Thanks Mike Arrington for taking us off the rails into Twitter idiot land

Yesterday Mike Arrington took us off the rails and into the idiot land.

Listen, I’m as egotistical as the rest of them. I can say “follow me” along with the best of them. According to Loic Le Meur and Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, I have more authority than either of them because I have more followers on Twitter. Their words, not mine.

That idea is patently idiotic. We have been derailed from the promised land of smarter conversations on Twitter and have moved into the idiot land if that’s the way we think.

Even worse, my post yesterday about this got 12x more traffic than my two video posts did (even though one of them was with the guy who named Web 2.0 and is my favorite interview of the year). The 12seconds.tv video post took far more time and money to do (and more time to think about and consume too). The fact that no one cares about actually learning something and trying a new service or hearing about how the entrepreneurs are doing it is telling me a LOT.

We’re off the rails and well into idiot land now.

Why is former TechCrunch author Duncan Riley is writing about celebrity news more on his Inquisitr blog than trying to find another tech scoop? Look at the traffic curves. TechCrunch is headed down for the past few months. Inquistr, Riley’s new site, is headed up.

We are a land of idiots. Idiots care about who is following them. Idiots care more about celebrity news than science. Or technology. Or geeky stuff.

Idiots try to rank things based on who has the most followers. Idiots can’t be bothered with thinking about adding value like Tim O’Reilly or Jay Rosen, all guys who teach you something in nearly every tweet and who I can’t remember ever caring about how many followers they have.

Look at this attitude close up in this post by Jesse Stay, who posted his defense of the follower idiocy on Louis Gray’s blog so it could “get to more eyeballs.”

Aaarrrrrgggghhhhhh.

Of course, Mike Arrington is not an idiot. Neither is Loic Le Meur. Neither is Jesse Stay. So, what are they up to?

They know there is money in idiocy. That is where their future traffic will come from. That is where their profits will come from. There aren’t enough smart people so you gotta create some drama to pull in the idiots. Steve Gillmor figured it out.

Maybe I’m the idiot. Sigh.

Now, to be fair, the post that started this mess, from Loic Le Meur, had a good goal: to make it possible to find better tweets in searches. In other words, to separate the news from the noise. Except Loic used the word “authority” and hooked it to popularity: the number of followers one has.

Loic claims he didn’t do that to start a fight, but that demonstrates he just didn’t know that the idiots would rebel against the thought that they don’t matter as much as someone else. It also fed the idiots who believe that the only thing in life that matters is celebrity. How lame.

Here’s why I’ve been saying for the past year that it is far more important who you follow than who follows you: if you follow people just to get followers you’ll end up being overworked, deep in information overload, and superficial to boot. You won’t have a philosophy. It +will+ show. You might be able to fool most of the idiots most of the time, but eventually they’ll see the difference between the “collect follower” types and the “surround yourself with smart people” types like Tim O’Reilly or Jay Rosen.

I can smell the “follow me” types a million miles away, can’t you?

One crowd is off the rails in idiot land, the other is building something of lasting value.

Which one do we want to incent? The “follow me” idiots? Or the “try to get smarter” crowd?

I know I’m swimming upstream, but I want to get smarter. Screw the page views. Screw the business models. They all are lame anyway. I want better friends. Better content. Better news. Better ideas. That means I need to find better people to be part of my social network. Idiots be damned.

So, when I say that listing search results by numbers of followers is idiotic, now you know where I’m coming from. There are a lot better ways to find the high value Tweets. I covered that yesterday. But no one cared, which is why that post didn’t show up on TechMeme.

I guess I should just give in and join the idiot crowd. I bet this post gets on TechMeme or, even better, Digg.

Aaarrrrrggggghhhhh.

See, this is why I really don’t care about Mike Arrington’s claim that I should blog more because my traffic is going down. If I cared only about building a business or making money then he’d definitely be right.

My goal, though, is to have smarter conversations every day. Does anyone else care about that goal? Or are you all wanting to be celebrities so you can sell stuff on your Twitter account, like what Jesse Stay is advocating for?

How do we get this back on the tracks now that Arrington has derailed us?

Comments

  1. That’s is a very hard problem, You see now since he derailed us. We will have to get a crane to fix us. Only way we ca fix this is getting people involved and get it back to where it needs to go!! I totally agree about this and can’t wait to see what other people say!!! http://tinyurl.com/9tyydb

  2. That’s is a very hard problem, You see now since he derailed us. We will have to get a crane to fix us. Only way we ca fix this is getting people involved and get it back to where it needs to go!! I totally agree about this and can’t wait to see what other people say!!! http://tinyurl.com/9tyydb

  3. Twitter is just a “web 2.0″ version of a chat room and while some chats are better than others, the ‘delivery’ is poor at best. Even Tweetree, a service that tries to thread the conversation, doesn’t get it into a better usable format.

    So, let them have their ‘advanced’ search options for whatever criteria they want. I just think the use of “authoritative’ got this conversation going into being a train wreck.

  4. Twitter is just a “web 2.0″ version of a chat room and while some chats are better than others, the ‘delivery’ is poor at best. Even Tweetree, a service that tries to thread the conversation, doesn’t get it into a better usable format.

    So, let them have their ‘advanced’ search options for whatever criteria they want. I just think the use of “authoritative’ got this conversation going into being a train wreck.

  5. Robert,
    You’re right on target in the post.

    But the fact that you are following 20,000+ people – how does that compute when you say it’s more important who you follow. Are you saying you are following 20,000 people because you filtered and sorted and found they were the one’s you found interesting – or did you just blindly “follow back” anyone following you – for MySpace’ish reasons ?
    And once you follow so many people your friends timeline is completely useless and even the @’s and DM’s get so voluminous that you are essentially a one way megaphone – so I am curious what exactly is the point of following 20,000 people. I have never understood why people do that.

  6. Robert,

    Your points are valid and well taken.

    This logic can be followed in other areas as well: Madonna has more “followers” than Chick Corea. Few (if any) could say she is more of a music authority than he.

    We could go on and on with similar examples.

    No, do not join the “idiot crowd.” Please do what you do and operate according to your own standard.

  7. Robert,
    You’re right on target in the post.

    But the fact that you are following 20,000+ people – how does that compute when you say it’s more important who you follow. Are you saying you are following 20,000 people because you filtered and sorted and found they were the one’s you found interesting – or did you just blindly “follow back” anyone following you – for MySpace’ish reasons ?
    And once you follow so many people your friends timeline is completely useless and even the @’s and DM’s get so voluminous that you are essentially a one way megaphone – so I am curious what exactly is the point of following 20,000 people. I have never understood why people do that.

  8. Robert,

    Your points are valid and well taken.

    This logic can be followed in other areas as well: Madonna has more “followers” than Chick Corea. Few (if any) could say she is more of a music authority than he.

    We could go on and on with similar examples.

    No, do not join the “idiot crowd.” Please do what you do and operate according to your own standard.

  9. I don’t believe I was advocating selling stuff on your Twitter account Robert. In fact, I was defending your point as well – it was not solely a defense of Loic or Mike. I learn a lot from those I follow. I just go about it all a little differently – I use my followers for discovery. I wouldn’t have followers if I didn’t place value in whom I follow. I just think there’s also value in followers – unfortunately, knowledge does not always equal money. People have to prioritize, and for me I have to figure out a way to get the best of both worlds so I can support my family, fulfill my dreams, and becomes a smart person at the same time.

  10. Nitin: I hand followed about 5,000 of my 20,000 and I only followed early adopters. I wanted to study what early adopters are doing. I’ve always assumed that Twitter would give us more features to group people. Turned out FriendFeed did that. So I can separate out the people I’m following into folders. Peoplebrowsr.com is helping me too. But most of my inbound reading time now is on friendfeed for a whole lot of reasons, a big one is exactly what you’re talking about.

  11. Very interesting post Robert. I have followed the FriendFeed conversations between you and the others, read Jesse’s point of view on his blog and now yours.

    Personally, I believe that everyone will find different ways of using and engaging social media. You talk about how important it is to surround yourself with smart people, people who have ideas.. My question is how do you define, ‘smart’ or intelligence.. Surely, it cant just be about adding as many people as you can, right? I think this is what Loic was trying to arrive at.

    The idea to me sounds interesting.. the way to measure ‘intelligence’ with follower count – that seems rudimentary.

    I really do hope this conversation between the worlds top bloggers will result (maybe even inspire?) someone to create better AI? Only time will tell.

    In the meantime, here is wishing you and yours a wonderful new year :)

  12. I don’t believe I was advocating selling stuff on your Twitter account Robert. In fact, I was defending your point as well – it was not solely a defense of Loic or Mike. I learn a lot from those I follow. I just go about it all a little differently – I use my followers for discovery. I wouldn’t have followers if I didn’t place value in whom I follow. I just think there’s also value in followers – unfortunately, knowledge does not always equal money. People have to prioritize, and for me I have to figure out a way to get the best of both worlds so I can support my family, fulfill my dreams, and becomes a smart person at the same time.

  13. Nitin: I hand followed about 5,000 of my 20,000 and I only followed early adopters. I wanted to study what early adopters are doing. I’ve always assumed that Twitter would give us more features to group people. Turned out FriendFeed did that. So I can separate out the people I’m following into folders. Peoplebrowsr.com is helping me too. But most of my inbound reading time now is on friendfeed for a whole lot of reasons, a big one is exactly what you’re talking about.

  14. Very interesting post Robert. I have followed the FriendFeed conversations between you and the others, read Jesse’s point of view on his blog and now yours.

    Personally, I believe that everyone will find different ways of using and engaging social media. You talk about how important it is to surround yourself with smart people, people who have ideas.. My question is how do you define, ‘smart’ or intelligence.. Surely, it cant just be about adding as many people as you can, right? I think this is what Loic was trying to arrive at.

    The idea to me sounds interesting.. the way to measure ‘intelligence’ with follower count – that seems rudimentary.

    I really do hope this conversation between the worlds top bloggers will result (maybe even inspire?) someone to create better AI? Only time will tell.

    In the meantime, here is wishing you and yours a wonderful new year :)

  15. Jesse: your post makes it very clear that you see huge value in having tons of followers. You don’t care how you get those followers, just that you want more. Which is why you’re writing tonight’s post on someone else’s blog, isn’t it?

  16. Jesse: your post makes it very clear that you see huge value in having tons of followers. You don’t care how you get those followers, just that you want more. Which is why you’re writing tonight’s post on someone else’s blog, isn’t it?

  17. I’m really glad you’re fighting for ideas and innovation over popularity and business models. That is where the true value is. All this over optimization-pseudo value crap is what got the country into this crisis. We need people to ditch this self delusion and self-indulgence and start creating real value– voraciously pursuing the best ideas and then actually making them happen. Social media can and needs to play a big role in making this happen. But this will only work if we make it an idea contest rather than popularity contest.

  18. I’m really glad you’re fighting for ideas and innovation over popularity and business models. That is where the true value is. All this over optimization-pseudo value crap is what got the country into this crisis. We need people to ditch this self delusion and self-indulgence and start creating real value– voraciously pursuing the best ideas and then actually making them happen. Social media can and needs to play a big role in making this happen. But this will only work if we make it an idea contest rather than popularity contest.

  19. Robert, I’m not sure Mike Arrington derailed us at all – you already posted a riposte, and you’re both coming at the issue from different, legitimate angles.

    You want more signal and higher-quality conversations. You should be able to get that through Twitter (start by unfollowing anyone who provides more noise than signal) and Friendfeed. Start a new Twitter group or Friendfeed room. Like you, I don’t see a lot of value in raw numbers. Like you, I put a lot of time into video productions that don’t have the apparent payout of an easily link to a celeb news story.

    I suspect that the complaint you make could just as easily be made about the mainstream media — at any time in the past 60 years, in fact.

    That’s why we have Fox, People magazine and the National Enquirer. That’s why “The Bachelor” outperforms the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, CNN and dozens of other niche channels combined.

    Embrace the niche, the intelligent conversations, and don’t worry about the rabble. You’re never going to convert them, so ignore the nonsense and keep doing what you feel is right.

  20. Robert, I’m not sure Mike Arrington derailed us at all – you already posted a riposte, and you’re both coming at the issue from different, legitimate angles.

    You want more signal and higher-quality conversations. You should be able to get that through Twitter (start by unfollowing anyone who provides more noise than signal) and Friendfeed. Start a new Twitter group or Friendfeed room. Like you, I don’t see a lot of value in raw numbers. Like you, I put a lot of time into video productions that don’t have the apparent payout of an easily link to a celeb news story.

    I suspect that the complaint you make could just as easily be made about the mainstream media — at any time in the past 60 years, in fact.

    That’s why we have Fox, People magazine and the National Enquirer. That’s why “The Bachelor” outperforms the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, CNN and dozens of other niche channels combined.

    Embrace the niche, the intelligent conversations, and don’t worry about the rabble. You’re never going to convert them, so ignore the nonsense and keep doing what you feel is right.

  21. Robert, I care that each and every one of those followers shows some interest in me. That’s important to me – they’ve invested in the follow, so I have an obligation to do what I can to build that relationship. There are some I go out of my way to follow because I think they’re smart, as well – many of those I really wish would follow me back so we can have a real conversation (Tim O’Reilly is one of those). It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who has shown no interest back in you, and you’ll learn a lot less that way if you can’t hold a real conversation with them. You have the advantage that you’re well known, and most of these people follow you back. I don’t have that yet unfortunately.

    Regarding “blogging on someone else’s blog” – I was simply using that as a point. LouisGray.com is no longer just “someone else’s blog”. LouisGray.com is now a brand, with multiple bloggers, Louis Gray at the helm. I’m sure he can vouch further though.

