Victus Spiritus


Ignore the Stats, Connect With Your Authentic Audience

08 Aug 2009


How Many People Actually Listen?

Out of a couple thousand twitter followers I wondered how many actually care about what I post on a regular basis, and my estimate  is probably only a couple dozen. If they follow like myself, they only have time to observe their undirected input streams a couple of times a day. What does it mean to have followers or subscribers for modern Internet browsing habits? Is it simply a token of approval? These questions are in some part supposed to be answered by analytics and statistics. We can see how many folks visit our sites or download files. We see how long they decide to stay on the site, how many other pages they visit, and determine if our content is valuable to them. But I hypothesize that this data is largely irrelevant to our goals.

If you're passionate about sharing something, you hope that the right people get your message. This group is a small fraction of the overall visitors of your content. Perhaps only 1 in a 100 are authentic audience members that will return to your site, and truly support your community. These are the folks you should concentrate your energies on. They are the ones you should provide fantastic value to and in turn they will help you build an effective community, founded on your collective message and vision.

What is Your Information Overload Point?

This week we witnessed Robert Scoble make the decision to clean house and wipe his follower list in twitter. Initially I thought this was an interesting move, in hindsight I realized that he may have chosen the simpler but less effective solution. My comments to his post, You are so unfollowed!

Bold move. How and when you choose to follow someone is a groovy option we have in social media. I've learned some of the basics from watching you in action Robert and have enjoyed many of your videos (looks fun interviewing startups).

I'm on the fence with twitter, I realize I get more utility out of friendfeed because of lists I've made but I'm not ready to wipe the slate clean with twitter just yet. I enjoy pruning one follower at a time and manually following back folks with interesting feeds (takes time).

A little later after walking I revisted the post with this comment:

Robert, I've been doing some more thinking about your mass unfollowing. And I believe you made a classic mistake, you chose the simpler solution, but not the better one. First off I'm positive you chucked out the baby with the bathwater to find a few pearls. You also lost some very important information, WHO NOT TO FOLLOW! 

I humbly submit that you should have demanded better social aggregation filters from twitter. As long as they are going to be the sacred real time pipeline holders they had better damn well give access to a business like Zemanta to help cluster every status ever submitted. It would be in their best interest as a value provider of information, and in the users best interest to find relevant and valuable unknown info.

You just chopped sweet Serendipity off at the kneecaps. 

By the way I'm working on a solution to your rationale for spring cleaning.

I never would have suspected that Robert would simple nuke his follower list. The shift of direction was forced by a lack of effective information filters on twitters end. Louis Gray suggested Robert made the wrong move, and at least myself and Mark Krynsky agree with his perspective.

My Ideal Follow Method

My ideal "follow" habits would be the global stream of all web information, selecting specific topics of interest as they wisk by my perception. I'd also have groups of friends, associates, developers, and other people that share content in my areas of interest. But since folks are multidimensional and rarely create media on only one topic, I'd have these groups sorted under topics I really care about.

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