Sunday, July 06, 2008

OMG! I'm adding followers faster on FF than I did on Twitter! Amazing!

I find it fascinating how many people are excited about how quickly they are adding followers on other sites like Friendfeed. Loic, Arrington, and Scoble are all excited about how quickly they are adding up followers on Friendfeed. The thinking seems to be that since users that have a large number of Twitter followers are adding Friendfeed followers much faster than they did on Twitter, that it validates the theory that Friendfeed is growing incredibly fast.


Doesn't it make far more sense to assume that most/all of the people following you on Friendfeed, probably came from your pool of Twitter followers? Granted, that's not an absolute, but I don't think it's a stretch to assume that if someone wants to follow you on Twitter, that they might also want to follow you on Friendfeed, or Plurk, or any other social site, yes?

For example, I now have about 350 people following me on Plurk after a month. It probably took me 8 months to get that many followers on Twitter. Is this a sign that Plurk is growing much faster than Twitter did, or simply a sign that part of my Twitter network is shifting over to Plurk? I now have about 200 Friendfeed followers, after being there a couple of months. Does that mean that Plurk is growing twice as fast as Friendfeed?

When I start seeing people claiming more Friendfeed or Plurk followers than they have Twitter followers, then I'll be impressed. Till then, I think this is more about shifting networks, instead of incredible growth by Friendfeed.

BTW love this quote from TechCrunch about Friendfeed: "Like many others, I’m also noticing that the discussions occurring on Friendfeed are more more interesting (and longer) than the equivalent conversations at Twitter. It’s often 2-to-1 on the number of comments. Which means that those Friendfeed users are far more engaged than those on Twitter."

When FF convos are getting 400+ replies in an hour, like they do on Plurk, then I'll be impressed. Now THAT is user engagement.


Anonymous said...

I actually had the same reaction to the follower bragging. Of course if you have thousands of followers on Twitter and talk about nothing but "HEY! TALK TO ME ON FRIENDFEED or PLURK or WHATEVER" your follower base is going to come over and try it -- if they find your conversations valuable at all.

Oddly, I'm still seeing the most growth in Twitter followers but that's likely because that's where my primary use is, though I do pick up a handful of new Plurkers, FriendFeeders, and now Kwippers per day, too, even though I barely use some of those services.

I think what helps gain more traction on Plurk and FriendFeed are the threaded conversations. You're not limited to just seeing one side of a conversation so you more easily become aware of more interesting people. I don't know that it's indicative of grwoth -- if you do a comparison Plurk is flatlined, FriendFeed is moving up and Twitter continues to spike in the face of site problems. I think there's just more crossover with the sites that allow you to more easily each other's networks. But I think the value of the conversation is still dependent on the individual use cases.

As for Plurks with 400 responses, I can see that getting unmanageable real fast, especially with (here I go again) Plurk's inability to track which conversations in which people are participating. There's a line that gets crossed between user manageability and noise. I think Plurk sometimes hits noise, but with a bit more management it could be phenomenal and better suited for a wide variety of adopters.

Wow, this could be a blog post. Maybe I'll make it one. :)

In the end, I agree with you. Those who base a site's growth on their following are just showing a bit of ignorance. Most of it is based on the type of traffic on the site and where your followers come from. And, as I've said before with Scoble, his groupies rarely question his answers. More discerning users are going to be slower to make a switch. And that's likely a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Pardon my typos. I just woke up. :)

Anonymous said...

It would be like Spencer Pratt saying "There are as many paps outside Ivy as there are outside Dolce, so Ivy must be better." What do they expect? Imagine you are Scoble (sorry, this will just take a minute). When Twitter starts to take off after SXSW last year, where exactly can you pimp your Twitter residency? Your blog? Sure, good start, and with your readership, you are going to pick up users pretty quickly. But when you already have a huge base on Twitter and you make a move somewhere else, it's only natural that people will follow you at a quicker pace - you are starting from a base that allows for rapid propagation of a network.

That said, if I get this, they get this. So the "golly, gee" remarks ring a little false to me.