  22. Robert, I care that each and every one of those followers shows some interest in me. That’s important to me – they’ve invested in the follow, so I have an obligation to do what I can to build that relationship. There are some I go out of my way to follow because I think they’re smart, as well – many of those I really wish would follow me back so we can have a real conversation (Tim O’Reilly is one of those). It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who has shown no interest back in you, and you’ll learn a lot less that way if you can’t hold a real conversation with them. You have the advantage that you’re well known, and most of these people follow you back. I don’t have that yet unfortunately.

    Regarding “blogging on someone else’s blog” – I was simply using that as a point. LouisGray.com is no longer just “someone else’s blog”. LouisGray.com is now a brand, with multiple bloggers, Louis Gray at the helm. I’m sure he can vouch further though.

  23. Robert, you’re spot on. Focus on helping people make sense of change. I agree O’Reilly’s got it. But there’s plenty of space for other sense-makers. I’ve only recently started following your video interviews, and I’m really enjoying them. There are so many skills to now transfer out beyond the tech community. Leave the others to court celebrity – it’s a road to ruin.

    Cheers, Mark

  24. There’s a pretty simple argument against their logic: @britneyspears has over 12.5k followers – are we supposed to pretend that this means she’s going to tweet something important any day now?

    “I love Japan! I think all the tiny cars are so cute! -Britney 3:34 PM Dec 14th from mobile web”

    When popularity = authority, we’re all doomed… Follower numbers mean NOTHING if those followers were 1 time visitors who signed up, clicked the “follow @scobleizer” or “follow @techcrunch” buttons and never logged on again to twitter.

    Are 10,000 never-used-it-but-the-once followers more important than 100 really engaged, very involved followers? Not in my world.

  25. Robert, you’re spot on. Focus on helping people make sense of change. I agree O’Reilly’s got it. But there’s plenty of space for other sense-makers. I’ve only recently started following your video interviews, and I’m really enjoying them. There are so many skills to now transfer out beyond the tech community. Leave the others to court celebrity – it’s a road to ruin.

    Cheers, Mark

  26. There’s a pretty simple argument against their logic: @britneyspears has over 12.5k followers – are we supposed to pretend that this means she’s going to tweet something important any day now?

    “I love Japan! I think all the tiny cars are so cute! -Britney 3:34 PM Dec 14th from mobile web”

    When popularity = authority, we’re all doomed… Follower numbers mean NOTHING if those followers were 1 time visitors who signed up, clicked the “follow @scobleizer” or “follow @techcrunch” buttons and never logged on again to twitter.

    Are 10,000 never-used-it-but-the-once followers more important than 100 really engaged, very involved followers? Not in my world.

  27. It’s interesting but if you look at the Shorty Awards nominations, except for a few exceptions, you won’t find the most popular Twitterholics, you’ll find “ordinary” but popular Twitterers. You could say that people are hustling for nominations but the fact that there are over 1200 user generated categories that were unanticipated shows the large amount of creative, original content highlighting the contributions from many Twitterers. The almost complete absence of the Twitterers with the highest number of followers is striking to me.

    I think you can only correlate a high number of followers with a greater amount of visibility/publicity that someone’s Tweets can have. But many people follow the most popular Twitterers not because they are influenced by them but because they assume that the top people have contacts that would provide them with the latest information. They are a source or news or gossip, people don’t blindly follow their opinions & recommendations, they listen to their friends for that, people whose opinion they trust.

    If popularity indicates influence, then tech people on Twitter fade into obscurity compared to actual political, business & entertainment celebrities. Twitter is a vocal but small little world and I think it is ridiculous to inflate ones importance because one has more followers than others. It’s depth, not breadth, quality, not quantity that determines influence.

  28. It’s interesting but if you look at the Shorty Awards nominations, except for a few exceptions, you won’t find the most popular Twitterholics, you’ll find “ordinary” but popular Twitterers. You could say that people are hustling for nominations but the fact that there are over 1200 user generated categories that were unanticipated shows the large amount of creative, original content highlighting the contributions from many Twitterers. The almost complete absence of the Twitterers with the highest number of followers is striking to me.

    I think you can only correlate a high number of followers with a greater amount of visibility/publicity that someone’s Tweets can have. But many people follow the most popular Twitterers not because they are influenced by them but because they assume that the top people have contacts that would provide them with the latest information. They are a source or news or gossip, people don’t blindly follow their opinions & recommendations, they listen to their friends for that, people whose opinion they trust.

    If popularity indicates influence, then tech people on Twitter fade into obscurity compared to actual political, business & entertainment celebrities. Twitter is a vocal but small little world and I think it is ridiculous to inflate ones importance because one has more followers than others. It’s depth, not breadth, quality, not quantity that determines influence.

  29. Lucretia, that’s why I say a combination of the two is ideal – imagine if Britney engaged all 12.5k of those followers, building community with them. She wouldn’t have people to engage if she didn’t have the followers in the first place (again, the chicken or the egg problem). The number is one thing, and still important. Scoble’s right too though in that she actually has to listen to those followers to get the full value from it. That was the point of my own post. To get the full value you can’t have one without the other.

  30. Lucretia, that’s why I say a combination of the two is ideal – imagine if Britney engaged all 12.5k of those followers, building community with them. She wouldn’t have people to engage if she didn’t have the followers in the first place (again, the chicken or the egg problem). The number is one thing, and still important. Scoble’s right too though in that she actually has to listen to those followers to get the full value from it. That was the point of my own post. To get the full value you can’t have one without the other.

  31. @Scoble
    I am a recent user (1 month) and I see this as a medium to capture what is happening around me in a casual manner and in the process, join conversations that I feel are relevant to me. I often look at the 2nd and 3rd (even 4th, 5th) pages of search engine results and am amazed at what I find out, sometimes not relevant to the search but still useful.

    While there is nothing wrong in the most active users to demand/expect a little extra, ranking based on authority (and followers) could end up drowning other voices as it will give more importance to scoble and arrington and loic.

    “Better friends. Better content. Better news. Better ideas. Better People”

  32. @Scoble
    I am a recent user (1 month) and I see this as a medium to capture what is happening around me in a casual manner and in the process, join conversations that I feel are relevant to me. I often look at the 2nd and 3rd (even 4th, 5th) pages of search engine results and am amazed at what I find out, sometimes not relevant to the search but still useful.

    While there is nothing wrong in the most active users to demand/expect a little extra, ranking based on authority (and followers) could end up drowning other voices as it will give more importance to scoble and arrington and loic.

    “Better friends. Better content. Better news. Better ideas. Better People”

  33. Thanks for the insightful post, Robert. This is exactly why 70% of the people I follow on twitter are either people I have met personally or services that I use. (More so the former.) The other 30% are people and companies that I feel I can learn something from or find interesting.

    What this really means is that ultimately my followers number will stay fairly low, and grow slowly. I don’t blindly follow in the hopes that my numbers will grow, rather I prefer to actually use the service as something that connects me with more interesting people and enriches my life. I think it could be safely said that this is more in keeping with the original intent of twitter.

    If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s being followed and unfollowed repeatedly by the dummies with bots who are trying to boost their follower numbers. If I look and see that you have a 200:1 followed-to-follower ratio with few updates, you can bet that I will immediately write you off as somebody who is not worth the space in my tweetdeck.

  34. Thanks for the insightful post, Robert. This is exactly why 70% of the people I follow on twitter are either people I have met personally or services that I use. (More so the former.) The other 30% are people and companies that I feel I can learn something from or find interesting.

    What this really means is that ultimately my followers number will stay fairly low, and grow slowly. I don’t blindly follow in the hopes that my numbers will grow, rather I prefer to actually use the service as something that connects me with more interesting people and enriches my life. I think it could be safely said that this is more in keeping with the original intent of twitter.

    If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s being followed and unfollowed repeatedly by the dummies with bots who are trying to boost their follower numbers. If I look and see that you have a 200:1 followed-to-follower ratio with few updates, you can bet that I will immediately write you off as somebody who is not worth the space in my tweetdeck.

  35. Robert,

    The central argument of your post seems to be, “a person ought to focus more on adding value than showmanship.” It is a fair argument and I fully concur with it.

    On an abstract note, everyone is smart enough to dig out the truth, provided she is interested in finding it. As such, when masses follow someone with this facet of equation being balanced, there is more value in filtering the results based on who has more followers. Clearly, that depends on whether or not the masses had an interest in looking at the truth. Matter of fact is that the truth is weirder than fiction, because unlike the later, it has no compulsion to make sense. It is harder to handle for us humans. Surely, no piece of technology can help with that.

    “Try go get smarter” is any day better. Let’s not worry about rails, the Universe has a quaint property to balance itself well, :)

  36. Robert,

    The central argument of your post seems to be, “a person ought to focus more on adding value than showmanship.” It is a fair argument and I fully concur with it.

    On an abstract note, everyone is smart enough to dig out the truth, provided she is interested in finding it. As such, when masses follow someone with this facet of equation being balanced, there is more value in filtering the results based on who has more followers. Clearly, that depends on whether or not the masses had an interest in looking at the truth. Matter of fact is that the truth is weirder than fiction, because unlike the later, it has no compulsion to make sense. It is harder to handle for us humans. Surely, no piece of technology can help with that.

    “Try go get smarter” is any day better. Let’s not worry about rails, the Universe has a quaint property to balance itself well, :)

  37. Look, I agree with your position that it should be about who you follow and not followers. But, let’s be honest here.

    You can take that position, comfortable in the knowledge that you’re sitting on one of the largest group of followers in the Twit world (make up your own punch line).

    You have over 40K followers. If you offer a new e-book for $39 tomorrow, Twitter alone might bring $15-20K in one day’s direct revenue. I have less than 1,000 followers and zero celebrity, compared to you. I’d love to have that kind of potential one day, and only generating followers will accomplish that.

    Maybe a lot of your elite tech buddies also know that and figure that it’s best to play the game with the hand that’s been dealt. I suspect that, for those who are in the high profile group, the relative ease of building a huge Twitter following and the certainty of being able to monetize it must be pretty attractive.

    I’d love to see the following/follower ratio be dropped. I started following a lot of people when I started and then was told that this would endanger my account. Others called me a spammer because my ratio was “out of whack.”

    I’d love to see a lot of changes to Twitter and guys like you — with major media access — can help to bring that about.

    While I’m ranting, I’d also love to see some of you power players follow me when I follow you.

    And if you did, I’d REALLY love to see you actually re-tweet something to your stream. I follow a few of the big hitters and I can’t ever recall seeing any of you re-tweet anything — from me or anybody else — though your stuff is RT’d all the time.

    Okay. Done. Thanks.

    Keep it coming.

    http://twitter.com/jerryroberts

    (just in case you feel charitable today)

  38. The Comic Project: exactly.

    Jesse: the problem is that you are advocating using follower numbers to juice the search results. If you do that you’ll reward types like Britney Spears or Obama, or, worse, companies, who don’t participate and who just have lots of followers. That’s EXACTLY why it’s the wrong metric to use. There are far better ones.

  39. Look, I agree with your position that it should be about who you follow and not followers. But, let’s be honest here.

    You can take that position, comfortable in the knowledge that you’re sitting on one of the largest group of followers in the Twit world (make up your own punch line).

    You have over 40K followers. If you offer a new e-book for $39 tomorrow, Twitter alone might bring $15-20K in one day’s direct revenue. I have less than 1,000 followers and zero celebrity, compared to you. I’d love to have that kind of potential one day, and only generating followers will accomplish that.

    Maybe a lot of your elite tech buddies also know that and figure that it’s best to play the game with the hand that’s been dealt. I suspect that, for those who are in the high profile group, the relative ease of building a huge Twitter following and the certainty of being able to monetize it must be pretty attractive.

    I’d love to see the following/follower ratio be dropped. I started following a lot of people when I started and then was told that this would endanger my account. Others called me a spammer because my ratio was “out of whack.”

    I’d love to see a lot of changes to Twitter and guys like you — with major media access — can help to bring that about.

    While I’m ranting, I’d also love to see some of you power players follow me when I follow you.

    And if you did, I’d REALLY love to see you actually re-tweet something to your stream. I follow a few of the big hitters and I can’t ever recall seeing any of you re-tweet anything — from me or anybody else — though your stuff is RT’d all the time.

    Okay. Done. Thanks.

    Keep it coming.

    http://twitter.com/jerryroberts

    (just in case you feel charitable today)

  40. The Comic Project: exactly.

    Jesse: the problem is that you are advocating using follower numbers to juice the search results. If you do that you’ll reward types like Britney Spears or Obama, or, worse, companies, who don’t participate and who just have lots of followers. That’s EXACTLY why it’s the wrong metric to use. There are far better ones.

  41. Jerry: you sound like someone I try to stay away from. A follower gamer. Why should I follow you? What will you teach me? Why don’t you approach me that way than try to make me follow you just because you’re following me?

    By the way, what we’re talking about would be REWARDING people with lots of followers (like me). So, if we did what Loic and Mike wanted us to do people like you would be greatly hurt because you would be washed out of search results. Today if you go to http://search.twitter.com we’re all treated the same. Do you really want that engine to treat me better than it would treat you? That’s what you’re advocating for.

  42. Jerry: you sound like someone I try to stay away from. A follower gamer. Why should I follow you? What will you teach me? Why don’t you approach me that way than try to make me follow you just because you’re following me?

    By the way, what we’re talking about would be REWARDING people with lots of followers (like me). So, if we did what Loic and Mike wanted us to do people like you would be greatly hurt because you would be washed out of search results. Today if you go to http://search.twitter.com we’re all treated the same. Do you really want that engine to treat me better than it would treat you? That’s what you’re advocating for.

  43. To add to my earlier comment, what I would love to see in Twitter is a more intelligent way of searching for valuable content.

    Even with only 1,000 people who I’m following, it’s impossible to keep up and filter good stuff from the fluff and direct pitches.

    It would be wonderful to surround myself with great thinkers on Twitter, but it would be even better to have the ability to siphon off their tweets without having to plow through all the other stuff.

    Maybe one of the tech elite that congregates here will point me toward a solution for that.

    Thanks.

