The Secret To Getting More Twitter Followers Is Already Being Well-Known In Real Life

So you want to be popular on Twitter? Tough titties, I guess. It turns out Twitter is a lot like the American economy: There are a few people with a lot of followers, many of whom have those followers because they were well-known before they even joined Twitter, and the vast majority of users only have a few dozen followers.

It turns out, according to a study from the Technical University of Madrid, that the sort of rote advice you’re bound to be given about getting more followers by having interesting things to say and tweeting often is incorrect. You could have great things to say, but the bottom line is that Twitter users follow people because other Twitter users follow them, not because of their content or ideas, or the frequency with which they post. Case in point: Ira Glass didn’t tweet for six years after he opened his account, and he still has over 100,000 followers. Shoot, I followed him while he wasn’t tweeting.

This all being the case, the best strategy for the average person who wants more followers is to follow spam accounts, because they’ll follow you back. Follow everyone, and then weed out the people who didn’t follow you back, and then start the process all over again. And no, this isn’t something I do — I care a lot about having a network that’s engaged, and also about the content of what I tweet — but you can, at least, boost the image of your popularity in the hopes of gaining real followers later on. On the other hand, if you’re like me and you care about your network, you can check to see how much of it is real at Twitter Audit, where you can also check how legitimate someone is who either follows or is tweeting at you.

It says a lot about brand and name recognition, about networking, about who we consider trustworthy that we follow people who we believe other Twitter users are endorsing — but keep in mind the possibility that ultimately, if you’re following someone simply because they’re visible, it probably means that all those other users are probably doing so, too.

[PsychCentral]

[Twitter]

[Twitter Audit]

Follow me on Twitter.