Social Networking is Not Like Middle School

Why building a following on Twitter should NOT be like a middle school popularity contest

I have a confession. Over the course of the past few days, I have been checking the follower count on my @JennaSnacks Twitter account daily, watching and waiting to hit 3,000 followers. To some that number is teensy tiny and to others, it’s doesn’t feel attainable. But why is 3,000 the golden number for me? The goal is completely arbitrary and I’m looking forward to doing a little dance in my office when I hit the mark. The only reason it exists as a goal in my brain is to prove to myself that my network is growing and happy.

I haven’t shelled out cash to grow my list of followers like some and really can’t say that I plan to ever do that. For me, it’s more about the conversations and organically growing my followers.

Really, social media isn’t about how many followers you have … the real measure is a little less tangible.  For me, if I’m operating my Twitter account correctly, my followers are not only retweeting what I’m saying, but they’re also interacting. They’re recommending me for #FollowFriday (or are we doing #FF now?). For others, success truly equals the number of followers “listening” to their broadcasts.

And I have to tell you: Nearly 3,000 followers is a lot to keep up with and I’m sure, as my network continues to grow, keeping up will become an even bigger chore. But I’m loving the value of my network and the variety of interests and expertise that exist within it. Really, I can’t imagine life without Twitter.

I’m not going to lie. The idea of amassing more than one million followers sounds good… in theory. But how can you possibly interact with all of those people? Isn’t managing the account more of a chore than anything else? And, by having a large number of followers, doesn’t that completely contradict the purpose of a social network (to converse)?

So what is the magic number? How many followers are just too many? What happens when you hit the magic number?

Do the Twitter accounts with the most followers really win? In my opinion, not so much.