70K Twitter Followers Can’t Be Wrong

picture-663So I’m in the press office at Ad:Tech yesterday and there’s a guy standing next to me who looks familiar. We looked at each other and I asked “Where did we meet before?”  He said, somewhat incredulously, “I don’t know . . . I have 70,000 Twitter followers.”

It was almost a non-sequitur but he was implying that I probably knew him as one of his legions of devoted fans. Pompous to say the least — and pathetic in a way.

Followers, fans and “friends” on social networks are a faux currency. I’m sure there’s already been lots of writing on this. And at SXSW author Bruce Sterling (no relation) apparently said that all our focus on social media fans/friends/etc. is a reflection of poverty not “wealth”:

In his speech, Sterling seemed to affect Nietzschean disdain for regular people. If the goal was to provoke, it worked. To a crowd that typically prefers onward-and-upward news about technology, Sterling’s was a sadistically successful rhetorical strategy. “Poor folk love their cellphones!” had the ring of one of those haughty but unforgettable expressions of condescension, like the Middle Eastern gem “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

“Connectivity is poverty” was how a friend of mine summarized Sterling’s bold theme. Only the poor — defined broadly as those without better options — are obsessed with their connections. Anyone with a strong soul or a fat wallet turns his ringer off for good and cultivates private gardens that keep the hectic Web far away.

There’s much truth in these words, even if they’re hyperbolic and arrogant.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media are highly valuable communication and marketing tools, but as “social currency” or measures of “success” or they’re not worth anything.

4 Responses to “70K Twitter Followers Can’t Be Wrong”

  1. Bruce Sterlng Says:

    We’re not *direct* relations, but I hear that all Sterlings are an
    offshoot of the clan called “Starlings.” As opposed to the Stirlings,
    who are Scots.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks. I think you’re right

  3. links for 2009-04-26 | bg Theory, LLC Says:

    […] 70K Twitter Followers Can’t Be Wrong « Screenwerk “Connectivity is poverty” was how a friend of mine summarized Sterling’s bold theme. Only the poor — defined broadly as those without better options — are obsessed with their connections. Anyone with a strong soul or a fat wallet turns his ringer off for good and cultivates private gardens that keep the hectic Web far away. (tags: twitter) Share and Enjoy: […]

  4. Chris Chong Says:

    I would probably have a hard time not laughing in the guys face for a comment like that.

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