You might forget this fact if you're the competitive type or if you've been reading all about Power Twitterers. For example, David Gregory, the new host of NBC's Meet the Press, has 158,328 Followers, as of this writing. That's the population of a small country. Note that he's only following 87 people back.

Honest, it's not about how many Followers (Twitter), Subscribers (blogs), Friends (Facebook) or Connections (LinkedIn) you have.

My non-digital, non-twittering, non-blogging husband (he's cool, really) is a Doonesbury follower and he points out that Garry Trudeau has been making this very point in recent strips.

Doonesbury character Roland Hedley keeps talking about how many connections he's got on Twitter, Facebook, etc. But he never gets around to reporting the news. I.e. he's missed the point. He's not connecting with or delivering any value to his supposedly adoring audience.

In sales they call it ABC (Always Be Closing). In social networking - not the same thing as sales - it's continually answering the "Why should I care?" question for your audience or followers.

It's not how many; it's what you do for your connections. Are you useful in some way? Are you providing value? If the answer is yes, and you create value over time, then you will be able to go back to your network and get something of value to you - whether it's information or a sale.

In sales they call it ABC (Always Be Closing). In social networking it's continually answering the "Why should I care?" question for your audience or followers.

It works this way on every social network I can think of. It's helpful, of course, to have a big enough network. But it doesn't have to be the biggest. It has to be people who want to be engaged with you. And for that to happen, you have to be thinking about them as well as yourself.

Trudeau's Doonesbury strip is smart, provocative and entertaining. It gives us a little something everytime we read it. If Trudeau were on Twitter and asked us something, would we respond? You bet.

And it works this way offline as well as on.

Seth Godin nails it in this little interview I did with him.

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Previous Comments

Scott Moroney said on March 11, 2009 at 05:43 AM

You hit the mark here on how the tide is turning with social media in terms of adoption into more mainstream application.  The mindset is vastly different, and this is the puzzling thing that mavens need to be able to answer.  This is very helpful.

I read another interesting post this morning that is also related.  It describes how the “village” of Twitter adopters are loosing some appeal on the community as it grows.  My description does not do it justice.

Great post!

Salv Reina said on March 11, 2009 at 10:41 AM

I agree.  A simple case of quality not quantity.  It also makes me feel much better about my own meagre numbers by comparison :-)

The usefulness of a Twitterer (is there a better word?) comes down to a number of variables and will depend on timing, context, mood, scenario and so on.  I think of it as the 6 Twitter Hats; I haven’t got round to defining those as yet though.


Grant Walker said on March 11, 2009 at 02:04 PM

It’s life 101—to get you must give.

Shaun Dakin said on March 11, 2009 at 02:05 PM


Why Should I (or my “reader”) care?

Shaun Dakin

Marie Williams said on March 11, 2009 at 02:07 PM

Hi Debbie,

Loved this post, and what a great video from Seth Godin! This is so true, and I know that for myself personally, I’m trying to focus less on the size of my network and more on how I’m building meaningful relationships where I can add value. This should be common sense, yet it’s not, so thanks for reiterating this point.

judy holland said on March 12, 2009 at 08:53 AM

What an interesting post! That we should focus on doing something that is useful and helpful to others…I think you are way ahead of the curve!

Shallie Bey said on March 19, 2009 at 04:47 AM

Thanks for a great post on twitter and video interview with Seth Godin. As my presence on twitter grows, I am beginning to struggle with the mass of communications. It has been my practice to send a personal direct message back to each person who follows me. I usually follow the link back to their profile and web page to learn about them.

This process was easy when I was adding three to five people a day. Yesterday was over twenty five. Though I want to be personal, the momentum is overtaking me. I appreciate and understand the position that you suggest, I don’t yet understand how to stay at that point of honestly relating.

Shallie Bey
Smarter Small Business Blog

Jim "Genuine" Turner said on March 19, 2009 at 11:49 AM


I have done a show on gaming Twitter and my friend Chris wrote about that today in fact.  The application is being overrun by the snake oil salesman and spammers and is quickly losing its value for me.  I see an opening for more people to get us what we need and how we need it.  What would you use without Twitter?

Jim "Genuine" Turner said on March 19, 2009 at 11:50 AM

I forgot to add the link to the post.

Stacia said on March 21, 2009 at 02:55 PM

It’s shameful that this post needs to even be said. Of course it’s about the content. Duh. I’ve gotten lots of Twitter followers recently who have 12,000 + followers and follow about as many. They use tools to auto follow people who say one word they are interested in.

What is a social media marketer/expert anyway? Why do we need to invent new names for old jobs?

Tom Green said on March 24, 2009 at 08:42 PM

As the current generation of social network users enters the workforce it will become more commonplace for adults to have accounts with social networks. Even older employees will be encouraged to jump aboard the social network bandwagon in order to keep in touch with their colleagues, and the age that uses social networking will continue to grow.

Becky West said on April 3, 2009 at 10:46 PM


Thank you very much for this posting on Social Networking - I’ve just started and find it overwhelming as is - not being a “tech” person so to speak.

Being new, I’m trying to make sense of why I’m to do the things I’m to do to be up to date and current with the times.

What I’m reading in your post, and in the supporting comments makes sence.

It also makes me feel relieved ~ whew! just seems easier with those thoughts in mind.

Mind you, if you had a big following you could target your comments to the niche market you help - and you’d reach everyone you want to reach.

Thank you for your insight.

About This Blog

I’ve been writing about corporate and CEO blogging and business use of social media for over a decade. I welcome your Comments if they are on topic. I delete them if inappropriate or spammy.


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