I find interesting, retweets of articles other people found interesting, blip my favorite music, and generally chat the vast majority of my time – or better phrased “interact with my followers” ;-) ). So I assume if I were to, say, unfollow 90% of my followers, a great number would unfollow me. I also think it’s not unfair.

 
This brings me to an interesting question: so assuming one is not a celebrity or someone whose content greatly appeals to the masses. What would happen if he or she were to unfollow most of their followers? Let’s try and see.

 
Recently I was unfollowed by three people I was following for a long while. When I looked at their follower charts (as I like doing, since there’s always something I find interesting in this data) I noticed that all three did a mass unfollow. Note that this seems to be somewhat of a recent trend since some companies pay people who tweet and their ratio of followers to followees is one factor in determining the price they can demand (supposedly, the greater the ratio, the more of a celebrity you are – which actually does make sense).

 
Since I don’t want to mention any names, I’ll bring the follower charts of these three. If you have any guess who they might be, please do not comment below as I will edit the names out. This is not meant to be a personal criticism of anyone. Really.

 


 

As you can see, in the first two images, there was an immediate mass reciprocal unfollow, following by a stead steam of unfollowing. In image 1, even now, a month and half after the mass unfollow, the trend of unfollowing appears to be continuing. In other words, this person is still losing followers.

 
In image 2, which is much more recent, despite the smaller scale of the mass unfollow, the exact same thing appears to still be happening.

 


 
In image 3, it is a bit harder to tell since the mass unfollow has just occurred – so the trickle hasn’t started just yet – but in all likelihood, the same thing will occur.

 
Personally I believe that in all three cases, people have unfollowed for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Just because. You unfollow me, I unfollow you. It’s not fair otherwise.
  2. Automatic unfollow: you unfollow me, my autopilot program detects this after X days and unfollows you.
  3. You’re boring, and suddenly I realized that now I have no more incentive to follow you, ergo, you’re gone.

 
Despite the fact that in none of the cases 100% or even 50% of the people have unfollowed the person, the trend in all cases appears to be negative, so there’s no reason to assume it’ll stop – though of course there isn’t enough data to support this theory. Personally, I don’t think it will stop for exactly the above reasons. I think most people simply aren’t aware that they are no longer being unfollowed, and the slow trickle of unfollowing occurs because one by one they discover that.

 
My own personal reaction to this was to immediately unfollow all three once I realized I am being unfollowed. As I discovered, it seems I did not follow them for their content as I do not even notice their tweets are gone. Otherwise I would’ve stuck with them.

 
Any thoughts?

 

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many followers on twitter

After using Twitter very heavily for – what – 3 months now? I’ve noticed that there are certain mandatory milestones people who use Twitter pass through.

 
The first occurs somewhere around 150 followers/followees. You realize there’s no way you could keep track of all the conversations since the web interface isn’t really designed for this. At this point people either limit the number of people they follow (too many conversations going on), start using specialized software (such as TweetDeck) or just give up and return to Facebook saying that Twitter sucks and they don’t see the point (in fact, I’ve dedicated an entire post to this, Explaining Twitter to Facebook Users).

 
The second is actually an artificial milestone: it’s set exactly at 2,000 followers. This number is defined by Twitter itself. I don’t remember the exact rule, but it goes something like this: you can’t follow more than 2,000 people unless you have at least 90% of that – 1800 – followers (or something similar). This is actually pretty effective, and you see a lot of people with disproportional follower/followee ratio (50 followers and 1750 they follow). Usually these are people who try gaining a large number of followers very quickly. Not that it’s impossible, but this is not the right way I believe, and neither this is the point of Twitter. The easy – and the fun – way to overcome this is by progressing through interaction (and I’ve written a post about that too: How to Gain Twitter Followers For Free and With No Tools). I wasn’t even aware of this limitation when I crossed 2,000!

 
(An interesting side note, several friends have told me in the past that I have an anecdote for everything. This is true. For almost everything I hear there’s something related I can think of. A family trait, we all are like this. Funny that my blog is starting to look like that too, don’t you think?).

 
The third milestone, is one I believe I reached in the past two weeks is – I estimate – around 5,000 followers, and will shortly elaborate on it.

 
I’m sure there are more such milestones I haven’t reached: 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 1 million, 3 million, 1 billion, etc. And of course, some milestones can only be reached by God and Ashton Kutcher, and neither is talking to us, so they shall have to remain a mystery.

 
So back to what I wanted to cover in this post: What happens when you start having a lot of followers? (which in this context, is my third milestone).

 
Although I “only” have 7,000 followers, thanks to my witty banter, humorous activities and unnatural modest personality (not to mention my own custom devised algorithm of finding followers – why do people need software packages? It’s just so easy), and some of my best Twitter friends have way, way more followers than I do (like Darren, 101,000 followers, Heather, 22,000 and Ken, 20,000), I’ve started feeling a change once I reached the third milestone. By the way, these three people are always going to be on my #FollowFriday list. Truly some of the greatest people I know on Twitter and outside!

