Today I started following Stephen Fry’s twitter account. What surprised me was that he immediately started following me too. After an exchange of sarcastic emails with a friend, I learnt that some people have their accounts set up so that they automatically start following anyone who follows them. In the case of someone as popular as Stephen Fry that means that he’s now following nearly 6000 people. While he does seem to read and respond to rather a lot of them (although not me yet, despite my fascinating tweets on topics like what I had for lunch today), I can’t imagine that he really “follows” all 6000, considering his schedule.

This kind of thing can also backfire quite easily, especially when people stop following you but you continue following them. For example, I find it rather amusingly pathetic that the UK Prime Minister’s official twitter account is following more people than are following him…

It’s all about popularity and feeling good about yourself, see? Consider this message I saw when I searched to see if anyone else in my email contacts list was on twitter.

Am I popular (enough)?