Twitter Envy: Followship doesn’t mean fellowship


Twitter’s upcoming I.P.O, valued at USD $10 billion according to analysts, will definitely be another market-shaking event. The IPO market has been relatively quiet since Facebook’s USD $16 billion stock sale last year. This calls for an updated look into how the social network has impacted this digitised world that we live in.

Ever wonder what has become of the long-standing debate between quality and quantity in having more twitter followers?  It seems that the competitive side of social media users rears its ugly head, especially since the number of followers or friends is displayed publicly.

Social media users have probably caught themselves thinking at least once, “I have more followers than you. Ha!”

If we really sat down and thought about it, what exactly have we won? Unless your future job specifically requires you to have substantial following like an advertiser, to the rest of us it is just a number of underwhelming arbitrary value. Would you rather have a Twitter follower who essentially remains just a number, or would you rather have convertible traffic on your own website?

Scarily, many are too caught up in a baffling numbers race. In fact, it is no longer the case that people are unaware of the value of quality relationships. Now, many have consciously decided that superficial temporal popularity is more beneficial.

Celebrity Kim Kardashian doesn’t have the most followers on Twitter, but she once had more traffic referrals from Twitter than anybody else. This comes as a surprise to many when put in comparison with other celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, both of whom have substantially more following. We also do not exactly pin her as the role model type. Her followers (then numbering 5 million) proved to be more than just a number when they clicked on her links more than any other celebrity.

Valuable followship sparks fellowship – or at least some kind of response and action.

The socialite tweets personable, relatable click bait. Fans are alerted about pictures of her European outfits, a contest to attend her birthday party, a breast cancer awareness drive — the kind of content her fans clearly want to see. The rest of her tweets are social. Such a statement seems obvious until you scan other streams that reek of PR and marketing influence, begging followers to buy a product or consume content. Other celebrity streams are almost entirely link-free and designed to facilitate interaction around that individual’s personality rather than create a desired action in the user.

In short, Kardashian’s Twitter stream is optimized to gracefully direct traffic to her website.

It’s far better to attract them through great content, be it educational, entertaining or engaging. This is as opposed to the you-follow-me-I’ll-follow-you approach. This way, you attract people who are following you for a reason. Thousands of additional followers who aren’t listening to what you have to say are not worth much at all. Your value isn’t based on your follower count; it’s based on the value of our interactions, the strength of our relationships, the nature of our reputation, and the integrity with which we use our communications tools.

There is no inherent value in a superficial connection.

Posted by Yiwen Ng, Public Relations Executive, Corporate Media

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