 
An important point: I follow almost every single person who follows me. Why? I just think it’s fair. This point is arguable since I know many people don’t agree with this philosophy, but personally I think that unless you’re a real (non web) celebrity or truly have something unique to say on Twitter (not your blog, TV show, or whatever), you can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t return the favor. The fact John Chow lost a quarter (or more) of his 60,000 followers since his mass unfollow just proves this point – and I don’t think his process of losing followers is over just yet! Of course, this only holds true if you’re actively trying to expand your number of followers: if you’re just in Twitter then there truly is no obligation for you to follow anyone.

 
Here’s what happens – at least to me:

 
The good

  1. When I first heard of Twitter, I read that you can pose a question, and you’ll always get an answer from someone in the Twitterverse. So after I joined and had a couple hundred of followers I tried it. No response. I tried it again later. No response. And again. No response. Kind of sucked, but I thought – I guess I simply don’t have enough friends/followers.

     
    However, some time ago after the ‘third milestone’, I tried again. I pose a question and now I always get answers. Usually multiple, and usually from people I don’t know. This is just awesome. For someone like me, who thrives on interaction and enjoys meeting new people and starting conversations this is absolutely fantastic. I’ve actually started doing it just to get closer to some people who follow me (and I them). This is one of the best aspects of Twitter. I’m really enjoying this.

     

  2. You start getting offers for Sponsored Tweets. My original reason for entering Twitter was promotion of my blog and I knew this may have financial repercussions even though I didn’t anticipate or aim for short-term ones (it’s been 3 months and I’m still not doing anything of the sort). However, I truly hadn’t expected anything like that. You tweet a 1-3 messages and get money? It’s not a lot of money, yet this was still a nice surprise. I tweet sometimes hundreds of messages a day, what’s another one? Let alone one I mark as ‘#ad’ or ’sponsored’ (the application gives you that option)

     

  3. People you don’t know start referencing you or a conversation you had in a way that implies they know you or have been following your conversations, at least to some extent. Some people may feel threatened by this, but I just love it. It’s like skipping the whole “introduction” aspect of becoming a friend – like jumping directly to stage 2 of a friendship.

     

  4. Continuing the last item, people you don’t know start including you in their #FollowFriday. This even now still surprises me and greatly flatters me.

     

  5. You get more business opportunities. I’ve already had several such discussions – which makes sense, because there are so many people on Twitter who look for that, myself included. The one that most surprised me is the offer to give high level direction to a new Twitter application as a “Twitter Guru”. And more so, that the advice I gave was extremely easy to give and I also think, extremely useful. Twitter is truly very simple after all. After you’ve used it for a while you know what could be improved on and what is already great.

 
The bad

  1. Your twitter mailbox becomes useless. Tweetdeck shows you only the last 20 messages, so these days I usually don’t even bother checking my DM box – it’s filled with “offers” and twit validations and whatever. It’s a shame they can’t get a better system for that, like a white-list or a word filter (I’d filter every message that mentions “Trump”), because I’m sure I missed the occasional important direct message (apologies if I never answered someone who reads this).

     

  2. There is a definite loss of privacy. Personally, I’m not too sensitive about what I say. Although at times I’m sure it would be best if some tweets were not public, I still don’t worry about that too much. However, particularly when engaging in personal conversations, sometimes it’s almost easy to forget there’s an audience (and this changes when someone jumps into the conversation – happened several times). This is particularly true when you speak to someone who has fewer followers – or follows only real world friends – and may not to be used to keeping this in mind.

     

  3. Twitter becomes an increasingly greater time hog. Today I had lunch with a friend who told me “but you don’t really know or care about all 7,000 people, do you?”, and I said I don’t know all of them, but I know many, and certainly will be happy to get to know better anyone who is interested in knowing me. Furthermore, those that I do know, I care about, and as a result, I find myself spending more and more time on Twitter. People who know me know I’m very honest about saying this. I’ve met some fantastic friends in the past few months as result of using Twitter.

 
I don’t know what the future will bring to either myself or Twitter (personally I’m not too certain about its future). I assume it’s a different scenario when you have a 100,000 followers. I certainly have no problem conversing with multiple people at the same time (I vaguely remember even testing myself using various messengers and the maximum conversations I simultaneously could do is 8 – not just in terms of typing – I type very quickly – but also in terms of being truly focused on the conversation).

 
However, with such a great number of followers I’m sure one may easily find himself talking with many more people than 8. That would be beyond my technical ability (though it’s possible mentally I could do more than 8). If that happens, I’ll simply become a slow responder, I guess. Not that I envision myself ever having 100,000 followers (I anticipate I’ll peak at 30,000. Don’t ask me why, it’s just an educated guess).

 

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