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)?


4 thoughts on “Twits

  1. Erik R. October 16, 2008 / 7:51 pm

    Stuff should take longer if you’re popular! At least until I am.

    Kind of like taxing the rich.


  2. Peter October 17, 2008 / 4:44 am

    LOL 😉

    I (foolishly) subscribed to the Obama Campaign “twitter” feed, immediately followed by a message that Barack Obama
    had now started following me too. Sure 🙂

    According to “The state of the web, summer 2008” at
    Twitter is over capacity and going down, down, down.

    On verra.


  3. V-Grrrl October 21, 2008 / 10:50 am

    I love Twitter but I’m selective. I’m followed by more people than I follow and I block all those stupid faux followers. Most of the people who follow me are not my blog readers or people I know otherwise. I decide whether to follow them back based on what’s in their Tweets or on their blogs.

    I limit my Facebook account too, though this is a bit more awkward, occasionally requiring me to tell people why they don’t merit Facebook friendship. : O Perhaps I should rehearse lines like “It’s not you, it’s me!” or “I’m sorry. I’m just not that into you.” Sigh.

    I love social media but I’m not about the numbers. Too many commenters ruin a good blog and too many connections can flatten a fun network. I really like to build a community, to feel that when I’m logging in, I’m stepping into a favorite neighborhood coffee shop and catching up with the regulars.


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