  44. To add to my earlier comment, what I would love to see in Twitter is a more intelligent way of searching for valuable content.

    Even with only 1,000 people who I’m following, it’s impossible to keep up and filter good stuff from the fluff and direct pitches.

    It would be wonderful to surround myself with great thinkers on Twitter, but it would be even better to have the ability to siphon off their tweets without having to plow through all the other stuff.

    Maybe one of the tech elite that congregates here will point me toward a solution for that.

    Thanks.

  45. Who said you have to post about your personal life or celebrities? It’s not the “media’s” fault, it’s how we use it. Post IT news and links or follow people doing this already. Twitter is just a small picture of the real world, with all kind of people.

  46. Who said you have to post about your personal life or celebrities? It’s not the “media’s” fault, it’s how we use it. Post IT news and links or follow people doing this already. Twitter is just a small picture of the real world, with all kind of people.

  47. Robert : I as MANY OTHERS out there in the REAL World are LISTENING to others’ s experience’ sharing, LEARNING from them, TESTING their new services. In summary, we WANT to MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, TOGETHER.
    What LLM and MA are “telling” us don’t matter at all to us: they are like young kids at the kindergarten, playing with toys that don’t belong to them, toys that they didn’t pay for at all. Heck, are Seesmic or TC really changing the World ?

    Please keep going, Buddy. You have it right.
    _Marc

  48. Robert : I as MANY OTHERS out there in the REAL World are LISTENING to others’ s experience’ sharing, LEARNING from them, TESTING their new services. In summary, we WANT to MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, TOGETHER.
    What LLM and MA are “telling” us don’t matter at all to us: they are like young kids at the kindergarten, playing with toys that don’t belong to them, toys that they didn’t pay for at all. Heck, are Seesmic or TC really changing the World ?

    Please keep going, Buddy. You have it right.
    _Marc

  49. Authority = popularity
    Hum… This had a name once: populism. A dirty concept for troubled times…

  50. Robert, I’m talking about enabling that as an option, but not the only option. # Followers shouldn’t be the only factor in determining authority – it should be flexible, to be determined by the individual. There are times it could be valuable to search by number of followers, but I certainly don’t want that as my only option – I wouldn’t find search valuable if that were the case.

    My whole point is that I think both you, and Mike and Loic all have a point. I’m simply taking the middle ground here – I think any business not interested in followers is an idiot, yet the only way to fully utilize those followers is to engage and talk to them, by following them back. They’re idiots if they don’t do that as well.

  51. Authority = popularity
    Hum… This had a name once: populism. A dirty concept for troubled times…

  52. Robert, I’m talking about enabling that as an option, but not the only option. # Followers shouldn’t be the only factor in determining authority – it should be flexible, to be determined by the individual. There are times it could be valuable to search by number of followers, but I certainly don’t want that as my only option – I wouldn’t find search valuable if that were the case.

    My whole point is that I think both you, and Mike and Loic all have a point. I’m simply taking the middle ground here – I think any business not interested in followers is an idiot, yet the only way to fully utilize those followers is to engage and talk to them, by following them back. They’re idiots if they don’t do that as well.

  53. Well, if loic really wants to filter out the tweets that matter, he should first make up his mind about what he actually wants to measure. The total number of followers says only something about your popularity as you already have stated. However, I suggest that twitter should introduce a rating system just like friendfeed has its “likes”. Now here comes my statement. We should think in relative numbers, not in raw/absolute numbers because again, the latter relates to one’s popularity. Percentages are the way to go if we want to add value. Of course people with more followers are more likely to have stronger influence resulting in more retweets. But really, do they make us any smarter compared to underdogs? Eventually it all comes down to power and we all know that with great power comes great responsibility.

  54. Robert,

    I can understand how you’d see it that way, with how I presented my initial argument. I suppose I was trying to play devil’s advocate in a small way.

    I’m certainly trying to build some following on Twitter, and big numbers would be nice, but the real value is what comes down the stream. I’ve already hired someone from Twitter, solved a couple of problems, and came up with a Christmas game when I needed one instantly.

    Long term, I care about the quality of who I get to listen to; while I still have to consider that I have a business to build.

    My most important point is that I CAN’T follow everybody I’d want to. I’d be suspended for that. To me, the ratio issue is ridiculous. But if I want to play on Twitter, what recourse do I have?

    Per your question, “What can you teach me?”…my ego is not so large that I’m going to say I’m capable of teaching you anything. However, I’m launching a career/workplace blog in the next week, with a voice that I don’t think exists to any large degree within my noisy little niche.

    Not sure that would be of interest to you but even if it was, how would you know unless I had a way to get on your radar screen?

    Have a good one.

    Jerry

  55. Well, if loic really wants to filter out the tweets that matter, he should first make up his mind about what he actually wants to measure. The total number of followers says only something about your popularity as you already have stated. However, I suggest that twitter should introduce a rating system just like friendfeed has its “likes”. Now here comes my statement. We should think in relative numbers, not in raw/absolute numbers because again, the latter relates to one’s popularity. Percentages are the way to go if we want to add value. Of course people with more followers are more likely to have stronger influence resulting in more retweets. But really, do they make us any smarter compared to underdogs? Eventually it all comes down to power and we all know that with great power comes great responsibility.

  56. Robert,

    I can understand how you’d see it that way, with how I presented my initial argument. I suppose I was trying to play devil’s advocate in a small way.

    I’m certainly trying to build some following on Twitter, and big numbers would be nice, but the real value is what comes down the stream. I’ve already hired someone from Twitter, solved a couple of problems, and came up with a Christmas game when I needed one instantly.

    Long term, I care about the quality of who I get to listen to; while I still have to consider that I have a business to build.

    My most important point is that I CAN’T follow everybody I’d want to. I’d be suspended for that. To me, the ratio issue is ridiculous. But if I want to play on Twitter, what recourse do I have?

    Per your question, “What can you teach me?”…my ego is not so large that I’m going to say I’m capable of teaching you anything. However, I’m launching a career/workplace blog in the next week, with a voice that I don’t think exists to any large degree within my noisy little niche.

    Not sure that would be of interest to you but even if it was, how would you know unless I had a way to get on your radar screen?

    Have a good one.

    Jerry

  57. Jerry: getting on my radar screen is very easy. You just have to include @scobleizer in your Tweet. I guarantee you I’ll see that, even if I don’t respond to every one. An even better way, though? Participate over on friendfeed. That’s where I’ve spent most of my time this year.

  58. Jerry: getting on my radar screen is very easy. You just have to include @scobleizer in your Tweet. I guarantee you I’ll see that, even if I don’t respond to every one. An even better way, though? Participate over on friendfeed. That’s where I’ve spent most of my time this year.

  59. Robert: Also–think about video vs. text (blog) from the readers perspective. I have alot of time to read a lot of stuff when presented in text as it is efficient for me. Scanning and drill down is easy and under my control. Getting info via video is “real” time and hard for me to scan and drill down. Hence I don’t bother doing video unless it’s for entertainment. So … don’t abandon blogging and don’t rely instant messaging at the expense of creating well-crafted things for readers to *read*.

  60. Robert: Also–think about video vs. text (blog) from the readers perspective. I have alot of time to read a lot of stuff when presented in text as it is efficient for me. Scanning and drill down is easy and under my control. Getting info via video is “real” time and hard for me to scan and drill down. Hence I don’t bother doing video unless it’s for entertainment. So … don’t abandon blogging and don’t rely instant messaging at the expense of creating well-crafted things for readers to *read*.

  61. The larger issue, I think, goes way beyond twitter. How do we encourage a society where people value Tim O Reilly over Britney Spears? That’s a noble question to ponder, IMHO

  62. The larger issue, I think, goes way beyond twitter. How do we encourage a society where people value Tim O Reilly over Britney Spears? That’s a noble question to ponder, IMHO

  63. Arjun Singh Says: “The larger issue, I think, goes way beyond twitter. How do we encourage a society where people value Tim O Reilly over Britney Spears? That’s a noble question to ponder, IMHO”

    Regardless of the medium, the celeb crowd will find it, populate it, and eventually control it — in terms of sheer numbers. The Twitter of 2009 or 2010 won’t even resemble what we see today. I’m sure the quality was better last year than now.

    It’s not just social media, but all media.

    Maybe Friendfeed or some other app will provide safe haven for awhile, but it’s a bandaid and not the solution you’re looking for.

    Cool trumps “noble,” so far as most people are concerned. It’s sad, but an inescapable fact.

  64. Arjun Singh Says: “The larger issue, I think, goes way beyond twitter. How do we encourage a society where people value Tim O Reilly over Britney Spears? That’s a noble question to ponder, IMHO”

    Regardless of the medium, the celeb crowd will find it, populate it, and eventually control it — in terms of sheer numbers. The Twitter of 2009 or 2010 won’t even resemble what we see today. I’m sure the quality was better last year than now.

    It’s not just social media, but all media.

    Maybe Friendfeed or some other app will provide safe haven for awhile, but it’s a bandaid and not the solution you’re looking for.

    Cool trumps “noble,” so far as most people are concerned. It’s sad, but an inescapable fact.

  65. Robert,
    Chris Brogan, Tim O`Reilly and yourself helped me see the value in twitter. I`m following more peeps than are following me right now precisely because of value. I keep finding interesting, informative or entertaining people, so I follow. If they become spammish or otherwise annoying, I tend to unfollow. It does bug me when someone has a gazillian followers and doesn`t follow people back, but I know that`s a personal peeve, and there are many logical explanations for it. I also find that once a twitterer`s followers go up, they are less likely to respond to @ statements, and it becomes annoying to be systematically ignored. I`ve chatted about this with other peeps, and they are rather annoyed at the `distant twitter gods`who do this as well. On the other hand, there is only so much time in a day, so I have sympathy for the gods.

    There are some people, like yourself, that though you ignore me on twitter, I do continue to follow. Why? Because you know do really know your stuff and you do provide clear and concise content of interest and value to me. I really appreciate how hard line you are about value being number 1 and not getting sucked into the numbers game. It is tough not to because there are oh soooo many devil`s advocate reasons to suck you in. Do you, Tim O`Reilly and Chris Brogan attend sweat lodges now and then to keep on the true warrior`s path or something?

    Now about friendfeed. Just tried tweetree today, and thinking maybe it can be improved so I wont need friendfeed? I have peeked into friendfeed land, and I have to admit it does look complicated = big learning curve. @geniodiabolico`s (Dave Slusher) rants against twitter and for friendfeed got me thinking, and so I checked it out, but found it a bit like a large dark and foreign wood, so I scooted right back out again. Any other encouraging words for why friendfeed instead of twitter?

  66. Robert,
    Chris Brogan, Tim O`Reilly and yourself helped me see the value in twitter. I`m following more peeps than are following me right now precisely because of value. I keep finding interesting, informative or entertaining people, so I follow. If they become spammish or otherwise annoying, I tend to unfollow. It does bug me when someone has a gazillian followers and doesn`t follow people back, but I know that`s a personal peeve, and there are many logical explanations for it. I also find that once a twitterer`s followers go up, they are less likely to respond to @ statements, and it becomes annoying to be systematically ignored. I`ve chatted about this with other peeps, and they are rather annoyed at the `distant twitter gods`who do this as well. On the other hand, there is only so much time in a day, so I have sympathy for the gods.

    There are some people, like yourself, that though you ignore me on twitter, I do continue to follow. Why? Because you know do really know your stuff and you do provide clear and concise content of interest and value to me. I really appreciate how hard line you are about value being number 1 and not getting sucked into the numbers game. It is tough not to because there are oh soooo many devil`s advocate reasons to suck you in. Do you, Tim O`Reilly and Chris Brogan attend sweat lodges now and then to keep on the true warrior`s path or something?

    Now about friendfeed. Just tried tweetree today, and thinking maybe it can be improved so I wont need friendfeed? I have peeked into friendfeed land, and I have to admit it does look complicated = big learning curve. @geniodiabolico`s (Dave Slusher) rants against twitter and for friendfeed got me thinking, and so I checked it out, but found it a bit like a large dark and foreign wood, so I scooted right back out again. Any other encouraging words for why friendfeed instead of twitter?

  67. Robert you forgot something,

    Smart people are going to places like Google to get money as in my statup is geting some Google attention and I expect once the reading GPS from javascript on android video is up I expect hat turn into somewhat seed capital from Google..

    Its an interesting story involving engineering excellence, clouds, social clouds, and mobile..

    Yes, started doing video s of dev progress. probably the very first time a start up has been that transparent.

    and Robert I would not call those who are non technical idiots or land o idiots as its somewhat not respecting where the money comes from..you do not see me calling my potential users idiots do YOU ROBERT?

    Dev progress of Xpsot vids are at:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/memine44

  68. Robert you forgot something,

    Smart people are going to places like Google to get money as in my statup is geting some Google attention and I expect once the reading GPS from javascript on android video is up I expect hat turn into somewhat seed capital from Google..

    Its an interesting story involving engineering excellence, clouds, social clouds, and mobile..

    Yes, started doing video s of dev progress. probably the very first time a start up has been that transparent.

    and Robert I would not call those who are non technical idiots or land o idiots as its somewhat not respecting where the money comes from..you do not see me calling my potential users idiots do YOU ROBERT?

    Dev progress of Xpsot vids are at:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/memine44

  69. Robert, interesting thoughts. This has been going on for awhile though. The top tier bloggers essentially became media outlets – and thus beholden to the same “newsertainment” demands that CNN and others long succumbed to. Others are following them by “lazyblogging.”

    You and I got into blogging long ago for the connections and the deep thoughts. The way we can change and go back in time is to be the change we want to see. As much as I respect you, posts like these and participating in “b-memes” don’t get you to where I think you want to go. So my suggestion is to be the change you want to see. Lead and others will follow – some won’t but that’s ok. There’s room for newsertainment in social media just as there is everywhere else.

    This is why I don’t often blog about these memes because I am more turned on intellectually by what I find in my Thinkers group. Just a suggestion – friend to friend.

