Followers are Leaders on Twitter

When Twitter first hit the social networking scene all we heard about were tweets announcing intentions to sleep in after a too-late night out or – worse yet – descriptions of the peanut butter sandwich cousin Jessie ate on her way to the mall.

Today’s tweeps have learned that you are who you follow.   This was brought to my attention this past week by BNN’s co-hosts Amanda Lang (@AmandaLang_CBC) and Kevin O’Leary (@kevinolearytv).   Amanda has been a hold out on using Twitter and although she now has a Twitter persona is still not convinced that time spent reading tweets is worthwhile — but she’s giving it a try.  It will be interesting to see who she will follow.

Kevin, on the other hand, seems to have jumped right in and mixes personal elements (which wine should he serve) with juicier tidbits on how he intends to grill his favourite market analyst on Squeeze Play.  It seems that Kevin’s comments on feeling out the markets by launching questions on Twitter had something to do with Amanda’s turn around.  He makes a good case for using Twitter as a tool for financial professionals.

If you’re new to the social networking scene you may be wondering what proper etiquette is when someone follows you on Twitter.  Especially when the notification email presents a link to their Twitter profile with the suggestion that you may want to follow them back.   A recent survey published on calls this the norms of reciprocity.  Or “I feel bad when someone doesn’t follow me back (not)”.  Not surprisingly, only 3% – 4% feel strongly that they should reciprocate.

One thing this survey tells us is that today’s tweep shows a strong inclination to decide – individually and selectively – whom to follow.


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