Will the absence of follower counts change the way you use Twitter?
You may be reading this thinking what are follower counts and how does this relate to Twitter?
Whilst many people do not know them as ‘follower counts’ these are the statistics on everyone’s twitter page that show how many people are following them. Sounds obvious and common sense, but we bet you didn’t know them as follower counts right?
Follower counts are important to many people – they spend lots of time building up their statistics to gain ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ with a view to gaining popularity and getting something resembling a status for theirselves, company or business.
The dispute on whether follower counts will stay, go or change in some way has come as a result of soundings by the Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey. He has stated that he would like these follower counts to become a ‘less significant’ part of Twitter and has even gone as far as saying that they were ‘meaningless’ at one point. We are not sure everyone would agree with that however and to what extent this could influence peoples relationship with Twitter.
Dorsey believes that if Twitter focuses on follower counts this means it is more likely that users will produce content that is likely to create division or controversy thereby attracting more followers because people come to expect this type of content from that Twitter account.
There is perhaps the other side of the argument also – what do accounts with low followers say about people or their account holders? This was shown very clearly in a posting by a mother who claimed she was worried about her child’s self-esteem that performed worst on her social media account verses her other children.
In review there is some merit in both of these arguments but one has to ask that do the majority of users really use twitter to post polarising content in order to gain more followers or to spite someone else? What average, ordinary, person has the time or the inclination to do that?
In response and initially, Twitter have decided not to scrap the follower count but to make the font smaller so it becomes less prevalent on the page. Some would argue this is a little pointless. If they believe it really is a problem, then wouldn’t the best approach to be to scrap it altogether? It seems a bit contradictory.
In conclusion this currently seems like a very minor change but it does show a shift in attitude and perhaps sets the scene for what might happen in the future. There is no doubt that Twitter (and therefore other social platforms) will have to be and are thinking about how they adapt their platforms to not only appeal to more people but become more relevant for people also. In this we can clearly see that behind the scenes there is a big emphasis of removing a lot of spam and irrelevance from these social programmes.
It’s worth remembering that many big changes always start with a little wave to test the water. We can certainly see the beginnings of that here.
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