Are You a Twitter Snob?

I’m still a total novice, a geek you might say, when it comes to Twitter. I signed up at the advice of a friend and have mostly tried to use it as a tool to promote this blog. Facebook continues to be the place where I get more personal.

Because I just didn’t feel I was getting the hang of Twitter I bought Twitter Power by Joel Comm. For my wife and daughter, the fact that I would buy and read a book like that confirms them that I am indeed a geek, a twit, a tweet.

As I type this I’m half way through the book and have learned several good pointers. But, this post isn’t about the book; rather it’s about what I’m observing about Twitter from a social influence standpoint.

First I must confess, I’ve become a Twitter snob. Are you? You might discover you’re one too and didn’t know it. Why do I say I’m I a snob? Well, for the simple reason that I don’t “follow” everyone who follows me. Kind of rude isn’t it? In my defense there’s a psychological force at work on me. It’s called consensus, also known as social proof.

Consensus is the psychological principle whereby people look to others for clues on how to act. That gets heightened when we are not sure what to do. So I’m new to Twitter, fumbling around not knowing what to do and I look to see what others are doing. I’ve received notification that people or organizations are following me so I pop over to their Twitter home page to see what’s up. Here’s where consensus comes into play which leads me to a question for you. If you saw “Following 1,567” and “Followers 138” would you be like me and wonder, “Why are so few people following this person?”

It’s not that 138 is a small number; after all, we all have to start somewhere. The problem is that 138 is a small number compared to 1,567. We naturally compare and contrast to gauge things. It’s no different than looking inside a small restaurant, seeing a large crowd, people waiting and all the tables filled. I don’t know about you but when I see that I naturally assume it must be a good place. By contrast, when you pop your head into a large place and see more empty tables than full ones it’s easy to conclude something must be wrong with the food, service or something else. In reality there may be more people in the big restaurant but you don’t really notice that. In both cases we’re influenced by groups, or lack of, and that is heightened when comparing it to the number of tables.

At first I felt bad not following someone who followed me. My feeling bad goes to another principle of influence, reciprocity, which tells us we should respond in kind when someone does something for us. Someone smiles at us and we smile back or they do something for us and we feel obligated to return the favor. So naturally, when someone follows us on Twitter we feel somewhat obligated to follow them back.

So what’s a person to do if they find themselves in a follower deficit? Again, I’m no Twitter expert but here are a few things that come to mind:

  • Friends and Family – Use the AT&T strategy and try connecting with people you know so they’ll follow you and you can build up that number.
  • Sympathy – Start sending messages to some of those you follow to tell them you made a mistake and ask them to start following you.
  • Slow Down Cowboy – As people do start following you, don’t be so quick to follow back for a time so you can even out your “following” and “follow” numbers.
  • Last Resort – If all else fails, set up a new Twitter account and be more careful as you build up your followers. This might seem like a hassle but it will be worse to go months, maybe years and never see many followers.

Again, I don’t claim to be an authority on Twitter, that’s why I needed a book! However, I know enough about social influence to realize when people are shooting themselves in the foot. By the way, feel free to follow me on Twitter or become my friend on Facebook. Links to both are on the side of the Web site.Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

2 replies
  1. Jonathan Dune / TWOCOMMACOPY
    Jonathan Dune / TWOCOMMACOPY says:

    Hey Brian,

    Good post on the subject. Let me step in here and offer some of my tested results. And by the way, I get paid by clients to do many TESTs on Twitter. I'm not just wasting away hours of my time wishing and hoping that something works.

    "Are You a Twitter Snob?" … Myself, no. But, I have seen several of the direct response, marketing industry show their worst side. That is, their "egos" are often bigger than anything else.

    I'm not a novice, and I only go on Twitter to TEST different points that can be monetized.

    Getting on Twitter is not for everyone. If I didn't spend my time in direct response marketing, you'd never find me there. It can be the biggest time waster in history(besides maybe cell phones and IMs).

    The Herd Mentality And WHY
    That Is Dangerous

    If you're on Twitter, or get on Twitter to be part of the "in group", forget it. The herd mentality on Twitter is very evident and it IS the problem. People never seem to think enough for themselves. Take chances. Make mistakes. Or, TEST anything.

    Here's an important RULE to understand: Where there are no clear cut, posted rules, people make up their own. Or worse yet, they follow each other and have no clue either way.

