Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Lie of Popularity on Twitter

If you follow this blog via Twitter, send me some feedback 'cause I'm terribly confused as to where you all came from.

Back in February, I hooked up this blog to twitter and then proceeded to do almost nothing for a half year, but a strange thing happened on the way to oblivion. For some reason 77 people decided to follow me (and 12 subsequently unfollowed me or simply ceased to exist). I had to ask the question, "Why?", so I did a bit of digging.

I decided to check out the Twitter page of everyone who followed me - yes, every one! What I found out was rather interesting. In my estimation, about 75% of the people following me only did so in order to get me to follow them - a game I don't play.

It seems that some people believe accumulating Twitter followers is a hallmark of importance. They like to declare how many followers they have accumulated, how many friends the have on Facebook, how many listens they got on Myspace (does anyone use Myspace anymore?).  They wear it like a sash badge on their faux Boy Scout uniform.

Is this a viable way to market yourself?

Well, yes actually - though it needs to be done honestly. In my own reckoning, @CommonsMusician really has under 20 honest follows. These are the ones that came to follow us organically. They did a search, found the site or the Twitter account and thought, "This seems interesting." That is a truer measure of 'popularity' than just a bunch of obligatory reciprocal follows, but more difficult to quantify.

So how do you market yourself on Twitter? A really nice read on the matter is an old blog post by Dosh Dosh. Though the article is more focused on the tech end of things, much can be translated to the independent musician.

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