Hubspot is an Internet Marketing company that provides website analysis and other kinds of useful marketing data to internet businesses. I know it primarily for the webinars they hold plus their Twitter Grader which is Hubspot's own system of ranking people's authority and reach on the Twitter social network.
This past week, they had an interesting entry on their blog, The Best Way to Build a Twitter Account? Step by Step. The graphs & information, collected through people submitting their usernames to Twitter Grader, was fascinating to me as a sociologist. But I had problems with the underlying assumption which is bigger is always better and that people on Twitter want their social networks to grow as big as possible. It's an interesting blog post (and the comments are interesting, too) and here is my slightly rewritten response:
This is very interesting data but your argument assumes that most people want to have lots of followers which is not always the case.
I know a Twitterer who went from a small network of followers to over 1000 and she discovered that some earlier followers (considered "friends") unfollowed her once her account took off...a fact that no one ever mentions but which happens more often than you'd think.
Many people use Twitter to form their personal online social network and it is easier to maintain a close network of 150 or 200 people than 2,000 much less 20,000. Then it just becomes a collection of strangers.
I think as Twitter gets more and more popular, there will be those business people in the numbers race but the bulk of regular users might even downsize their accounts to have a smaller network of closer associates. A similar phenomena is happening on Facebook where I know some people who are reducing their number of "friends" to only people they actually encounter in the lives (family and new & old friends).
In the past month, I've done something I never thought I'd do...block followers who I don't want following me. I'd rather have a lower follower number than have some MLMs following my account. And I know I m not the only one who has started blocking not only spammers but people who are only trying to game the system to boost their social profile.
I never thought I'd be a blocking type of person but there are some people I'd just rather not have in my life. I realize that blocking only prevents them from following me or sending me messages, they can still read my Tweets although I don't think reading content is very important to them. But until Twitter creates a Do Not Follow list where users can opt-out of being followed by overly zealous entrepreneurs, salesmen, and marketers, blocking will have to do.
Quality or quantity? There is no contest in my mind which is more important in social networking nor the difficulty of having them both.
So, my questions for those on Twitter is has your account gotten too big? Could it reach a number that would be too high for you? What are disadvantages of having a large account? Do you ever block annoying followers or just ones you don't want in your life?
I'm also interested in whether readers would like more posts on Twitter. There are plenty of blog entries that have been written about Twitter but if people are interesting in discussing the network as it evolves, I think this blog could make the transition. Let me know!