I was reading an interesting article at Social Media Rockstar entitled, "Dear Web 'Celebrity' That Never Follows Anyone Back,". It made me think about some of the celebrities in the Educational Technology world that I live in and how they use Twitter. So I decided to check out some of the most popular people I know on Twitter and test their ratio of Followers to Following. This ratio is simply the number of followers divided by the number of following rounded to the nearest hundredth. The results were really interesting.
To find the most popular people I know I went to WeFollow and looked at people who were tagged as #edtech and #education. I only examined people that were on top of these lists that I follow on Twitter (sorry if I missed anyone who should be in this EdTech Rock Star status). Here are the results (as of 3/31/09):
Just to be fair I thought I'd include my own statistics.
In the article Brett Borders has this to say about people who do not follow many people:
You might think that non-reciprocation makes you look like an "influential thought leader," but to me it looks like:I would imagine most Twitterers have reasons for who they follow and who they do not follow. I personally do not follow everyone that follows me. I tend to look at a users' profile and if they do have similar interest (education, technology use in schools, social media, etc.) I follow them. As you look at the data above almost half of these people have approximately 4 times more followers than people they follow or worse. Is this a bad thing?
- You're kind of a noob. Your name might be "big," but your social media interaction and filtering skills are small.
- You're kind of a snob. You're more concerned with appearing "popular" than listening and learning from people.
I particularly wonder about the top two in David Warlick and Will Richardson. They both have written tons in their blogs and books on top of what they offer on Twitter. David is constantly adding and refining resources that many educators find to be tremendously useful in the classroom (i.e. Class Blogmeister, Citation Machine, and many other resources found at the Landmark Project web site). Both of these guys run a pretty demanding schedule of presentations.
The people on the bottom of the list really do walk the walk and talk the talk on Twitter. Most of them follow as many people who follow them or at least close to half of the people who follow them. I take my hat off to them and hope that someday I'll have built up the resources they have in Twitter.
I only have a fraction of the followers and following that these individuals have. I would mostly attribute that to still being somewhat of a noob and still figuring out how to best filter the information that comes from so many different sources as I try to balance doing my job, reading RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and having a personal life.
What are your thoughts? Should these EdTech Rockstars follow more of the people who follow them? I look forward to your comments.