    Steve

  70. Robert, interesting thoughts. This has been going on for awhile though. The top tier bloggers essentially became media outlets – and thus beholden to the same “newsertainment” demands that CNN and others long succumbed to. Others are following them by “lazyblogging.”

    You and I got into blogging long ago for the connections and the deep thoughts. The way we can change and go back in time is to be the change we want to see. As much as I respect you, posts like these and participating in “b-memes” don’t get you to where I think you want to go. So my suggestion is to be the change you want to see. Lead and others will follow – some won’t but that’s ok. There’s room for newsertainment in social media just as there is everywhere else.

    This is why I don’t often blog about these memes because I am more turned on intellectually by what I find in my Thinkers group. Just a suggestion – friend to friend.

    Steve

  71. I read once,

    “Only 2% actually think,

    3% think they think

    and the other 95% would

    rather die than think!”

    It’s hard work to think.. Why do you think we had
    only one Thomas Edison, one Ben Franklin..one John Lennon ect.

    It’s easier to
    play the role of idiot (your word not mine)

    However when it’s all said and done.. Those who teach and share

    and are able to give more “give” value end up getting more “get” value!

  72. I read once,

    “Only 2% actually think,

    3% think they think

    and the other 95% would

    rather die than think!”

    It’s hard work to think.. Why do you think we had
    only one Thomas Edison, one Ben Franklin..one John Lennon ect.

    It’s easier to
    play the role of idiot (your word not mine)

    However when it’s all said and done.. Those who teach and share

    and are able to give more “give” value end up getting more “get” value!

  73. Us librarians agree with you – we’ve always been about “improving the question” – which sounds awefully similar to having smarter conversations.

  74. Us librarians agree with you – we’ve always been about “improving the question” – which sounds awefully similar to having smarter conversations.

  75. Great thoughts but sadly I think you are in the minority. For many, Twitter is a place to increase their personal brand rather than a place to sit down, listen, and have a drink. Instead of a pub, many think Twitter is a podium.

  76. Great thoughts but sadly I think you are in the minority. For many, Twitter is a place to increase their personal brand rather than a place to sit down, listen, and have a drink. Instead of a pub, many think Twitter is a podium.

  77. Focus on the goal people. If your goal is to have smarter conversations, then you’re absolutely right Robert: you should focus on that goal. If your goal is to make more money, or attract those that can help you make more money (aka Mr. Arrington), then you should absolutely do whatever will take you to that goal.

    I like the idea of smarter conversations. My goal is to connect with more authentic people.

    Thanks for another smart conversation!

  78. Focus on the goal people. If your goal is to have smarter conversations, then you’re absolutely right Robert: you should focus on that goal. If your goal is to make more money, or attract those that can help you make more money (aka Mr. Arrington), then you should absolutely do whatever will take you to that goal.

    I like the idea of smarter conversations. My goal is to connect with more authentic people.

    Thanks for another smart conversation!

  79. Robert,

    I agree with your statement: “I want better friends. Better content. Better news. Better ideas. That means I need to find better people to be part of my social network.”

    It is for a reason I often use the nickname, Lyceum. It was the name of Aristotle’s school in ancient Greece.

    Next year I will continue a new series of podcast interviews with rational individuals in order to have valuable conversation and to learn new stuff. I have interviewed an editorial cartoonist and an author so far. Next in line is a smart investor. Stay tuned!

    Best Premises,

    Martin Lindeskog – American in Spirit.
    Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Lyceum0 @ FriendFeed
    http://Twitter.com/lyceum

  80. Robert,

    I agree with your statement: “I want better friends. Better content. Better news. Better ideas. That means I need to find better people to be part of my social network.”

    It is for a reason I often use the nickname, Lyceum. It was the name of Aristotle’s school in ancient Greece.

    Next year I will continue a new series of podcast interviews with rational individuals in order to have valuable conversation and to learn new stuff. I have interviewed an editorial cartoonist and an author so far. Next in line is a smart investor. Stay tuned!

    Best Premises,

    Martin Lindeskog – American in Spirit.
    Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Lyceum0 @ FriendFeed
    http://Twitter.com/lyceum

  81. Robert: at the risk of sounding trite or simplistic, I think you should consider the following points:

    1. Ignore Mike Arrington’s opinion in this matter – you have different goals backing your opinion on the value of large numbers of followers. Or at least accept that he has a different point of view. Oh, by the way, Mike hasn’t dragged me off the rails, nor has he dragged 99%+ of the world’s (or blogosphere’s) population after him. The people who we use as thought-leaders and role models tend not to be the most popular. “Me too” is getting far too old. Also, perhaps the recent declines in Techcrunch readership are not a sign of idiocy of the readership, but a sign of intelligence: a signal that it’s not meeting some people’s needs.
    2. Continue trying to start or join in smart conversations – see, you’re already on the right track
    3. Continue to look beyond the tech blogosphere for smart people and smart conversations (which you’ve been doing this year) – see point 2
    4. Finish what you start – if you start a new conversation, etc. then give it some time to carry on, become more complex, etc. and keep checking in. Build on it. You’re already doing that in this post.
    5. Acknowledge that we all want some brain candy in addition to good, nourishing stuff.

  82. Robert: at the risk of sounding trite or simplistic, I think you should consider the following points:

    1. Ignore Mike Arrington’s opinion in this matter – you have different goals backing your opinion on the value of large numbers of followers. Or at least accept that he has a different point of view. Oh, by the way, Mike hasn’t dragged me off the rails, nor has he dragged 99%+ of the world’s (or blogosphere’s) population after him. The people who we use as thought-leaders and role models tend not to be the most popular. “Me too” is getting far too old. Also, perhaps the recent declines in Techcrunch readership are not a sign of idiocy of the readership, but a sign of intelligence: a signal that it’s not meeting some people’s needs.
    2. Continue trying to start or join in smart conversations – see, you’re already on the right track
    3. Continue to look beyond the tech blogosphere for smart people and smart conversations (which you’ve been doing this year) – see point 2
    4. Finish what you start – if you start a new conversation, etc. then give it some time to carry on, become more complex, etc. and keep checking in. Build on it. You’re already doing that in this post.
    5. Acknowledge that we all want some brain candy in addition to good, nourishing stuff.

  83. I guess the question is Robert, why should anyone follow you? All this Twitter based naval gazing, who really gives a damn? You appear famous for absorbing yourself in Twitter and their ilk, so personally speaking I subscribe to your blog in the hope that this will enable you to provide real insight into the world of web 2.0. All this playground squabbling is all rather sad.

  84. I guess the question is Robert, why should anyone follow you? All this Twitter based naval gazing, who really gives a damn? You appear famous for absorbing yourself in Twitter and their ilk, so personally speaking I subscribe to your blog in the hope that this will enable you to provide real insight into the world of web 2.0. All this playground squabbling is all rather sad.

  85. Really you have a very correct point there.This is a real idiocy or rather a game for popularity.Twitter has a beauty of randomness which should be preserved.The obscurity of less popular users will grow leading to circle of only popular tweeters.This will be like making a celebrity web2.0 portal.Great opinions.

  86. Really you have a very correct point there.This is a real idiocy or rather a game for popularity.Twitter has a beauty of randomness which should be preserved.The obscurity of less popular users will grow leading to circle of only popular tweeters.This will be like making a celebrity web2.0 portal.Great opinions.

  87. Robert, I write financial and investment articles on Newsvine. I treat any kind of writing, whether it’s an article or blog post as a creative endeavor. I write when I have something to say and when I’m in a creative mood. That means I rarely write every day. Usually it’s once a week or longer. This came from my music background where I would write songs only when my creative juices were flowing. Anytime I tried to write without feeling the creative flow, the result sounded forced and the quality was not up to my creative standards.

    Blogging frequently for the sake of increasing traffic doesn’t make sense to me. I find the majority of bloggers who post once a day or more tend to repeat a lot of content and the quality of the writing suffers. There are exceptions as some bloggers are extremely prolific.

    Bottom line, blog when you’re ready to say something meaningful and I’ll read it.

  88. Robert, I write financial and investment articles on Newsvine. I treat any kind of writing, whether it’s an article or blog post as a creative endeavor. I write when I have something to say and when I’m in a creative mood. That means I rarely write every day. Usually it’s once a week or longer. This came from my music background where I would write songs only when my creative juices were flowing. Anytime I tried to write without feeling the creative flow, the result sounded forced and the quality was not up to my creative standards.

    Blogging frequently for the sake of increasing traffic doesn’t make sense to me. I find the majority of bloggers who post once a day or more tend to repeat a lot of content and the quality of the writing suffers. There are exceptions as some bloggers are extremely prolific.

    Bottom line, blog when you’re ready to say something meaningful and I’ll read it.

  89. Hogwash! Authority should be weighed by key words and interactions, not followers. Having a 140 convo about tech often should up your “Authority” on the search word tech…

  90. Measuring online authority is difficult. After publishing a Twitter Top-40, I received a lot of criticism about measuring the amount of tweets. Those critics thought that the amount of followers was the ultimate criterium, but they should read your remarks above. There is no ultimate criterium, and why should we care?

  91. Hogwash! Authority should be weighed by key words and interactions, not followers. Having a 140 convo about tech often should up your “Authority” on the search word tech…

  92. Measuring online authority is difficult. After publishing a Twitter Top-40, I received a lot of criticism about measuring the amount of tweets. Those critics thought that the amount of followers was the ultimate criterium, but they should read your remarks above. There is no ultimate criterium, and why should we care?

  93. Robert,
    I think you make some excellent points. This is not about numbers, nor about which tool is best (although it helps to know which tools make it easier.) Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Friendfeed, etc the point is really about reaching out to others to broaden your network, and thus broaden the incoming information into your brain. We all will use various tools differently. But what really matters is how we use the relationships that come from these “social adventures” and how these relationships both aide our offline and online worlds. What do people make of the relationships? That is what really matters I think. All this nonsense of who has more followers or who is on top of what list is a waste of time. Thank you for some excellent insights.

  94. Robert,
    I think you make some excellent points. This is not about numbers, nor about which tool is best (although it helps to know which tools make it easier.) Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Friendfeed, etc the point is really about reaching out to others to broaden your network, and thus broaden the incoming information into your brain. We all will use various tools differently. But what really matters is how we use the relationships that come from these “social adventures” and how these relationships both aide our offline and online worlds. What do people make of the relationships? That is what really matters I think. All this nonsense of who has more followers or who is on top of what list is a waste of time. Thank you for some excellent insights.

  95. Tweeting is smaller type blong-wanking…
    An “idiot” is someone who does not participate in public discourse or vote. By that measure, any fan-fury is idiotic.

  96. Tweeting is smaller type blong-wanking…
    An “idiot” is someone who does not participate in public discourse or vote. By that measure, any fan-fury is idiotic.

  97. Robert, curious has there been anything you learned from the 5,000 people you follow you put to practical use?

    Also a side note, could you power your comments with disqus so I don’t have to login all the time?

  98. Robert, curious has there been anything you learned from the 5,000 people you follow you put to practical use?

    Also a side note, could you power your comments with disqus so I don’t have to login all the time?

  99. Robert,
    As someone who is relatively new to Twitter and is just trying to figure it out I am at a crossroads. I want to follow “smart people” but assessing their intelligence is not that easy. There may be name recognition, we examine their Tweets, maybe visit their blog, or if they have a lot of followers than we can guess that they must have important things to say.

    There are a few that I follow because they are in a space that I am interested in and they have a lot of followers. There are others I follow because they are in my space and seem to be “smart” but do not have a lot of followers. Unfortunately, there are others I follow because if I don’t follow them they will stop following me and it seems that if I want to have a loud voice in this space then the number of people that follow me is supposed to be important.

    So, my reason for being on Twitter is three fold:
    1-Be part of the conversation
    2-Learn from “smart” people
    3-Share my knowledge with others

    I am writing a blog that is supposed to help people, add to the conversation and educate. I don’t insert adSense ads or try to monetize the site in any way. I want people to read my blog and contribute and, now that I have been on Twitter, I am seeing that traffic increase. That is a good thing. People are reading what I have to say, making comments and it is allowing me to think harder, grow and be part of the conversation.

    What is your recommendation to someone like me? new to Twitter, who has been blogging for 5 months and wants to be part of the conversation?

  100. Robert,
    As someone who is relatively new to Twitter and is just trying to figure it out I am at a crossroads. I want to follow “smart people” but assessing their intelligence is not that easy. There may be name recognition, we examine their Tweets, maybe visit their blog, or if they have a lot of followers than we can guess that they must have important things to say.

    There are a few that I follow because they are in a space that I am interested in and they have a lot of followers. There are others I follow because they are in my space and seem to be “smart” but do not have a lot of followers. Unfortunately, there are others I follow because if I don’t follow them they will stop following me and it seems that if I want to have a loud voice in this space then the number of people that follow me is supposed to be important.

    So, my reason for being on Twitter is three fold:
    1-Be part of the conversation
    2-Learn from “smart” people
    3-Share my knowledge with others

    I am writing a blog that is supposed to help people, add to the conversation and educate. I don’t insert adSense ads or try to monetize the site in any way. I want people to read my blog and contribute and, now that I have been on Twitter, I am seeing that traffic increase. That is a good thing. People are reading what I have to say, making comments and it is allowing me to think harder, grow and be part of the conversation.

    What is your recommendation to someone like me? new to Twitter, who has been blogging for 5 months and wants to be part of the conversation?

  101. At the very end of the first Matrix (or the only Matrix, if you’re like me), there’s that part where Neo realizes he doesn’t even have to dodge the bullets any longer.

    I don’t care about the authority of twitter search results. Twitter is a wired network and I know how to search it. I know how to parse the people I want to read. I know how to extract and insert value.

    I hope they don’t muck with Twitter search. I use it just fine, all the time.

    As for the fight? I don’t spend my calories that way. Lots of people have no idea what Twitter’s about, and they write a new article about it ever day. Fine by me.

