You Lead. Who Follows?

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Hi. My name is Josh Atwell. At this moment I have 3,899 followers of my personal Twitter account, @Josh_Atwell. Many may find this to be a large number while others may struggle to recall the day when they had so few followers. I assure you that I don’t consider my follower count something to boast about and if you’re an avid follower of the Geek Whisperers you probably understand the loose value of this metric. That being said I have a confession to make. I block followers.

I get mixed reactions when I share this bit of personal insight. Reactions range from curiosity about the ‘why’ of my door-shutting behavior to outright confusion over my apparent misunderstanding of the platform. Twitter, after all, is a very public broadcast platform. What value could I possibly have in blocking accounts who follow me? The key for me is that when I broadcast my thoughts, tips, opinions, jokes, memes, and all that makes my Twitter feed it is for people.

FollowBackGirl

FOLLOW ME. I FOLLOW BACK!
Twitter is full of silly accounts, rappers looking to make it big, want-to-be starlets, pseudo-companies looking to sell domain names, bots, teenagers, and just generally noisy accounts.

I consider the bulk of these accounts to be SPAM and when identified in my thread it receives a discriminatory block. I also do not follow back these accounts, but that’s probably for another post. 🙂 I can only surmise that they are following me because:

  1. I said something witty on a trending hashtag
  2. I have a subliminal connection and love of Justin Bieber (hoping not)
  3. I have tremendous influence in the rap/acting scene
  4. They are trying to find folks to follow back to increase their follow count

Net result is I do not see RTs, Favorites, or engagement from these accounts. It would seem the broadcast of my thoughts essentially falls on deaf ears with them. I find this to be clutter rather than social interaction, for both of us. I want to engage with people, share information, and gain knowledge. To that end I consider the act of blocking to be trimming the fat and maintaining more opportunities to accomplish my Twitter goals:

  1. Connect with People
  2. Share my knowledge, thoughts, and experiences
  3. Learn from others’ knowledge, thoughts, and experiences

shall-we-play-a-game

The only winning move is not to play
Sometimes folks get too wrapped up in the numbers. I’ve seen more than a few instances of tremendous Twitter following growth in a short period of time. Twitter is organic and I have to believe, looking at the account, some payment was made to gain those followers. I fail to see how that increases the value of the engagement and relative influence of the person or the account. It’s simply gaming the system. In this respect I would rather not game the system and believe that any reported numbersaround influence or reach of my account are genuine. I suppose there could be some pride to be had in this, but that generally leads to thinking you’re a big deal.

I’m not a robot myself so I can’t say that my follower base is “pure” by any means, but I try to keep it limited to real people. People like you. That being said, if you have found this post interesting and are curious about what other thoughts or outright silliness I may be broadcasting to the world; please follow me on Twitter at @Josh_Atwell. Chances are I won’t block you and I may even follow back. Finally, I’d like to thank the Geek Whisperers for allowing me the opportunity to write a guest post. #HappyPanda


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