Why twitter follower numbers mean nothing

As a follow up to yesterday’s incredibly successful post (over 16,000 views on Social Media Today so far) I’m going to not just tell you, but I’m going to show you why Twitter followers mean nothing when judging value.

Take a look at these two accounts. Mozelle is from New Delhi and Gusella is from Mumbai and their accounts are EXACTLY the same (minus background and picture) and why is that? Well they are worthless spam accounts and one has 4,500+ followers while the other is just under 6,000.

Seriously, take a minute and look at them, and then think about it.

When you use crapware like TwitterAdder Pro and other junk to auto follow and grab as many followers as possible the numbers mean nothing. The only time you can use them as a gauge is when they are gained organically, when it’s grown without any “assistance” then you can measure your growth trend.

Twitter follower numbers, Facebook friends or fans when gained using “legal cheats” mean nothing, and even if they are gained organically they still don’t really mean much.


Because it shouldn’t be about what your neighbor gets out of following or friending that person (or even if they follow or friend you back), it’s what YOU get out of following or friending that person.

But what about company accounts? I’m sure some of you are using it for business and your boss doesn’t understand that 10 engaged followers are better than 1,000 who couldn’t care less and they would like to see those numbers rise.

Here’s a tip for that. Shift the focus.

Show how effective your Twitter account is as doing it’s real job of engaging and sharing info. Track your links, track your mentions, RTs etc. Track the stuff that matters and build on that.

If you want to play numbers games go here. If you want to communicate, grow your network, and engage other people, then go here.

Twitter is not about follower numbers, it’s not a numbers game, it never has been so stop trying to make it one. It’s all about the value YOU get from it.

Give it a good thought and ask yourself, If a worthless spam bot can get 6,000 followers without being shut down then really, what does that say about that “metric”?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

image by Benimoto

  • http://www.scottergories.com Scott Cowley

    Twitter followers mean nothing unless the owner of the restaurant wants to take a picture with those who have the most Twitter followers, which I witnessed not 20 minutes ago. Classic!

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

      I'm not sure that's exactly why the pic was taken, all those people have engaged him before the event. However I can see where you're coming from.

  • http://www.scottergories.com Scott Cowley

    Twitter followers mean nothing unless the owner of the restaurant wants to take a picture with those who have the most Twitter followers, which I witnessed not 20 minutes ago. Classic!

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    Kudos for your great wisdom once again, Joshua. Though you're missing the element of the inactive user.

    When you consider 17% of Twitter users (in January 2010) sent at least one message a week, there are over 80% of tweeps who didn't send a tweet.

    Maybe they were on vacation, but most likely they decided they didn't understand Twitter (because someone probably told them to create an account but didn't instruct how to use it) so didn't delete the account but stopped using it. That inactive account may be following you today, and there may be up to 83% of your followers who are in that boat.

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

      You make a GREAT point Ari, the numbers don't mean much for many reasons beyond the fact that they can be artificially inflated so easily. Inactive people, “people” who are totally automated and so never see their account, people who truly don't care and are only in it for the numbers, the reasons go on and on.

      Thanks for the great addition to the post.

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  • http://twitter.com/cuteculturechic Nicole Bullock

    When I started on Twitter, I felt like the numbers mattered. I wanted to have lots of followers. But I rarely used it for purposes other than promoting my blog and copying my Facebook status. But the longer I used it, I realized that it's the interactions that make it golden. The only time I'm frustrated if a person isn't following me is when they send me a DM, but I can't reply (particularly with confidential information)

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters


      The DM situation is one thing we can all relate to. It's frustrating as all hell when that happens. The way you described your “Twitter Journey” is the same as most people's. We start out wanting to be a “Twitter Star” and having throngs of adoring fans. Then we evolve a little and realize it's more than a numbers game and we start getting more out of it. Sadly though, some people never get past the numbers game level. Though, thankfully, they're easy to spot and easy to avoid.

      Thanks for the great comment

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