  102. At the very end of the first Matrix (or the only Matrix, if you’re like me), there’s that part where Neo realizes he doesn’t even have to dodge the bullets any longer.

    I don’t care about the authority of twitter search results. Twitter is a wired network and I know how to search it. I know how to parse the people I want to read. I know how to extract and insert value.

    I hope they don’t muck with Twitter search. I use it just fine, all the time.

    As for the fight? I don’t spend my calories that way. Lots of people have no idea what Twitter’s about, and they write a new article about it ever day. Fine by me.

  103. Robert,
    Thanks for the insight into why you ‘hand-followed’ the first 5000 people – they are early adopters etc. But that leaves a god 15,000 people and your response seems to suggest that you used some form of auto-follow to follow them Again this is something I don’t understand. If people are following me I want them to continue only because they value what I say – I lose almost as many followers every day as I gain and overall the count inches up because the people who stay find things I say valuable. If someone wants to leave just because I didn’t follow them back they are the wrong kind of person – so I have never found autofollow meaningful. Could you also explain what is the value of auto following other than to “retain” followers? I want to believe you when you say “it’s who you follow that matters” but it seems like you have two different kinds of following behavior – a) you autofollow anyone who follows you just so they don’t drop away and b) you head over to Friendfeed and really *listen* to only a few people using filtering tools. So why continue to “follow” so many people when you don’t really listen to ~95% of them? To me following really means valuing what people say – and by following about 150 people (the monkeysphere) I can get valuable information and build relationships all just using Twitter tools.

  104. Robert,
    Thanks for the insight into why you ‘hand-followed’ the first 5000 people – they are early adopters etc. But that leaves a god 15,000 people and your response seems to suggest that you used some form of auto-follow to follow them Again this is something I don’t understand. If people are following me I want them to continue only because they value what I say – I lose almost as many followers every day as I gain and overall the count inches up because the people who stay find things I say valuable. If someone wants to leave just because I didn’t follow them back they are the wrong kind of person – so I have never found autofollow meaningful. Could you also explain what is the value of auto following other than to “retain” followers? I want to believe you when you say “it’s who you follow that matters” but it seems like you have two different kinds of following behavior – a) you autofollow anyone who follows you just so they don’t drop away and b) you head over to Friendfeed and really *listen* to only a few people using filtering tools. So why continue to “follow” so many people when you don’t really listen to ~95% of them? To me following really means valuing what people say – and by following about 150 people (the monkeysphere) I can get valuable information and build relationships all just using Twitter tools.

  105. Robert, for me its my engaged followers. These are the ones I learn the most from. The second tier are the people I follow and learn from. I vet who I follow. I expect the people who follow me to vet me as well.

  106. Adi – If you’ve been paying attention you’d realize that Robert is saying it doesn’t matter “why should anyone follow” him. The point is who he follows, who he reads, what he learns from that. If you don’t give a damn… why are you reading this?

    Follower count might correlate to authority on some subjects. But the subjects will vary with the person. Some people will have high follower count simply because they are “famous” already, some because they are fun to read, some because they are seen as an authority in a given area. MarsPhoenix has 40,300 followers and is The Authority on… a square meter or so of the surface of Mars. Large following, narrow authority area.

    Authority is the wrong word. Yes, if you have many followers, more people will see something you say. However, that doesn’t mean they will automatically take your word for it, accept your opinion, or rush out and by whatever you mentioned. Authority requires more than just eyeballs.

  107. I’ve seen enough “help me get to # followers” in the past 24 hours to be convinced that raw numbers alone are not sufficient.

    However, there is a positive correlation between followers and opinion leader status. Imperfect but positive.

    And although I am far, far from an expert on search engine algorithms, these things tend to be self-propagating. That is, if @scobelizer is automatically higher-ranked because of his followers, then he will always be atop the search results. So he will get clicked upon more often.

    And although it is not deterministic, the people who follow those results will be more likely to follow him, which will then perpetuate the cycle.

    Hence I agree completely.

    However, there must be a way to use the tools of communication science for formal network analysis (and surely someone is doing this) to look at information flow in a meaningful and helpful way.

    Rather than a way to bottleneck communication by only returning results of those with huge followings, an effective algorithm could help identify holes in your network — holes not from a raw number perspective but holes in information that should be flowing to you but is not. Holes in relationships and conversations.

    Mr. Tweet seems to do this at a very basic level. But I don’t think that it would be altogether inappropriate to flag Twitter search results with an indicator of how well that person matches (for lack of a better word) your network without ranking the results themselves.

  108. I’ve seen enough “help me get to # followers” in the past 24 hours to be convinced that raw numbers alone are not sufficient.

    However, there is a positive correlation between followers and opinion leader status. Imperfect but positive.

    And although I am far, far from an expert on search engine algorithms, these things tend to be self-propagating. That is, if @scobelizer is automatically higher-ranked because of his followers, then he will always be atop the search results. So he will get clicked upon more often.

    And although it is not deterministic, the people who follow those results will be more likely to follow him, which will then perpetuate the cycle.

    Hence I agree completely.

    However, there must be a way to use the tools of communication science for formal network analysis (and surely someone is doing this) to look at information flow in a meaningful and helpful way.

    Rather than a way to bottleneck communication by only returning results of those with huge followings, an effective algorithm could help identify holes in your network — holes not from a raw number perspective but holes in information that should be flowing to you but is not. Holes in relationships and conversations.

    Mr. Tweet seems to do this at a very basic level. But I don’t think that it would be altogether inappropriate to flag Twitter search results with an indicator of how well that person matches (for lack of a better word) your network without ranking the results themselves.

  109. Adi – If you’ve been paying attention you’d realize that Robert is saying it doesn’t matter “why should anyone follow” him. The point is who he follows, who he reads, what he learns from that. If you don’t give a damn… why are you reading this?

    Follower count might correlate to authority on some subjects. But the subjects will vary with the person. Some people will have high follower count simply because they are “famous” already, some because they are fun to read, some because they are seen as an authority in a given area. MarsPhoenix has 40,300 followers and is The Authority on… a square meter or so of the surface of Mars. Large following, narrow authority area.

    Authority is the wrong word. Yes, if you have many followers, more people will see something you say. However, that doesn’t mean they will automatically take your word for it, accept your opinion, or rush out and by whatever you mentioned. Authority requires more than just eyeballs.

  110. Robert, for me its my engaged followers. These are the ones I learn the most from. The second tier are the people I follow and learn from. I vet who I follow. I expect the people who follow me to vet me as well.

  111. 1.
    We are living in a world where the scarcest and the most valuable thing is people’s attention.

    2.
    Celebrity is one of the basic metrics in an attention economy.

    3.
    Celebrity is measured by how many followers a person has.

    Following the logic – I don’t see anything wrong with Arrington’s and Loic’s claims and idea of using the # of followers to filter out who we should listen to. Their idea is on the right track.

    But I would tweak their formula a bit.

    As Dan Zarella pointed out to me… twitter authority should be measured by the formula = “(followers/following)*followers”

    It will get rid of many of the people who game the system to become celebrities. It will lower the ranks of people who start following 100s of people in the hopes that some of them might start following them too. But at the same time – it gives us a good idea of knowing which of the folks on twitter are worth listening to.

    (Yes it is not a perfect formula. Because people who follow everyone that starts following them will have a lower rank too. But its not altogether off the rails…)

  112. 1.
    We are living in a world where the scarcest and the most valuable thing is people’s attention.

    2.
    Celebrity is one of the basic metrics in an attention economy.

    3.
    Celebrity is measured by how many followers a person has.

    Following the logic – I don’t see anything wrong with Arrington’s and Loic’s claims and idea of using the # of followers to filter out who we should listen to. Their idea is on the right track.

    But I would tweak their formula a bit.

    As Dan Zarella pointed out to me… twitter authority should be measured by the formula = “(followers/following)*followers”

    It will get rid of many of the people who game the system to become celebrities. It will lower the ranks of people who start following 100s of people in the hopes that some of them might start following them too. But at the same time – it gives us a good idea of knowing which of the folks on twitter are worth listening to.

    (Yes it is not a perfect formula. Because people who follow everyone that starts following them will have a lower rank too. But its not altogether off the rails…)

  113. I’m following around 200 people on twitter because most of their tweets are thought provoking or entertaining in some way. I don’t have much interesting to say myself so I couldn’t care less how many follow me or follow me back.

    I follow Robert because he’s so well connected and he’s like a filter that brings the really interesting stuff (and people) to the top, the stuff I like to read.

    To tell you the truth, I’m getting tired of the tech crowd going all kindergarten-dramatic in an attempt to get more attention. I swear, I’ve been rolling my eyes so much lately that I’m getting headaches and have been unfollowing people on twitter left and right because it’s so obvious what they’re up to.

    But what bothers me the most is the people who I respected who react exactly the way the drama queens intended. It disappoints me because I thought they would have known better.

    Anyway, as long as it’s interesting to me I’ll read and watch. When it gets too childish I’ll move on.

  114. I’m following around 200 people on twitter because most of their tweets are thought provoking or entertaining in some way. I don’t have much interesting to say myself so I couldn’t care less how many follow me or follow me back.

    I follow Robert because he’s so well connected and he’s like a filter that brings the really interesting stuff (and people) to the top, the stuff I like to read.

    To tell you the truth, I’m getting tired of the tech crowd going all kindergarten-dramatic in an attempt to get more attention. I swear, I’ve been rolling my eyes so much lately that I’m getting headaches and have been unfollowing people on twitter left and right because it’s so obvious what they’re up to.

    But what bothers me the most is the people who I respected who react exactly the way the drama queens intended. It disappoints me because I thought they would have known better.

    Anyway, as long as it’s interesting to me I’ll read and watch. When it gets too childish I’ll move on.

  115. Twitter has removed much of the FRICTION that blogging and the unknown world of RSS (for the average internet user) had created. I still think that the 2% excellent conversations are worth gold as you would not have them otherwise.
    I can’t walk into your office every day nor can all our followers can. Most other networks have failed to create those coffee table conversations where much creative work happens because it’s organic…
    I also notice that the @chrisbrogan, @scobleizer @Davetaylor … are asking many questions through their tweets that blogs have NOT statisfied… proof i found out about this important [appearance VS relevance] conversation via my [relevant] thread in Tweetdeck…

    Thanks for letting everyone participate. We’re learning. Live.

  116. Twitter has removed much of the FRICTION that blogging and the unknown world of RSS (for the average internet user) had created. I still think that the 2% excellent conversations are worth gold as you would not have them otherwise.
    I can’t walk into your office every day nor can all our followers can. Most other networks have failed to create those coffee table conversations where much creative work happens because it’s organic…
    I also notice that the @chrisbrogan, @scobleizer @Davetaylor … are asking many questions through their tweets that blogs have NOT statisfied… proof i found out about this important [appearance VS relevance] conversation via my [relevant] thread in Tweetdeck…

    Thanks for letting everyone participate. We’re learning. Live.

  117. Nice to have you on the good side Robert.

    I’ve been examining the friendfeed/twitter society formation for the past few months, and this is no different from groups forming in the offline world: There are thinkers and there are wannabe’s imitating thinkers. The common sense tells you that thinkers are followed and wannabe’s are following them, which is not the case. Throughout the history, wannabe’s were followed more often than the genuine thinkers. The expectation with internet was that, this misunderstanding would vane because the online society is forming around solid ideas, and that real thinkers would be the followed ones. Still, there are a lot of ways to hide idiocy within word and links and images here, which lets wannabe’s be perceived as authority, as is in the offline world.

  118. Nice to have you on the good side Robert.

    I’ve been examining the friendfeed/twitter society formation for the past few months, and this is no different from groups forming in the offline world: There are thinkers and there are wannabe’s imitating thinkers. The common sense tells you that thinkers are followed and wannabe’s are following them, which is not the case. Throughout the history, wannabe’s were followed more often than the genuine thinkers. The expectation with internet was that, this misunderstanding would vane because the online society is forming around solid ideas, and that real thinkers would be the followed ones. Still, there are a lot of ways to hide idiocy within word and links and images here, which lets wannabe’s be perceived as authority, as is in the offline world.

  119. Aloha~ Being new to twitter (tweeting for about 3 or 4 weeks) I have found it of great importance to have followers and many if I am to have a large enough pool to find people who want my twitter acquaintance. What I am about, love and want to share may not have broad appeal. Many I think may be interested might be too busy already so to open up to a larger audience seems a smart move to me. I have been following you, reading your posts and commenting when appropriate and wonder if you consider someone like me an idiot? I have bulit a great network of people with ideas and questions I can learn from and contribute to and if that took caring about how many follw me so be it. I do hope you look close enough to find we are not idiots.
    With much Aloha and loving kindness, Gina

  120. Thanks for writing this Scoble. I don’t pretend to understand what twitter or the network or all the different channels will look like in the near or distant future, but love the open debate and self correcting nature of the people and content in here and the platform as a whole. I had a long debate last night at dinner with people who despise twitter/facebook etc as they think it is 100% about people needing to feel important, heard and validated. People who actually think that others care that the line at Century Theaters in redwood city is long, or just ate a cookie, it was good, type of updates. I explained that people create different realities in twitter and networks of followers vary based on the user. Personally, I like the balance of people that add real value in content, circulating others content etc. If that is good I enjoy hearing about what they are doing as well because it make them approachable and adds to their credibility as a source. I think it is better than a newscaster on TV who chats with their co-chair at lulls about what they are doing for the holidays etc. Of course I also have my guilty pleasure follows that are 100% about what they are thinking, feeling or doing and adds no more value than from an anthropology perspective. Thanks for the enlightenment as usual.
    Kevin

  121. Thanks for writing this Scoble. I don’t pretend to understand what twitter or the network or all the different channels will look like in the near or distant future, but love the open debate and self correcting nature of the people and content in here and the platform as a whole. I had a long debate last night at dinner with people who despise twitter/facebook etc as they think it is 100% about people needing to feel important, heard and validated. People who actually think that others care that the line at Century Theaters in redwood city is long, or just ate a cookie, it was good, type of updates. I explained that people create different realities in twitter and networks of followers vary based on the user. Personally, I like the balance of people that add real value in content, circulating others content etc. If that is good I enjoy hearing about what they are doing as well because it make them approachable and adds to their credibility as a source. I think it is better than a newscaster on TV who chats with their co-chair at lulls about what they are doing for the holidays etc. Of course I also have my guilty pleasure follows that are 100% about what they are thinking, feeling or doing and adds no more value than from an anthropology perspective. Thanks for the enlightenment as usual.
    Kevin

  122. Aloha~ Being new to twitter (tweeting for about 3 or 4 weeks) I have found it of great importance to have followers and many if I am to have a large enough pool to find people who want my twitter acquaintance. What I am about, love and want to share may not have broad appeal. Many I think may be interested might be too busy already so to open up to a larger audience seems a smart move to me. I have been following you, reading your posts and commenting when appropriate and wonder if you consider someone like me an idiot? I have bulit a great network of people with ideas and questions I can learn from and contribute to and if that took caring about how many follw me so be it. I do hope you look close enough to find we are not idiots.
    With much Aloha and loving kindness, Gina

  123. Here is my highly simplistic solution:

    This can solved if everyone reading this thread followed the statement below more often, tweeted it to their friends and promoted it to celebrities:

    LINK TO URLS WITH CONTENT CREATED BY THOSE WHO ARE FAR MORE INTELLIGENT THAN YOU IN YOUR TWEETS.

