While sane people debate the relative worth of twitter, with opinions ranging from it being today’s version of the leisure suit to it being the worldwide water cooler, some have made the gathering of followers their goal in life. Names omitted to protect the foolish. Sure, there are some who urge twitter as the newiest and cooliest business-getter tool around (for a fee), but the obsession with numbers of followers has little to do with the quality of followers.
So when I happened upon this nonsense when I checked out one of my new followers, I was flabbergasted. Folks, this is just insane. No one, but no one, will go to heaven for having the most followers on twitter. No one. There will be no prize. There will be no honors bestowed upon you for being the most followed. You still have to pay to get on the subway. Sorry, but that’s how it goes.
There are twitterers who have tens of thousand of followers. I’ve taken a look at some of them, expecting to find twits so deep, so brilliant, that it would alter my philosophical view of the world. Nope. Their twits were pretty much like anyone else’s. Some were substantially worse. Some sucked.
What I did notice was that the twitterers with big numbers of followers similarly followed huge numbers of others. Now perhaps I’m just a bit slow, but I fail to understand how anyone can gain anything from following ten thousand twitterers. No one has the time to read that many twits, and even the time to try would consume whatever time was available for having a life. Anyone who follows that many people is kinda weird.
Unless, of course, they aren’t reading the twits at all, but merely following others so they will follow them in return. That aspect of the phenomenon became clear as I kept getting the new follower messages, only to see that my new followers dropped me a day later. A wise twitterer explained that people follow you to get you to follow them, then drop you (since you don’t get a message about it) afterward. Then there are some people who I like and respect, but whose twits were too numerous or off-topic for my tastes. When I unfollowed them, they unfollowed me. Apparently, twitterers take unfollowing very personally.
As for the new and cool, that ship has clearly sailed. While watching Rick Sanchez on CNN, he pushed his twitting hard throughout the broadcast. Nothing can be more uncool than when Rick Sanchez becomes part of it. Twitter was also pushed during President Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress. Remember when George Bush got an Ipod? Same deal. It was the end of its cool factor.
And as of yesterday, every lawyer marketing consultant on the face of the earth is now officially selling the secret magic way to collect followers on twitter. You too can have a million followers! But you still have to pay to ride the subway.
At this very moment, I have 330 followers. A bunch are marketers, and if they think that they have a chance of getting business from me, they are going to be sorely disappointed. About 20 marketers were cleared out a couple of weeks ago, but they keep coming back. They are nothing if not persistent. By the end of this post, I expect to have 20 fewer followers. At least.
I don’t twit a lot, and little of what I twit about is worth reading. I don’t anticipate that I’ll find many major white collar federal criminal defendants searching for counsel on twitter, although I expect some persistently perky marketer to disagree and inform me that if I only new the magic secrets, I could quadruple my number of followers overnight and become rich! rich! rich! I wonder why these former lawyers who know the secret to becoming rich! rich! rich! no longer practice law and prefer instead to be grubby little marketers. But I’m sure it’s because they are great humanitarians, bent on helping the huddled masses of undervalued lawyers.
The chances of my having tens of thousands of followers is slim. I’m just going to have to live with the knowledge that I will never win the prize. On the other hand, at least I won’t be caught wearing a polyester double-knit leisure suit. I’m cool with that.