I remember when I started on Twitter. I wanted 1,000 followers so badly. But then once I hit it… it wasn’t enough. I wanted 2,000. Then 3,000. You have no idea how much it ticks me off that I haven’t passed 5,000 followers yet when there are a wide variety of total LAME-Os with more than that.
At the moment I’m writing this, I have just under 4,000 followers (on @HillaryDePiano. I don’t care as much how many followers I have on my other Twitter accounts but this one feels personal). That’s well over average and pretty darn good for someone a) who’s not using any fancy follower software b) isn’t even remotely a celebrity and c) doesn’t do anything to court new followers other than the widget in the sidebar. I have a FANTASTIC network on Twitter. They share my content across all the social networks, almost always reply to and retweet the stuff I post, they comment on my blog posts and buy my stuff. You can’t put a dollar value on a high quality network like that.
But I feel inadequate about my follower count all the time. I can’t help but compare myself to other users on the basis of that silly number. Because the problem with measuring your network with a number is that you’re never satisfied. No matter how many followers I get, I feel like it will never be enough.
The silly part is that my smaller but high quality list of followers is worth so much more than someone with a million followers padded with spambots and dummy accounts. But when you look at someone else’s list and see a higher number… you can’t help but feel green. But, in reality, Twitter could be gone tomorrow and all that would matter were the connections I managed to make that were strong enough to follow me beyond that platform.
Is that the sneaky little trick behind all of social networking? Our competitive nature keeps driving us to collect more and more fans and followers because we want more than that other guy we can’t stand? Is that what keeps us addicted to it, to putter around with it beyond just using it as a marketing tool?
What do you think? What sort of relationship do you have with your friends or follower number?