Followers on Twitter are an interesting thing. There is much discussion about how its not how many followers one has, but how many people you follow.
Yet, for some reason, people still grade themselves on followers. Loic Le Meur (which Michael Arrington agreed with) suggested that a filter be added to Twitter’s search function that allows the searcher to sort by number of followers.
Often, I get people asking me to tweet out that my followers should follow them. (Of course, as the Anti-Christ of Twitter, people usually lose followers when I do that).
Danny is one of the first people I met when I moved to Colorado, and I was an advisor on one of his early startups, Zuvo. We have been friends for a long time, and he is one of the smartest, most creative people I know.
Jeffrey I met recently. He moved to Colorado several months ago, when a portion of his company skinnyCorp, who run Threadless, (If you havent bought stuff from Threadless, you just arent cool) moved here. As the Chief Creative Officer of skinnyCorp, Jeffrey not only is a designer but an idea creator.
Jeffrey and Danny are both highly intelligent, creative, humorous people, that I enjoy hanging out with daily. Their tweets are no different.
As I got ready to go into the Lijit office (I was moving slowly because I thought it was Saturday.), I started thinking about how proud I was to be friends with Danny and Jeffrey, and more people should follow them on twitter. So I sent this tweet out:
Almost immediately afterwards, Mykl Roventine (@myklroventine) suggested:
Which, of course, was brilliant. I then sent direct messages to a few of my friends: Chris Brogan, Erin Kotecki Vest, Aaron Brazell, Jim Kukral and Andrew Hyde (who decided to not participate, calling it a “spammer lovefest”) asking them to retweet a simple message “Follow Fridays – suggest someone to follow / everyone follow / use the hashtag #followfriday”
And, then I headed into the office and my first meeting of the day.
When I got back to my office, and finally fired up my machine, #followfriday tweets were flying all over twitter. It was wild. It continued throughout the day:
Near the end of the day, almost every half second, a tweet went out with the hashtag #followfriday.
At the end of the day, I decided my final FollowFriday tweet would suggest two people that have taught me important lessons. Matt Hessler (@fasterstill) has taught me the importance of friendship, and Meg Fowler (@megfowler) who has taught me the importance of love. Interestingly, Matt and I have been friends for years and talk every day. Meg I met several months ago online, and have never met in real life. Quite the juxtaposition.
It was awesome. By the end of the day, my name was no longer associated with the tweets. Which was awesomer.
It had taken on a life of its own. Which was awesomest.
Here is what twitter was able to confirm for me: People are proud of their friends.
It wasnt hard for people to suggest folks to follow, because everyone has people they follow that they find interesting, insightful, funny, intelligent or whatever it is that makes you love to interact with another person (online or off).
Maybe, instead of all the various reasons marketing and social media experts have put out there about why twitter has become so successful, the real reason is that people enjoy relationships with people they can be proud of, and in return, want other people to be proud of them.
If you cant be proud of who you call friend; and in return if others cant be proud to know you, then you are doing it wrong.
Doesnt sound so complicated to me.
Update: A couple of people asked me if I got any new followers. I get about 50-60 new followers daily (with about 20-30 unfollows every day). Yesterday, according to my email from SocialToo (my friend Jesse Stay‘s startup), I got 229 new followers, with 26 people unfollowing.
I cant recommend SocialToo and Jesse Stay enough.