Building A Virtual Army: Part Three

Part Three: Who Are You People?


By Jeremy Allmendinger


Don’t follow people you’re not interested in. Chances are they’re not going to be interested in you either. That said, expanding your horizons a bit – following photo bloggers even if you’re not a photographer, or humor accounts from comedians you don’t know – can lead to a broader, more diverse range of followers. People have many different interests.


Who follows who across these four social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram – varies wildly. Facebook friends are usually just that – people you know in real life. Connections on LinkedIn benefit both parties. Each receives a potential job and a boost to their stats. In the business world, it’s not uncommon to work with people you’ve never met. All the two have is a shared industry, mutual friends, or the same employer. However, LinkedIn retains the expectation that connections at least have something to do with each other offline.


Instagram is yet broader. Not including celebrity accounts, the majority of an Instagram user’s audience consists of friends or acquaintances. At the same time, it’s not unheard of to be followed by someone you’ve never met. The platform encourages posting about your personal life in the image-based equivalent of a Facebook status. Thus, partially out of etiquette, Instagram followers are usually people the user would be comfortable showing photos to in real life.


But not always. Instagram has become increasingly like Twitter – the most fluid of the four. I know maybe half the people I follow, and even fewer people who follow me. If an account makes me laugh, I follow it, especially if it has that golden 1:1 ratio. Twitter’s openness is important. WordPress gets your name out to over 400 million people around the world, but all of that interaction is passive. Twitter, on the other hand, affords much more personal, more direct interactions. Twitter allows users to directly communicate with other users – a feature sorely lacking from WordPress. The etiquette of Twitter, especially the famous “follow for a follow,” does not exist on WordPress, where many users are new not just to the host but to the Internet. For these reasons and more, I decided to focus on Twitter above all other presences.


As a result of my activity over the past few months, and in particular the last four weeks, I now have a number of big players connecting to my Twitter account, @TheAndorran. Ben & Jerry’s followed me after I tweeted them my article on Free Cone Day (which they also retweeted). Their UK account followed me simply because I retweeted their Easter photo. Quite a few heavy-hitting bloggers have also signed up. Aussa Lorens I already mentioned, but I’m also followed by List of X – one of the more popular parody list accounts – as well as Idiot-Prufs, Hastywords, Edward Hotspur, and Rubber Shoes in Hell, all popular humor sites.


I’m not famous, but my star is rising.


Keep an eye out for Jeremy’s fourth and final post in our Building A Virtual Army Series!