[Air-L] Who to UnFollow

Yosem Companys companys at stanford.edu
Wed Jul 1 11:01:59 PDT 2009

There is also the approach of buying followers.  I keep seeing online ads
that for something like $50 you can buy 500 followers.

On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 1:55 PM, Dave Karpf <davekarpf at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi folks,
> I'm a recent addition to the list... couple thoughts to add into the mix:
> First, Barry's 500 followers seem entirely sensible, given his status as a
> known author.  I would postulate that there are four main avenues for
> picking up followers on twitter.
> (1) address book search.  If I recall correctly, this is integrated into
> the
> system, such that when a new user joins twitter, it offers to search their
> address book and give them the option of following any matching profiles.
> That set of users will approximate one's social network and/or facebook
> friends list (perhaps only loosely so).
> (2) famous names.  Extrapolating from personal experience, I know when I
> joined twitter I looked over the "following" list of a close colleague with
> overlapping research interests to see who I should add.  Any author whose
> book or article I had found particularly interesting was immediately added.
> This set of users are where I derive much of the added value from twitter,
> personally.  Without them, twitter isn't *much* different from facebook
> status updates.  With them, I can learn about interesting articles and
> emerging topics beyond my network of close colleagues.
> (3) retweets/in-tweet mentions.  I pick up a few additional followers after
> every tech conference, and they are often people who aren't attending the
> conference.  This is because I'll be mentioned or retweeted by a colleague
> with a much larger following.  The retweet mechanism is probably the most
> important for modeling/understanding the development of twitter norms, I
> think.  Those who solely tweet about their lunch will virtually never be
> retweeted.  Those who offer humor, valuable links, or 140-character insight
> will be.  Humor and insight, in particular, likely encourage additional
> followers.  Institutions like #followfriday are an outgrowth from this
> class.
> (4) offline mentions.  If Barry includes his twitter handle on the first
> slide of a conference presentation, he likely sees a few immediate adds.
> When CNN, Oprah, etc announce their twitter handle to a mass audience, that
> both spurs an increase in twitter accounts and a surge in followers.  I
> personally haven't partaken in these sites, and have little to no sense of
> what to make of it.
> There's a fifth category, which includes spambots, advertisers, etc, but I
> think we can safely set that aside as noise for the moment.
> Another dynamic to consider in any modeling exercise (and one which will be
> a HUGE pain for any empirical studies) is variance in platform.  I use the
> iPhone app "tweety."  Barry uses tweetdeck.  It sounds like these platforms
> have different functionalities, and the growth of twitter will only
> encourage further code-based innovations of this sort.  Compare those to
> twitter-via-laptop or -desktop and you have a completely different user
> experience.  I never used twitter until I downloaded tweetie, because I
> found it a less-appealing distraction than facebook and a couple of favored
> blogs and discussion boards.  With the mobile client, I now check twitter
> while waiting in line for coffee or sitting at a red light.  Mobility and
> platform have a huge impact on how I'm experiencing the medium, and that in
> turn shapes my normative opinions about how people should and should not
> use
> the medium.
> Very interesting topic, thanks for raising it!
> -Dave Karpf
> --
> Dave Karpf
> PhD, Political Science
> University of Pennsylvania
> Postdoctoral Research Associate
> Taubman Center for Public Policy
> Brown University
> www.davidkarpf.com
> davekarpf at gmail.com
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