Okay, you can go back to being you now. :)

Mack Collier said...

And likewise, I can show you a Google Trends graph of Plurk having higher traffic than FF for the last month:

;) Again, when we start to see the 'power users' having more followers on Friendfeed or Plurk than they do on Twitter, then we'll have something.

BTW having said that, I am now following several people on Twitter, that started using Plurk first, and migrated over to Twitter. But this just goes back to show that Twitter is so huge that it's going to be very difficult for anyone else to catch them in the microblogging space. And it's easy to see why all these me-too sites such as and Kwippy are growing quickly out of the gate, because they were pimped on Twitter.

Course another way to look at it is that if you have 8K followers on Twitter and 5K on Friendfeed, then you have 3K followers on Twitter that won't follow you to Friendfeed.

Mack Collier said...

Tara you're exactly right. I remember posts last year about how amazingly fast Twitter was growing. Because all the bloggers were pimping it on their blog and encouraging their readers to follow them on Twitter.

And I also agree that all of these guys are smart enough to know why this is happening. I think this is a cutesy way for them to brag about how many followers they have.

Anonymous said...

I think there's also another effect, it is much easier to discover new people to follow on FriendFeed than on Twitter - you see full discussions and can add people there.

It is definitely silly to extrapolate any sort of growth of services to the number of followers the stars have. Click on any random person on FF and you're more likely than not to find a follower of Scoble. Do the same on Twitter? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. If I go through my followers on Twitter versus my followers on FriendFeed, I have a TON of subscribers on FriendFeed who are NOT following me on Twitter, or later followed me on Twitter from there. It's mostly new folks. Plus, the folks I follow on FriendFeed are a high percentage different than those I follow on Twitter. Plurk, however, it's the same ol' Twitter gang but that's only because I haven't taken the time to use it and crossover. But with FriendFeed I didn't even need to engage much before I found a different audience / group to read. It was just organic. I liked that.

Again, I don't want to fall into the My Service of Choice can beat up Your Service of Choice debate as you commented very smartly yesterday that all of these services help the overall microblogging landscape as a whole. But I also want to be realistic about them, too. At least from my experience.

As for the stats, just shows that Web generated stats without any real back-end access are not scientific. ;-)

Mack Collier said...

Jennifer I wonder if many of the people that are following you first on FF, then on Twitter, are people that the Twitter 'power' users such as Scoble/Calacanis/Arrington pushed to FF from Twitter? I just can't see too many people finding FF first without hearing about Twitter. I'm sure it happens, but I would guess it's not very often.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing most of the FriendFeeders came from Twitter but they are new to ME. My networks are completely different. That's why I use both. That's also why I don't integrate my Twitter and FriendFeed like a lot of others, too. I kinda like having it separate.

Anonymous said...

Y'all are brilliant and I agree. Plus, i think new twitterers and plurkers are picking one or two to follow and then following everyone they follow. I have not twittered in a few weeks, except thru, yet I keep adding new Twitter followers. I am convinced they think I'm 'somebody' because I'm on somebody else's list. Not, of course, that I'm NOT SOMEBODY, just in this case, I'm seen as connected...

Amber Naslund said...

There's one point about all this numbers pimping that I can't let go of.

Exactly how many of those people are you actually CONVERSING WITH???

I have around 300 followers on Twitter, 100 or so on Plurk, no idea about FriendFeed ('cuz I don't care much). Those are baby stats in some people's eyes.

But I *still* don't manage to really talk to all those people. And the value in these platforms to me is the critical ratio that is after a certain point, the number of followers you have is directly proportional to the number of great people you can find and actually have a conversation with. More followers, more chance of better conversation. But it's not about the numbers themselves, and if the Number Pimps would kindly share with me the last time they actually held a decent conversation with one of their, then *I'll* be impressed.

Anonymous said...

I friend people more easily on Friendfeed, because I still consider it a destination site. When I have time, I go to it. In contrast, I use twhirl or digsby for twitter, and I am more discriminatory about my "interruptions" on those services.

Anonymous said...

Even I find my ff followers more than my twitter followers