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Twitter and Lemmings Befuddles Private Tutor

September 18, 2013
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Thoughts From The Corner

Even the life of a Private Tutor can be stressful – I jest not. 🙂

In times of stress I find those wonderful Chinese proverbs take my mind away from day to day running about and into a more contemplative corner where worries, stress and anxieties can be boxed and dealt with. Instead of problems sitting in my mind like tangled spaghetti, they can be compartmentalised and dealt with in a logical and orderly fashion.

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The Spaghettied State of my Mind!

One thing which has caused me much naval contemplation lately is ‘Followers’. What with social media networking and celebrity culture, our lemming-like society more and more resembles bees in a hive than it has ever done.

My thought from the corner for this post was triggered by the following:

The king of Chu has a thousand chariots following him. This is not because he is wise.

Xun Zi, Waring States Period

Like Xan Li I have a thousand followers, not chariots but Twitter followers. I only know one of them personally (in real life) so what is my attraction? I do not consider myself a Queen Bee or a Lead Lemming, so what kind of magnetic charisma do I have? Those that know me in the real world, as opposed to this virtual one, would laugh and say ‘None!’

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Followers like Bees in a Hive

To gain those followers I simply clicked on the follow button and they clicked to follow back. No particular wisdom required. I quickly learnt that I could not possibly read all the tweets of those I was following, so I split them into categories. I have my ‘Favourites’ and sometimes look at those. The other 970 don’t get looked at. So what is their use? The sure answer is, I am not sure. I guess that all those that follow me do the same and I am put into a category that is not looked at.

The problem is, to my mind, I have been told that I need those (lemmings) followers if I want to sell my novel. Remember that [best selling :-)] novel from my last post? So I play the Twitter Game.

I find all these huge follower numbers puzzling. Some have thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands. In our celebrity-led culture I see Lady Gaga has over 40 million. Does mean that she is ‘wise’? I doubt Xui Zi would think so. No disrespect meant to Lady Gaga.

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Poker Face (Lady Gaga song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Xui Zi had it right all those years ago when he considered that someone with many followers did not have to be someone who was wise. Playing the Twitter numbers game is easy, multitudes of followers is not an indicator of wisdom.

What do you think? Answers on a postcard to:

Private English Tutor

C/O Mr A Twerp

Social Media Inc.

1000, Tweeter Masses Avenue

1001 FLRS



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Image via CrunchBase

From → Writing

  1. I’ve just become a lemming, with 8 lemming minions. I mean followers. Does that mean I’m wise? 😀

  2. I would imagine that Twitter is kinda like WordPress, in that most of a person’s “followers” never actually “follow” you anyway. The game is to try to make you return the follow so they can build up their stats (which despite what the “wisemen” out there say means absolutely nothing), a game for which I am not willing to play….

    • In some ways you are right. However, in 16 months of WordPress I have 137 followes whereas with Twitter I have over 1,200 in about three months. Most people will simply click to follow with Twitter. WordPress readers seem more discerning – is that why I have so followers? 😦

      • Again, I know nothing about Twitter, but I’ll bet it’s easier for people to find you and throw out a Follow on Twitter than it is on WordPress. And I’ll bet more of your WordPress following reads you than your Twitter following, because I think Twitter is more a vehicle for people to draw attention to themselves, not care about what others are saying…

      • You may well be right my friend – but who am I but a mere lemming?

  3. Sorry I@m late to this debate. I have a twitter account and have, wait for it…8 followers. My wordpress is around 350. I don’t tweet xcept when my blog links in. My belief is that it’s all about status for most people.IT’s the latest in one-upmanship. I know perhaps 25 of my WP followers actually read the blog, the rest are hoping I’ll “follow” back; ditto with Twitter. I’ll probably change my tune when the book comes out but for now, I’ve got all on just keeping up with the blog and F’book. Since it’s passed me by ET that you’re on twitter, I’m galloping over there to “follow” you 🙂 See you in Twit land

    • Better late than never – of course, better never late 🙂

      Do jump on my Twitter Train – 1,281 so far. You’d better hurry before it leaves the station.

      I don’t profess to understand Twitter but perceived wisdom seems to be that it’s better to have it than not. When my best seller 🙂 takes the world by storm I expect my Twitter account to take on a life of its own and I’m sure Lady Gaga will be looking on enviously at my follower numbers.

      My WordPress followers are a little hard to please and I hover in the 130’s. Time prevents me from reading and commenting on new blogs and attempting to cultivate more. I don’t conform to the rules for being Freshly Pressed so I don’t ever expect to pick multitudes of followers from there. So I guess I will forever languish when it comes to WordPress followers.

      So glad your not posting in French!

  4. Ah the wonders of Twitter! I enjoy the ease of tweeting and the challenge of 140 characters. I do however have doubts about the majority of those followers (even though I have very few) turning into paying bestseller readers. Still at least you’re out there in the tweety sphere. That has to be worth something…. right?!!

    BTW what are the Freshly Pressed rules? I thought it was just random?!

    • Twitter has to be worth a swimming pool added to the house – at the very least!

      Rules – I checked out these a while ago so little rusty. From what I remember there are things such as they look very bleakly on you advertising on your blog. I think this meant things such as putting a link there to sites such as my day job web site and also using images that aren’t your own. I think that’s what they mean.

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