Social media popularity, it's not just about the numbers

When people first sign on to social media sites they worry a lot about the number of “friends” they have. If you’ve only got a few friends, people think you’re either a newbie or somebody not worth listening to. Articles abound on how to get more friends on many of these sites, and probably the most quoted and most reasonable is this one, on Doshdosh.

and it goes for most social media sites.

The post points out that most, if not all, of the people with the most followers on Twitter are famous independent of social media. They are celebrities in their own rights, and naturally they have many more followers than mere mortals. Some, Like Scoble

and Michael Arrington actually make their living on their online relationships, but they really got their starts commenting on tech long before Twitter or even Facebook.

People often try to boost their friends list artificially with auto posters or adding pretty much anyone new that crosses their radar. On Facebook, there’s even a group to up your “friends list” called “Please be my newest friend ADD ME” with over 12,000 members. According to the group ,you need only post your name and fame and fortune will be yours.

So let’s say you do break the coveted 1,000 friends barrier and enter the heady nirvana of Twitter fame. What good is it going to do you?

Of course it depends on what you want it to do. If you just need to massage your ego with a huge fan base, be my guest, but odds are good a lot of them won’t even be listening, so what’s the point?

This post on Vinicius Vacanti holds that most your Twitter followers are “real” anyway, and with the number of bots and auto posts out there, not to mention the spammers, I can buy it.

The thing is, if you’re growing your friends network to find out new information, often as it happens, or you are looking to network with your peers, mega numbers may not be what you need.

What you really want is to find a core group of people you want to talk to, whose opinions you value and to start a conversation with them. How can you really relate to over a thousand people on a one to one basis?

Find people who really add value to the discussion. Make sure you give value back. Before you know it you’ll be reaping the real rewards of social media networks, and that’s real friends. How were you going to cuddle up to a bot anyway huh?