Twitter: Who you Follow Does Make a Difference

I'm told this is Kim Kardashian. I really wouldn't know. if that's what you're into.

I was doing some research on behalf of a client today and investigated the online presence of a publication in my client’s industry. The Twitter link from the publication went to the account of an individual (good) but what I learned from there had me puzzled.

Now, without divulging too much, I’ll tell you that the industry being investigated is very business-focused, industrial, technical and scientific, as is the publication.

So explain to me why the editor of said B2B publication has elected to, very publicly I might add, exclusively follow celebrities. Seriously — in the search for other industry contacts and publications this representative might be following, I looked carefully at who was represented on the “following” list. I found Kim Kardashian, Sheryl Crow, Chelsea Handler and Demi Moore. The entire list was celebrity-laden, bearing no fruit for my search, certainly, but also casting a certain light on the Twitter user in question.

Just a reminder; who you follow may be saying something about you.


  • KenMueller says:

    Ya know, this is something I’ve never really given much thought to, but it makes a lot of sense. When I check someone out, I usually look at their own stream of tweets, and some other things, but rarely look at who they are following. Great idea.

    Guess I gotta unfollow you now…

  • Alice says:

    And thus you have identified one of the issues that niggles at me in this “full transparency” social media culture. Not everything is everyone’s business and it seems to me that having a public presence that includes all life arenas puts one in the position of either not having a robust experience personally, or exposing themselves to judgment/assumptions by people who may only know them in a single context. For this reason, I sometimes think that multiple accounts should be encouraged. If I make my Follow choices based upon those accounts that I believe my employer, a particular friend, or any other category of person will think is cool, I lose authenticity and opportunities.

    I don’t think anyone has cracked this nut yet, though Google+ comes a little closer than most.

  • Marijean says:

    @Alice it’s the workarounds you’re forgetting — it’s perfectly possible for me to follow Ms. Kardashian without the world knowing — I can subscribe to the feed of her tweets in a protected feed reader without following her publicly. You know, if I wanted to do that. In fact, I subscribe to a lot of content in non public ways because I am doing it on behalf of a client or because I’m watching competitors. It’s kind of like gaming the system but not really — it’s being mindful of what’s visible and creating filters and functions that work with your comfort level of being “out there.” No one needs to know EVERYTHING, right? 🙂

  • Marijean says:

    @KenMueller But I have KLOUT. 🙂

  • Alice says:

    @Marijean I don’t know anything about the kind of technology you are talking about. Do you have a post about it that I can read to catch up? Because you’re right, that is a better option. Ultimately, though, it would be nice to have these capacities built in to the social media channels. I think there is an incentive against that, though: the Fallacy of the Ever-Growing Audience.

  • Alice says:

    @KenMueller You might also consider ditching Voldemort. He’s so passé…

  • KenMueller says:

    @Marijean oh. yeah. in that case, can you create five more twitter accounts so i can follow you on ALL of them??

  • CristerDelaCruz says:

    SO true @Marijean ! When someone first starts following me, I check their feed to see if I’m interested in following back, then I also see who they are following. I’ve been followed by a few where the ONLY people they follow and interact with are Asian women… creepy. Block! 🙂 On the flip side, I also look through the friends list of those who I respect online for new people I may want to follow; after all, in those cases… birds of a feather. I think that’s how I found you and @KenMueller …through Gini’s feed.