Todd Lyden



SocMed/App Enthusiast

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's Wrong with Being a Follower?

My question of the day stemmed from two blog posts from bloggers I follow speaking to the semantics of what Twitter/Facebook/et al. call their respective users.

@WordsDoneWrite lambasted the notion of followers in an older post. I get where she is coming from. "Followers" connotates something akin to worship. (I'd dare say the way people are overly positive and grossly cheery, they are worshipping). Amber suggests that the name hurts the power of social media. I guess because it infers a relationship of power over another.

@ariherzog has written something similar here. He breaks it down as simply as this: "We need to stop calling the people we know online as friends."

I "follow," have "friend-ed" and done whatever else a website has done to simple connect with folks via social media. While I get the complaint about the verbiage used, I don't think a universal term is going to happen any time soon.

I have followed both bloggers above because I found immense value in what they say online and how they have interacted with me. Do we have to either to be "friends," "followers," or what they seem to like "connections" in order for the relationship to exist? Nah.

I think @WordsDoneWrite knows I listen to her. @ariherzog knows I listen based on our interactions. Does it really matter whether I am a "follower" or not?

My take is: everyone is going to see themselves how they choose online. "Experts" might be "building a community," "engaging authentically," and doing what they tell others to do, but how often is that in service to finding customers and nothing more.

That's not a complaint- just an observation. I am DEFINITELY a consumer, follower, and whatever @WordsDoneWrite and @ariherzog would like to call me. I will continue to read them just as much as I read my local newspaper, watch certain TV, and rent certain movies. The connection is there, no matter what is called.

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