    Twitter is not a good place to feel around in the dark "trying to figure it out." Too many people are doing just that.

    Too many times in a dark room you will grab a breast, or grab a butt, and get smacked silly or even worse get invited to do even more debauch things. Well, let me save those little details for a more adult site.

    Let's just say that someone has to take the lead, set up your own rules of engagement or "Rules of the Game" so that you have a filter to create relationships with.

    I have to disagree with most of your assessment Brian about Twitter. Because when you get your emotions into it, you then start to act like all the rest of the herd.

    First of all I do not accept any type of porn, spammers, mlms, sales messages, etc. These may include beautiful women who seem to prefer to reveal all their personal attributes online for anyone to see from this day forward. But not my type of people to have a relationship with in this venue. You get blocked, never to be able to come back.


    If you can't post your own name, your actual location and NOT just a city/town, or just a state/province or worse JUST YOUR COUNTRY or trying to be cute and post:"GLOBAL"(post: city/town+state/province+country) then you are not someone who will be following me for long. If you can't take a moment and post an actual photo of yourself … again, WHO ARE YOU? You won't get another chance. If not, you're blocked, no second chances.

    Although on your Twitter profile it says "BIO", and some people think this area is for only “bio” stuff. Well, I'm open to see all sorts of info. Get personal. Reveal WHO you are. People on Twitter WANT to know you. Don’t try to be cute or make people “just figure it out”. Be specific. Be real. If you can’t, you don’t get a second chance with me, you’re blocked.

    If you think Twitter is about making money either fast or slow, you're in the wrong place. Just as in direct response, creating a 2-step lead process actually works best. Cultivate a relationship. People TRUST people, NOT COMPANIES. And surely NOT company logos. Post a real, living, actual contact person's name. Companies don't buy from other companies, they do BUY from people just like you.
    [continued – next post]

  2. Jonathan Dune / TWOCOMMACOPY
    Jonathan Dune / TWOCOMMACOPY says:


    Limit The Number You're Following or
    Who You Follow

    The native American people known as the Iroquois Nation, had a tribal concept that each of their "long houses" only occupy 200 people. Each village only had two "long houses). So, taking from that very successful model, the big question I ASK all Twitter account holders is: How can you manage more than 200 or 400 people at once?

    The FACT: You can't. You're inner circle of people in your life probably rounds out at around 200.

    And because of this natural limitation, the quality of people is all over the place as you’re quantity increases. For better quality, limit quantity. Set your own standards. Having followers on Twitter is no different than having followers in your real life.

    It's NOT How Many People On Twitter
    That Follow You That Makes You Important

    When people with the higher number of Twitter Followers is rewarded and NOT the relationship value between people, it fails. This happens in business as well.

    How many times have you gone to a large retailer, an online seller, anyone who has BIG numbers and tried to get a problem resolved to your satisfaction? I would say that you rarely if ever have received any satisfaction. Hence, the failing of Twitter in rewarding or encouraging the large numbers you are seeing following people.

    Following should be based upon value in relationship. What do you share, what are your values, what do you show, what do you write about, etc. Those are important points that makes a relationship.

    Follow Less People,
    Always ADD Value

    Be aware that when you follow someone on Twitter, you get “tweets” sent from them. When you send a Tweet, your followers get them. The person following is always receiving the “tweets”. That’s why when you always ADD value, send good info, and your message gets RT(retweeted) you can build up more following. Your tweets can be passed on to others and so on. It works this way whether you wrote the tweet yourself or you RT something you think of a valuable.

    When you RT, make sure you edit the message like this(fictional RT):

    (original tweet) @JonathanDune Read Brian Aherns Blog Post

    Read Brian Aherns Blog Post (via @JonathanDune)

    You might notice that this tweet has a link. Make sure you use a link shortening service to track and monitor how many click thrus you get to see if your RT is working. Recommend these free tools:,,


    So, if want to know about my TESTs and How you can maximize your time on Twitter and most importantly leverage you're Twitter relationships? With enough interest I may post,"7 Ways That Gets You An Edge on Twitter".

    Then post your comments here with your email address and/or Twitter account name.

    Always Be Marketing,

    Jonathan Dune

    Twitter: @JonathanDune

    P.S. Sorry to say that many of the Principles of Persuasion made famous by Dr. Robert Cialdini do not work on Twitter.


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