    Why? You are now partially transparent no matter how many friends you have. Your “authority” does not matter. Of course promote yourself as well, but remember that you are there to share.

  124. Here is my highly simplistic solution:

    This can solved if everyone reading this thread followed the statement below more often, tweeted it to their friends and promoted it to celebrities:

    LINK TO URLS WITH CONTENT CREATED BY THOSE WHO ARE FAR MORE INTELLIGENT THAN YOU IN YOUR TWEETS.

    Why? You are now partially transparent no matter how many friends you have. Your “authority” does not matter. Of course promote yourself as well, but remember that you are there to share.

  125. Scoble, when talking about Tweeting smarter conversations, I agree, but no offense, I stopped following you on Twitter for that very reason. You post at high volumes things I don’t care about or are too personal for an outsider thats not your best buddy. We all could do a better job, including you.

    Jason
    Editor | tinyComb.com

  126. Scoble, when talking about Tweeting smarter conversations, I agree, but no offense, I stopped following you on Twitter for that very reason. You post at high volumes things I don’t care about or are too personal for an outsider thats not your best buddy. We all could do a better job, including you.

    Jason
    Editor | tinyComb.com

  127. Vicki,

    Not really sure I follow you. Surely this blog, and any other medium Robert uses to publish content, is the outpouring of thoughts derived from following all of the people he does. So of course in that context it’s important to know why he should be followed because it directly correlates to him being able to be at the cutting edge of this industry. Most people don’t have the time (or perhaps the inclination) to spend hundreds of hours a month on Twitter and Friend Feed and I always figured that blogs like this one existed largely to provide this market with a succinct summary of upcoming trends.

    For me, this and the other posts about a pretty innocent feature suggestion for Twitter have been banal in the extreme and havn’t (imo) lived up to the reputation Robert has forged for himself with this blog. Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

  128. Vicki,

    Not really sure I follow you. Surely this blog, and any other medium Robert uses to publish content, is the outpouring of thoughts derived from following all of the people he does. So of course in that context it’s important to know why he should be followed because it directly correlates to him being able to be at the cutting edge of this industry. Most people don’t have the time (or perhaps the inclination) to spend hundreds of hours a month on Twitter and Friend Feed and I always figured that blogs like this one existed largely to provide this market with a succinct summary of upcoming trends.

    For me, this and the other posts about a pretty innocent feature suggestion for Twitter have been banal in the extreme and havn’t (imo) lived up to the reputation Robert has forged for himself with this blog. Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

  129. I would love to be able to slice and dice.

    For one slice, I want the popular perspective. For the other, I want want the *experts* say. It’s like a the cold medicine that pharmacists recommend vs. the one that tastes good.

    Yeah, O’Reilly is a consistent flowing stream of insights and action.

  130. I would love to be able to slice and dice.

    For one slice, I want the popular perspective. For the other, I want want the *experts* say. It’s like a the cold medicine that pharmacists recommend vs. the one that tastes good.

    Yeah, O’Reilly is a consistent flowing stream of insights and action.

  131. Haven’t made it through all the comments yet, but see this discussion mirroring my own evolution on Twitter:

    First, I came to Twitter because it was recommended as one of many possible SM for promoting my shop on a new site. New to e-commerce and new to SM it’s been quite a learning experience as I naively started out with the challenge of trying to figure out how to find people who would be interested in following me back and/or who might be potentially “useful” for my marketing endeavors.

    Well, Twitter is not set up for that at all, loL! To find those people, Twitter would require a much more extensive and monitored profile questionnaire and not allow responses such as “location: somewhere over the rainbow” or location=iphone #.

    So, my “strategy” shifted to finding people in geographical areas I’m interested in and/or who seemed to be in fields I might be able to network with.

    And, I also began to be followed by people like me (ie, artisan, online shop, equally clueless) and I followed back out of courtesy.

    And, it also became very apparent to me I needed to rethink (and LEARN) marketing via SM works because I quickly un-followed those who tweet only links, magpie, etc and never engage in dialogue w/me. Golden rule (as in “do unto others…” not “Gold Rules!”) applies online as in life. I’m feeling and seeing a huge resistance to spammers, spambots, and other one-sides PR tweets.

    I went through the TwitterGrader phase… as if my score was meaningful, and if I should follow only someone with a high score, too. Then I saw a blog about effective branding and SM, where someone used as their primary criteria TwitterGrade for ranking a company’s effectiveness. Since my grade at that time was higher than many companies on the list (and is even higher now), and I know that I am famous–only to those who know me– I cannot take this Grade based on some flawed secret formula very seriously.

    So, I got over the “Should I follow someone because of how many people are following him/her?” For the numbers game, it doesn’t matter if I follow that person, if that person doesn’t follow me back. And for the life satisfaction factor, why would I follow that person if there is nothing besides a questionable popularity to commend him/her?

    So, my criteria has shifted to is this person interesting? Can I learn from this person? Can I share with this person? What is the communication style/quality? What kind of conversations are happening.

    Will I ever (effectively) use Twitter for P/R, marketing, or advertising? Probably not… at least not until I build a community that really cares enough about what I do to not un-follow me when I drop that “look what I just listed” link.

    And this is what makes this whole drive for numbers nutzoid. Business wants ROI= numbers, and communication on Twitter can’t be quantified in a nice tidy mathematical bundle.

  132. Haven’t made it through all the comments yet, but see this discussion mirroring my own evolution on Twitter:

    First, I came to Twitter because it was recommended as one of many possible SM for promoting my shop on a new site. New to e-commerce and new to SM it’s been quite a learning experience as I naively started out with the challenge of trying to figure out how to find people who would be interested in following me back and/or who might be potentially “useful” for my marketing endeavors.

    Well, Twitter is not set up for that at all, loL! To find those people, Twitter would require a much more extensive and monitored profile questionnaire and not allow responses such as “location: somewhere over the rainbow” or location=iphone #.

    So, my “strategy” shifted to finding people in geographical areas I’m interested in and/or who seemed to be in fields I might be able to network with.

    And, I also began to be followed by people like me (ie, artisan, online shop, equally clueless) and I followed back out of courtesy.

    And, it also became very apparent to me I needed to rethink (and LEARN) marketing via SM works because I quickly un-followed those who tweet only links, magpie, etc and never engage in dialogue w/me. Golden rule (as in “do unto others…” not “Gold Rules!”) applies online as in life. I’m feeling and seeing a huge resistance to spammers, spambots, and other one-sides PR tweets.

    I went through the TwitterGrader phase… as if my score was meaningful, and if I should follow only someone with a high score, too. Then I saw a blog about effective branding and SM, where someone used as their primary criteria TwitterGrade for ranking a company’s effectiveness. Since my grade at that time was higher than many companies on the list (and is even higher now), and I know that I am famous–only to those who know me– I cannot take this Grade based on some flawed secret formula very seriously.

    So, I got over the “Should I follow someone because of how many people are following him/her?” For the numbers game, it doesn’t matter if I follow that person, if that person doesn’t follow me back. And for the life satisfaction factor, why would I follow that person if there is nothing besides a questionable popularity to commend him/her?

    So, my criteria has shifted to is this person interesting? Can I learn from this person? Can I share with this person? What is the communication style/quality? What kind of conversations are happening.

    Will I ever (effectively) use Twitter for P/R, marketing, or advertising? Probably not… at least not until I build a community that really cares enough about what I do to not un-follow me when I drop that “look what I just listed” link.

    And this is what makes this whole drive for numbers nutzoid. Business wants ROI= numbers, and communication on Twitter can’t be quantified in a nice tidy mathematical bundle.

  133. Robert, you are the man! Once again, your post comes in the nick of time of myself being derailed from my own personal tracks. I can’t thank you enough for this.

    This is only a supplement, but it serves to better reinforce a few thoughts that I’ve been having since this morning. I was getting very depressed about the results of my online ventures, since I wanted to gain a “following” somehow, but I also wanted to learn more and share more. I guess I just couldn’t do enough sharing or learning if I also kept “following” people and having them “follow” me a priority.

    So starting today, screw the society I know as the blogosphere. I’m going to go back to what I was once doing, and will give more quality as much as possible.

    I guess I will always go back to the day when Seth Godin first said we should always go for the intelligent crowd because it’s better than serving a flock of idiots. That’s how I’ve always been truly feeling since the day I ventured online. All this only makes my point stronger.

  134. Robert, you are the man! Once again, your post comes in the nick of time of myself being derailed from my own personal tracks. I can’t thank you enough for this.

    This is only a supplement, but it serves to better reinforce a few thoughts that I’ve been having since this morning. I was getting very depressed about the results of my online ventures, since I wanted to gain a “following” somehow, but I also wanted to learn more and share more. I guess I just couldn’t do enough sharing or learning if I also kept “following” people and having them “follow” me a priority.

    So starting today, screw the society I know as the blogosphere. I’m going to go back to what I was once doing, and will give more quality as much as possible.

    I guess I will always go back to the day when Seth Godin first said we should always go for the intelligent crowd because it’s better than serving a flock of idiots. That’s how I’ve always been truly feeling since the day I ventured online. All this only makes my point stronger.

  135. One last thought… not mentioned in the “eyeball” discussion is the false assumption that all those eyeballs are paying attention at the particular moment of a particular tweet, and how many are the followers following that they’ll even notice a particular tweet even if they are online.

  136. One last thought… not mentioned in the “eyeball” discussion is the false assumption that all those eyeballs are paying attention at the particular moment of a particular tweet, and how many are the followers following that they’ll even notice a particular tweet even if they are online.

  137. Scoble, you move us further into Idiot Land every time you type or record something and push it out there. Take your link bait post, filled with further link bait into the rest of your content, and shove it up your twitter.

  138. Scoble, you move us further into Idiot Land every time you type or record something and push it out there. Take your link bait post, filled with further link bait into the rest of your content, and shove it up your twitter.

  139. Robert I appreciate the fact you are arguing against something that would benefit you far more than others. However my beef with Loic is the idea that popularity or even authority *in any form* is something we should work hard to protect and promote. Call me a digital anarchist, but I’m tired of TechCrunch’s often regurgitated news stream. I find that increasingly I want to know what Peoria is thinking as much as what Mountain View thinks. Even though Peoria is rarely as interesting or well articulated or technologically sophisticated, it’s far more *representative* and if I’m looking for business ideas or social trends…I’d like to know that.

  140. Robert I appreciate the fact you are arguing against something that would benefit you far more than others. However my beef with Loic is the idea that popularity or even authority *in any form* is something we should work hard to protect and promote. Call me a digital anarchist, but I’m tired of TechCrunch’s often regurgitated news stream. I find that increasingly I want to know what Peoria is thinking as much as what Mountain View thinks. Even though Peoria is rarely as interesting or well articulated or technologically sophisticated, it’s far more *representative* and if I’m looking for business ideas or social trends…I’d like to know that.

  141. Question for you, Robert (and readers):

    Would the realization of a true, context-driven Twitter search change Twitter for the better?

    What I have in mind is: a remarkably powerful search algorithm which returns the results of a search based not on keyword (or # followers, please!) but on context?

    A robust Search.Twitter would provide a built-in incentive for Twitterers to produce relevant streams of tweets (and that’s what Twitter is: streams of data, not static web pages).

    Yes Twitter is about conversation (sort of) and networking. (I’m with Chris Brogan here, but up to a point). An intelligent search portal would seem to take Twitter to a new level.

    Google search is about *servers*. Twitter search is about *brains*, no? Why are we underestimating the potency of that?

    What would you pay if you had the power to search millions of brains? Granted, many of them aren’t working full-force: still, the power of that has got to mean something.

    Have we gotten so used to the “computer” web that we’ve forgotten that, as of now, the most powerful supercomputers reside in our skulls?

    This is why I think Twitter (enhanced by a “winning” Twitter Search) can be such a game-changer: especially if it collates mobile data–now that’s one hell of a web, no?

    Am I off? Is my question worth answering? Please, somebody help me out here, because I’m thinking we have something very important going on here that I don’t know is discussed often enough.

  142. Question for you, Robert (and readers):

    Would the realization of a true, context-driven Twitter search change Twitter for the better?

    What I have in mind is: a remarkably powerful search algorithm which returns the results of a search based not on keyword (or # followers, please!) but on context?

    A robust Search.Twitter would provide a built-in incentive for Twitterers to produce relevant streams of tweets (and that’s what Twitter is: streams of data, not static web pages).

