Many times every day I receive tweets from people saying ‘get hundreds’ or ‘get thousands’ of followers on Twitter. And every time I wonder what their frantic getting of followers really gets them?
It also gets me thinking about the nature of social media and social networks. What are they for? Even more, who are they for?
Are they just a place to aggregate all the consumers to facilitate better focused corporate marketing? That does seem to be the attitude of the many people who exhort me to ‘click here to get lots of followers’ and the like.
The other thing that happens a lot is people challenging me to show ‘the power of my network’ by asking followers to do something (usually sign up for a conference or something).
I hate this approach to social networks. To me they are community gathering places not centres of commerce. Sure asking people to take social or charitable action fits in. But commercial exercises feel very unnatural.
It feels like it is almost time to throw the ‘money changers’ out of our social networks. Is commerce the only truly valuable thing we can do with social networks? How can we fund social networks so that ‘commercialisation’ issues are not a problem?
The power of social networks to do good and to create community is immense – just look at the conference tweeting, social and political activism. Twitter has enabled ordinary people to harness the power of network amplification in previously impossible ways.