Twittering? What’s your GOAL?

Are we marketers?

To be fair, all of us to a certain extent are marketers. We may not be marketing a big name product but we do market ourselves. The struggle, though, is that every second person on twitter is telling us how they have the answer to getting more followers, or some other ridiculous thing, and we get confused.

Let’s think about what really matters to us.

Are you a mouthpiece for a company, either your own or someone else’s? Is your goal to achieve a large audience so that your message is heard and possibly the reason someone makes a decision? If so then your numbers mean something different than the average person’s. Still, we need to remember there is a difference between broadcasting and engaging. This distinction is really getting muddied.

Dunbar’s Number

Well known anthropologist, Robin Dunbar theorized the number 150 as a mean number for processing ability in group size. The actual number will vary between 100 and 230, but 150 is what we can expect to be able to have in our network and still feel connection with. Others have posited this number is too low, with more recent numbers coming from a study of the US that suggests a mean of 230 with a high of 290.

Any way you slice it, there is a limit to cognition. These numbers are meant to provide explanation for how large a group can work in consort without conflict. In other words, there is a limit to the number of people we can positively impact.  There is no gaming the system, and there isn’t a great deal of difference in socio-economic/intelligence quotient.

What do you need to know?

Let’s assume you have a large network and it is necessary. What you need to know is that the larger your network, the less percentage of engagement there will be. As it grows you will become more like a megaphone and less like a conversationalist. The reciprocation will be lost and just as in the past with movie star idol worship, you will stop being a person and become a commodity. Own it, or get out of it but know what you’re getting when you go for those big counts. Don’t get me wrong, you will still have conversations but the actual numbers of people you will become personally involved with and stay personally involved with will diminish.

What’s your goal?

What you want may depend on what you’re doing. If you’re using twitter for business you have an entirely different goal than someone who is simply trying to stay connected. Understanding the difference is the key. Don’t be fooled. You are important and deserve a rich network full of people of your choosing. Whatever you do be considerate of those you connect with and keep your eye on the prize. The prize is what you want to gain from the involvement.

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