Yesterday, shortly after the events in Boston started to unfold, a person who is very well known online still had their automated posts flowing into Twitter. One such post mentioned something goofy or something seemed inappropriately light-hearted for what was going on at that time. A person retweeted that post and mentioned that it was inappropriate. “This is why you shouldn’t automate your tweets” was the message with the shared post.
Shortly thereafter, the well-known person issued a pithy, not automated tweet. They said, “I love how people with under 1,500 followers are telling me how to tweet.”
To me, this means that this well-known person not only was taken off guard by a very appropriate criticism, but then they looked at how many followers the tweeter had before responding. Would this response have been different if the critique came from someone with 100,000 followers? Logic seems to indicate yes.
I have never wanted to write a “call out” post so badly in all my life. There is so much wrong about this exchange, especially during a time when people need love, support, and a sense that the world isn’t falling apart. But I don’t want to use this time to rip someone up. Instead, I want to build up those of you who may have seen this comment from someone you may look to as a role model, from someone you felt you were learning from, and I want to tell you that these words are not anything you need to pay attention to.
Some of the most amazing people I know have 1,500 followers or fewer. If they don’t know, they did at one point. I still remember (with the occasional nightmarish flashback) how frustrating Twitter was when I first got started. More than 1,000 followers? Are you kidding? I couldn’t get anyone to talk to me. I was stuck at 67-75 followers for months, and each follow or unfollow was ludicrously meaningful. When I got to 100 followers I felt like trumpets should be blowing, although I was sort of ignoring the high percentage of spam bots that made up my following. Details, details.
Anyway, the number of followers you have on Twitter does not matter. Certainly it does not pertain to your value as a person or the value of your advice. In the above scenario, who do you feel was more right in their actions? Who do you feel is more attuned to what is appropriate during a tragedy? It’s not about the number of followers. And clearly, how many followers you have does not improve you as a person. A person who is truly confident in themselves can accept criticism with grace, no matter how many followers or “fans” they have. Followers, like money, can’t buy you love.
When I follow people, I don’t look at how many followers they have. I look at how they interact with the people who are following them. I look to see if they are trying to use this online world to communicate, not just promote. I don’t care if you have 16 followers or 16,000. I’ve been at point a. I’ll probably never be at point b.
Does that matter to you?
Hang in there. Don’t let the big cats get you down. And to that person who called out the big guy – good for you. You did nothing wrong. The Emperor really isn’t wearing clothes.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22928412@N05/4892486499 via Creative Commons