    Yes Twitter is about conversation (sort of) and networking. (I’m with Chris Brogan here, but up to a point). An intelligent search portal would seem to take Twitter to a new level.

    Google search is about *servers*. Twitter search is about *brains*, no? Why are we underestimating the potency of that?

    What would you pay if you had the power to search millions of brains? Granted, many of them aren’t working full-force: still, the power of that has got to mean something.

    Have we gotten so used to the “computer” web that we’ve forgotten that, as of now, the most powerful supercomputers reside in our skulls?

    This is why I think Twitter (enhanced by a “winning” Twitter Search) can be such a game-changer: especially if it collates mobile data–now that’s one hell of a web, no?

    Am I off? Is my question worth answering? Please, somebody help me out here, because I’m thinking we have something very important going on here that I don’t know is discussed often enough.

  143. may be i don’t understand, but what is the value of twitter searches? Its like Google trends, pure amusing curiosity without any real value.

    Say 1,000 babies are born every second and each is a world onto itself. Some might say that King’s son is more important, but everyone knows that it is not right or true. And every baby deserves his or her voice.

  144. may be i don’t understand, but what is the value of twitter searches? Its like Google trends, pure amusing curiosity without any real value.

    Say 1,000 babies are born every second and each is a world onto itself. Some might say that King’s son is more important, but everyone knows that it is not right or true. And every baby deserves his or her voice.

  145. why not just remove yourselves from Twitter altogether???
    It’ll definitely stop the complaining..
    and btw.. i’m not on twitter.. so don’t say i’m an idiot over there :D :D
    i got better things to do than spend my time on Twitter :P :P
    http://lakmi.wordpress.com

  146. why not just remove yourselves from Twitter altogether???
    It’ll definitely stop the complaining..
    and btw.. i’m not on twitter.. so don’t say i’m an idiot over there :D :D
    i got better things to do than spend my time on Twitter :P :P
    http://lakmi.wordpress.com

  147. [...] Thanks Mike Arrington for taking us off the rails into Twitter idiot land A great quote by Robert Scoble, "We are a land of idiots. Idiots care about who is following them. Idiots care more about celebrity news than science. Or technology. Or geeky stuff." (tags: twitter technology) [...]

  148. I guess (like you) I of the camp that most followers is useless for authority. I am really unhappy that we have turned into a society where yelling over everyone makes you better. This last Presidential election cycle was such a disappointment from a issues perspective. It is really about the content. I guess all these schemes tend to miss the content.

    I like Scobel, I value your comments on tech and startups. I don’t value your political comments. That’s not a criticism, it is that I don’t look to you for political commentary anymore then I value anyone else’s. I have other people I look to for that insight in politics. Just as I value other people’s opinion about woodworking more (apologies if woodworking is one of your skills).

    Popularity is appeal to false authority. It is like when I listen to an actor tell me anything political. They have the pulpit because of popularity for something else, not on the subject they are speaking.

    I’m human with finite amounts of time, I need filters when dealing with so many voices.

    So, I guess what I would love is to be able to add tags to the people I’m following. Then when people are writing their tweets they could tag them or maybe someone will come up with a magic algorithm to figure out what tags apply to the message. This would provide me with a filter if I just wanted to search on a tag, because you could take the number of people following someone tagged with X to get the comments on X as a first pass. To combat spammers I would want and “ignore this person” list. Maybe some amazon-like grouping as a second level (you like Jane Doe for #woodworking so others like you also like Fred).

    Somehow, though, we need to be able to find the new voices – instead of going through a whole new media revolution again.

  149. I guess (like you) I of the camp that most followers is useless for authority. I am really unhappy that we have turned into a society where yelling over everyone makes you better. This last Presidential election cycle was such a disappointment from a issues perspective. It is really about the content. I guess all these schemes tend to miss the content.

    I like Scobel, I value your comments on tech and startups. I don’t value your political comments. That’s not a criticism, it is that I don’t look to you for political commentary anymore then I value anyone else’s. I have other people I look to for that insight in politics. Just as I value other people’s opinion about woodworking more (apologies if woodworking is one of your skills).

    Popularity is appeal to false authority. It is like when I listen to an actor tell me anything political. They have the pulpit because of popularity for something else, not on the subject they are speaking.

    I’m human with finite amounts of time, I need filters when dealing with so many voices.

    So, I guess what I would love is to be able to add tags to the people I’m following. Then when people are writing their tweets they could tag them or maybe someone will come up with a magic algorithm to figure out what tags apply to the message. This would provide me with a filter if I just wanted to search on a tag, because you could take the number of people following someone tagged with X to get the comments on X as a first pass. To combat spammers I would want and “ignore this person” list. Maybe some amazon-like grouping as a second level (you like Jane Doe for #woodworking so others like you also like Fred).

    Somehow, though, we need to be able to find the new voices – instead of going through a whole new media revolution again.

  150. Entertainment will always drive more audience than education. This is how our society has been, and will always be. We learn by necessity, and entertain by choice.

    The Internet will just put the responsibility on the right actors. Before, we used to blame the media organizations for spoiling our society, now, we just have ourselves to blame.

    A sad experiment to do, would be to do one web page with the two following links:

    - “Learn more about the Britney Spears’ crying man”
    - “Learn more about the Genocide in Darfur”

    The stats might be depressing.

  151. Entertainment will always drive more audience than education. This is how our society has been, and will always be. We learn by necessity, and entertain by choice.

    The Internet will just put the responsibility on the right actors. Before, we used to blame the media organizations for spoiling our society, now, we just have ourselves to blame.

    A sad experiment to do, would be to do one web page with the two following links:

    - “Learn more about the Britney Spears’ crying man”
    - “Learn more about the Genocide in Darfur”

    The stats might be depressing.

  152. Mr Scoble, This is a very sensible post that makes me think better of you than of some of the others involved in this space. Interesting conversations = social media = FTW!

  153. Scoble – what I’d like to see is a Twitter search which would find tweets by people whose followers are the most intelligent, rather than the most numerous.

    Thanks for your publicizing Fluidinfo, by the way: great stuff!

    @maysonic

  154. Scoble – what I’d like to see is a Twitter search which would find tweets by people whose followers are the most intelligent, rather than the most numerous.

    Thanks for your publicizing Fluidinfo, by the way: great stuff!

    @maysonic

  155. “There aren’t enough smart people so you gotta create some drama to pull in the idiots”

    I think it might be time to lower my standards and create some drama. ;) Great post Robert.

    This whole idea that followers = “Authority” is ludicrous. to make my point I became an “Authority” on Mercedes convertibles and honey baked ham to have some fun with this fundamentally flawed concept of twitority.

    Here is a screen shot with some notes. http://twitpic.com/xeio

    Cheers!

    Rodney Rumford

  156. “There aren’t enough smart people so you gotta create some drama to pull in the idiots”

    I think it might be time to lower my standards and create some drama. ;) Great post Robert.

    This whole idea that followers = “Authority” is ludicrous. to make my point I became an “Authority” on Mercedes convertibles and honey baked ham to have some fun with this fundamentally flawed concept of twitority.

    Here is a screen shot with some notes. http://twitpic.com/xeio

    Cheers!

    Rodney Rumford

  157. thank you for saying that your goal is having smarter conversations. i love that way of thinking about it. sometimes i feel like we’re all dogs chasing our own tails here on the web…and for what? if we’re not becoming enriched by the experience, then this is no different than watching idiotic television shows night after night.

  158. thank you for saying that your goal is having smarter conversations. i love that way of thinking about it. sometimes i feel like we’re all dogs chasing our own tails here on the web…and for what? if we’re not becoming enriched by the experience, then this is no different than watching idiotic television shows night after night.

  159. I think what we’re trying to find here is an equivalent to the Technorati Rank, which is based on incoming links and is (or was) considered a measure of authority. But the number of followers is not equivalent to incoming links; it’s equivalent to blog visitors and feed subscribers. The equivalent of incoming links is the number of @replies, I think.

    So “Authority” sorting could be based on the number of @replies (bearing in mind that everything can be gamed with multiple twitter accounts).

    However, it doesn’t really hurt if we can sort by number of followers too, does it? It’s as useful a weighing/filtering criteria as any other. We should just not be confused about its meaning.

    But what I really want from Twitter is a good directory so people can find Twitterers in the place they live, or in the place they are going to visit. That would make my little service for Switzerland obsolete. I’m looking forward to that.

  160. I think what we’re trying to find here is an equivalent to the Technorati Rank, which is based on incoming links and is (or was) considered a measure of authority. But the number of followers is not equivalent to incoming links; it’s equivalent to blog visitors and feed subscribers. The equivalent of incoming links is the number of @replies, I think.

    So “Authority” sorting could be based on the number of @replies (bearing in mind that everything can be gamed with multiple twitter accounts).

    However, it doesn’t really hurt if we can sort by number of followers too, does it? It’s as useful a weighing/filtering criteria as any other. We should just not be confused about its meaning.

    But what I really want from Twitter is a good directory so people can find Twitterers in the place they live, or in the place they are going to visit. That would make my little service for Switzerland obsolete. I’m looking forward to that.

  161. The comments for this post seem to be posts by themselves! :-)

    Twitter and its ecosystem seem to be growing by the day. A mere 140 characters can change the social networking scene on its head!!

  162. The comments for this post seem to be posts by themselves! :-)

    Twitter and its ecosystem seem to be growing by the day. A mere 140 characters can change the social networking scene on its head!!

  163. Great post Robert! Thanks.

    Drama and gossip has always worked best for attention in any news.
    Only a minority of the worlds population is willing and able to have smart conversations.
    As the user base of the internet is getting bigger and getting news over the internet is getting more popular, gossip news will be a big favourite. I dont think Mike or any other person has to do with it. People will look for gossip and they will find people that deliver!
    simple and plain.
    I just hope that you and others will never stop putting the good stuff out there! Cause the smart people will always be there too and appreciate it.
    I certainly do.
    Hopefully some late adopters will get the grip too.

    All the best from Germany,
    Kahlil

  164. Great post Robert! Thanks.

    Drama and gossip has always worked best for attention in any news.
    Only a minority of the worlds population is willing and able to have smart conversations.
    As the user base of the internet is getting bigger and getting news over the internet is getting more popular, gossip news will be a big favourite. I dont think Mike or any other person has to do with it. People will look for gossip and they will find people that deliver!
    simple and plain.
    I just hope that you and others will never stop putting the good stuff out there! Cause the smart people will always be there too and appreciate it.
    I certainly do.
    Hopefully some late adopters will get the grip too.

    All the best from Germany,
    Kahlil

  165. Thanks Robert for writing these comments.
    Looks to me like M. Arrington and Loc Le… are just out to increase their click rates. They don’t care much about quality but publicity and here is their problem. I have a fix for them: why not use more the S.E.X. word in the blog headings guys, I suppose that would increase your Comscore ratings over night and then you could attract banner ads from appropriate companies too?

  166. Thanks Robert for writing these comments.
    Looks to me like M. Arrington and Loc Le… are just out to increase their click rates. They don’t care much about quality but publicity and here is their problem. I have a fix for them: why not use more the S.E.X. word in the blog headings guys, I suppose that would increase your Comscore ratings over night and then you could attract banner ads from appropriate companies too?

  167. I’m with you man. I want to learn, to teach and to have amazing conversations.

    If I want entertainment, I’ll go to a movie, concert, play or turn on the TV. Pandering to the lower common denominator is, to me, grossly unoriginal and a major turn-off.

    Yes, there will always be a market for both. But I personally want to be a provider of the gold, not the crap. And I want to support and listen to those that do the same. Thus, I’m now listening to you :)

  168. I’m with you man. I want to learn, to teach and to have amazing conversations.

    If I want entertainment, I’ll go to a movie, concert, play or turn on the TV. Pandering to the lower common denominator is, to me, grossly unoriginal and a major turn-off.

    Yes, there will always be a market for both. But I personally want to be a provider of the gold, not the crap. And I want to support and listen to those that do the same. Thus, I’m now listening to you :)

  169. Robert , you speak the truth, nowadays be popular is the main goal, I call it the “Hollywood Syndrome”, but they are still people outside trying to change the world, trying to innovate, trying to learn new things and this kind of people is the hope for the rest of the world.

  170. Robert , you speak the truth, nowadays be popular is the main goal, I call it the “Hollywood Syndrome”, but they are still people outside trying to change the world, trying to innovate, trying to learn new things and this kind of people is the hope for the rest of the world.

  171. Your timing is excellent on this post, because I was getting ribbed by an employee over his rapidly climbing Twitter rank vs my slow growth. The same goes for his LinkedIn & Facebook networks. While I get a chuckle out of the “competition”, I’m really more interested in building a network where I can learn from listening and where I can add value when appropriate. I don’t have time to cull through billions of “I’m out walking my dog” or “I’m having a bad hair day” tweets and in the process overlook something that might have been a real asset to me or my company…or that I can share back with my followers (and both of them are relieved I said that, I’m sure).

    I always enjoy reading your stuff, Robert, because I always find it of value. BTW, how’s the intervention coming?

  172. Your timing is excellent on this post, because I was getting ribbed by an employee over his rapidly climbing Twitter rank vs my slow growth. The same goes for his LinkedIn & Facebook networks. While I get a chuckle out of the “competition”, I’m really more interested in building a network where I can learn from listening and where I can add value when appropriate. I don’t have time to cull through billions of “I’m out walking my dog” or “I’m having a bad hair day” tweets and in the process overlook something that might have been a real asset to me or my company…or that I can share back with my followers (and both of them are relieved I said that, I’m sure).

    I always enjoy reading your stuff, Robert, because I always find it of value. BTW, how’s the intervention coming?

  173. Dude, it’s the same land that elected Barack Obama, did you expect anything less?

    One has to wonder if the words Twitter and idiot weren’t in your post title if this post would have gotten so much love as well…

  174. Dude, it’s the same land that elected Barack Obama, did you expect anything less?

    One has to wonder if the words Twitter and idiot weren’t in your post title if this post would have gotten so much love as well…

  175. Is it a bad thing that thanks to your blog here I am now following you on Twitter?

    I certainly think that you have some interesting things to say. And I happen to agree that I would rather read interesting information and learn something new, as opposed to “chatting” in Twitter.

    At least there is the occasional nugget of good information if you can take the time to find it.

  176. Is it a bad thing that thanks to your blog here I am now following you on Twitter?

    I certainly think that you have some interesting things to say. And I happen to agree that I would rather read interesting information and learn something new, as opposed to “chatting” in Twitter.

    At least there is the occasional nugget of good information if you can take the time to find it.

  177. I’ve blogged about the Cult of Twitter here:

    http://onproductmanagement.net/2008/12/12/the-cult-of-twitter/

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone. Twitter is a tool, a feature of a larger communication mechanism in reality. It has value but also limits. The hype around Twitter reminds me of the hype around ICQ way back when.

    By this time next year, Twitter will be replaced by the next “new new” thing.

    People should deal with that. I’m glad Scoble is speaking out in agreement.

    Saeed

  178. I’ve blogged about the Cult of Twitter here:

    http://onproductmanagement.net/2008/12/12/the-cult-of-twitter/

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone. Twitter is a tool, a feature of a larger communication mechanism in reality. It has value but also limits. The hype around Twitter reminds me of the hype around ICQ way back when.

    By this time next year, Twitter will be replaced by the next “new new” thing.

    People should deal with that. I’m glad Scoble is speaking out in agreement.

    Saeed

  179. It’s funny, the other day defending yourself against The Intervention, you said that you could use the number of followers you had as a pitch to get business. You know what I mean. Clout, advertising, Seagate, *wink wink*.

    In my world, you have no authority, you’re just a loud mouth to stupid to realize how often you’re making a fool of yourself, and that’s where the entertainment value is. You get access to areas others who live in different parts of the world, and who work in different circles do not. That’s why people follow you. Don’t worry, I’m quite sure nobody thinks your a genius. What genius sits up till all hours of the night, chatting in the worlds biggest chat room? How many billionaires in this world work as hard as you ‘work’. You have to work smarter, not harder.

    I know you still think there is some value in knowing about news events 45 minutes before the mainstream media report them. But ask yourself, “What did I really gain from that?”. You put your life on hold, just to find out. Little or nothing, if you’re being honest. Because you were sat in front of your computer all that time. So what if you found out when most people do? So what?

    Your behavior is extreme and out of touch with the average web user, so it leads to you having opinions that simply don’t scale down. You don’t lead a life thats even remotely similar to the average web user.

    I’m a tech geek like everyone else here, but to hear you insult others for their interests that don’t match yours is so juvenile and immature, it’s embarrassing.

    How many heads of Fortune 500 companies do you see behaving like you and Mike Arrington etc? Really, think about it? Public bitch sessions that make soap operas seem like sunday school. Yes, I know, they’re out of touch ha ha. Because they don’t have a FriendFeed room.

    “But no one cared, which is why that post didn’t show up on TechMeme.”

    Like I said, your perspective is out of whack. And you’re such a hypocrite it’s sometimes infuriating.

  180. It’s funny, the other day defending yourself against The Intervention, you said that you could use the number of followers you had as a pitch to get business. You know what I mean. Clout, advertising, Seagate, *wink wink*.

    In my world, you have no authority, you’re just a loud mouth to stupid to realize how often you’re making a fool of yourself, and that’s where the entertainment value is. You get access to areas others who live in different parts of the world, and who work in different circles do not. That’s why people follow you. Don’t worry, I’m quite sure nobody thinks your a genius. What genius sits up till all hours of the night, chatting in the worlds biggest chat room? How many billionaires in this world work as hard as you ‘work’. You have to work smarter, not harder.

    I know you still think there is some value in knowing about news events 45 minutes before the mainstream media report them. But ask yourself, “What did I really gain from that?”. You put your life on hold, just to find out. Little or nothing, if you’re being honest. Because you were sat in front of your computer all that time. So what if you found out when most people do? So what?

    Your behavior is extreme and out of touch with the average web user, so it leads to you having opinions that simply don’t scale down. You don’t lead a life thats even remotely similar to the average web user.

    I’m a tech geek like everyone else here, but to hear you insult others for their interests that don’t match yours is so juvenile and immature, it’s embarrassing.

    How many heads of Fortune 500 companies do you see behaving like you and Mike Arrington etc? Really, think about it? Public bitch sessions that make soap operas seem like sunday school. Yes, I know, they’re out of touch ha ha. Because they don’t have a FriendFeed room.

    “But no one cared, which is why that post didn’t show up on TechMeme.”

    Like I said, your perspective is out of whack. And you’re such a hypocrite it’s sometimes infuriating.

  181. Perhaps this is all over thought? Scoble, Le Meur, et all are simply rich nodes in the network. I follow both, and many more “authorities” on Twitter.

    I think the ultimate power of Twitter is in emphasis of the many to many relationships, not the many to few; however, like a crystal, the network needs something to grow around.

    Enjoy life and don’t worry about it too much. There are no more idiots in the world today than yesterday. :-)

    Eric

  182. Perhaps this is all over thought? Scoble, Le Meur, et all are simply rich nodes in the network. I follow both, and many more “authorities” on Twitter.

    I think the ultimate power of Twitter is in emphasis of the many to many relationships, not the many to few; however, like a crystal, the network needs something to grow around.

    Enjoy life and don’t worry about it too much. There are no more idiots in the world today than yesterday. :-)

    Eric

  183. There’s a lot of people out there (like me) who don’t use Twitter to gain notoriety, large numbers of followers or anything of the sort.

    Twitter for me, is a bit of a space between spaces… I started using it to promote my blog, but then, its something I write anonymously because the content is very personal. My initial friends on Twitter were people I knew from Blog Catalog actually. They know my blog, not me personally.

    Yet, I am a hybrid geek, working in a geeky world. So then, once people I knew from my ‘real life’ started following me, I stopped promoting blog posts that way. Hence, no backlink from my Twitter page to my blog.

    Eventually I used tools like Mr Tweet to find people in related geeky industries to follow and learn things from.

    I haven’t locked down my feed because I don’t think anything I’m tweeting is so important that I need to. But that does mean even someone as lowly and unimportant as myself… attracts the odd ‘idiot’ who follows people so they will reciprocate.

    I’m with Nick (somwhere above in the comments) where he says his follow list will grow slowly. I’d add to that, my follow list will grow based on my own interests and not ‘just because’.

  184. There’s a lot of people out there (like me) who don’t use Twitter to gain notoriety, large numbers of followers or anything of the sort.

    Twitter for me, is a bit of a space between spaces… I started using it to promote my blog, but then, its something I write anonymously because the content is very personal. My initial friends on Twitter were people I knew from Blog Catalog actually. They know my blog, not me personally.

    Yet, I am a hybrid geek, working in a geeky world. So then, once people I knew from my ‘real life’ started following me, I stopped promoting blog posts that way. Hence, no backlink from my Twitter page to my blog.

    Eventually I used tools like Mr Tweet to find people in related geeky industries to follow and learn things from.

    I haven’t locked down my feed because I don’t think anything I’m tweeting is so important that I need to. But that does mean even someone as lowly and unimportant as myself… attracts the odd ‘idiot’ who follows people so they will reciprocate.

    I’m with Nick (somwhere above in the comments) where he says his follow list will grow slowly. I’d add to that, my follow list will grow based on my own interests and not ‘just because’.

  185. Let’s face it the internet is a representation of relationships in the real world, human interaction, something which is complex. There are all sorts of people, from different cultures, with different background, jobs, income. Of course there are many idiots around, although that is not an absolute truth. What might look like an idiot to Robert Scoble may not be for Mike Arrington or this modest twitterer. People tend to be competitive, idiots or not, people like to vote, express opinions, be loved, be followed, heard and flattered. Then there are variants, some do it for the money, some for power, for friendship, to learn, to satisfy their own ego. Many of the so called A-List twitterers got there because they won such reputation thanks to the fact they were already influential when it all started. I agree with Liz, the number does not mean you are the voice to be heard, a sort of Tim O’Reilly just to give an example. I would also like to be surrounded by influential voices, sift my followers and only deal with intellectually prepared leaders that understood better, that led the way and set the path. I would like to learn from them and if possible have something important to say. But in doing so I would have to turn my back on other people that at the same might be looking for influential people and not me. Summing up this is not just about who you follow, at least in my opinion. I think there are not many voices, leaders, intellectuals, gurus that can be so, that can be heard without their audience, followers. It doesn’t make sense. Having thousands of useless followers of the spamming kind must be a pain in the a** (I agree on that!). On the other hand, there is an authentic cohort of idiots up there! Although a good amount is also respectable and respectful. Of course these are general thoughts that I thought were interesting to say now that you brought the issue. I like your interviews and friendfeed activity so I am one of those inconditionals :)

  186. Let’s face it the internet is a representation of relationships in the real world, human interaction, something which is complex. There are all sorts of people, from different cultures, with different background, jobs, income. Of course there are many idiots around, although that is not an absolute truth. What might look like an idiot to Robert Scoble may not be for Mike Arrington or this modest twitterer. People tend to be competitive, idiots or not, people like to vote, express opinions, be loved, be followed, heard and flattered. Then there are variants, some do it for the money, some for power, for friendship, to learn, to satisfy their own ego. Many of the so called A-List twitterers got there because they won such reputation thanks to the fact they were already influential when it all started. I agree with Liz, the number does not mean you are the voice to be heard, a sort of Tim O’Reilly just to give an example. I would also like to be surrounded by influential voices, sift my followers and only deal with intellectually prepared leaders that understood better, that led the way and set the path. I would like to learn from them and if possible have something important to say. But in doing so I would have to turn my back on other people that at the same might be looking for influential people and not me. Summing up this is not just about who you follow, at least in my opinion. I think there are not many voices, leaders, intellectuals, gurus that can be so, that can be heard without their audience, followers. It doesn’t make sense. Having thousands of useless followers of the spamming kind must be a pain in the a** (I agree on that!). On the other hand, there is an authentic cohort of idiots up there! Although a good amount is also respectable and respectful. Of course these are general thoughts that I thought were interesting to say now that you brought the issue. I like your interviews and friendfeed activity so I am one of those inconditionals :)

  187. The problem, the way I see it, is not the “ranking”, the problem is that this ranking would be the only way to filter. Imagine that google’s search results are sorted by pagerank – and only by page rank. You got something really hot/useful on your site, but until after the next Google’s PR update – no one would notice, because you’re #7 on page 12.
    Twitter will instantly become useless – to those who’s voices aren’t loud enough – once that feature will be turned on.

  188. The problem, the way I see it, is not the “ranking”, the problem is that this ranking would be the only way to filter. Imagine that google’s search results are sorted by pagerank – and only by page rank. You got something really hot/useful on your site, but until after the next Google’s PR update – no one would notice, because you’re #7 on page 12.
    Twitter will instantly become useless – to those who’s voices aren’t loud enough – once that feature will be turned on.

  189. I totally agree!

    Try following industry icons like VC investor Brad Feld with over 2K plus followers and do you get great insight in the investment community or the industry? No you get “I got up this morning and ran” ” I love boulder” (5 times a week) “thinking about running” WTF??

    Is twitter becoming reality TV?

  190. I totally agree!

    Try following industry icons like VC investor Brad Feld with over 2K plus followers and do you get great insight in the investment community or the industry? No you get “I got up this morning and ran” ” I love boulder” (5 times a week) “thinking about running” WTF??

    Is twitter becoming reality TV?

  191. @charles – Oh – c’mon – my tweets are more useful than that. Actually, I just looked at my tweets for today – maybe they aren’t!

  192. @charles – Oh – c’mon – my tweets are more useful than that. Actually, I just looked at my tweets for today – maybe they aren’t!

  193. Does the world really cares THAT much about twitter and how they implement their f*ing flawed search functionality?

    Oh boy, the never ending stamina of echo chamber. Yes, Google AdSense made all us much more idiotic; we reward traffic instead of quality. Not much news, though.

    Your post with Tim had 11 comments. This one alone had almost 150, and counting. Does it means that this thread is more important than the former? Yes if you use the same twitter’s flawed logic of followers = importance.

    Paradoxically as it seems, what really matters is the real world. Those – like Tim – with focus on what really matters to real people are doing well. All the rest is pure echo chamber crap.

  194. Does the world really cares THAT much about twitter and how they implement their f*ing flawed search functionality?

    Oh boy, the never ending stamina of echo chamber. Yes, Google AdSense made all us much more idiotic; we reward traffic instead of quality. Not much news, though.

    Your post with Tim had 11 comments. This one alone had almost 150, and counting. Does it means that this thread is more important than the former? Yes if you use the same twitter’s flawed logic of followers = importance.

    Paradoxically as it seems, what really matters is the real world. Those – like Tim – with focus on what really matters to real people are doing well. All the rest is pure echo chamber crap.

  195. My favourite comment by Arjun Singh

    “The larger issue, I think, goes way beyond twitter. How do we encourage a society where people value Tim O Reilly over Britney Spears? That’s a noble question to ponder, IMHO”

    Robert – surely it would be valuable for you to hire someone to help consume all the comments etc. so you can unleash your talents elsewhere?

  196. My favourite comment by Arjun Singh

    “The larger issue, I think, goes way beyond twitter. How do we encourage a society where people value Tim O Reilly over Britney Spears? That’s a noble question to ponder, IMHO”

    Robert – surely it would be valuable for you to hire someone to help consume all the comments etc. so you can unleash your talents elsewhere?

  197. That idea is patently idiotic. We have been derailed from the promised land of smarter conversations on Twitter and have moved into the idiot land if that’s the way we think. I absolutely agree with this point of view

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