Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Scoble has figured out Twitter

Scoble says that he's figured out the secret to Twitter, and that it's how many people you are following. Peter Kim calls bullshit:
You just have to read a post from an hour earlier where Scoble tells a great story about microblogging and starting a great impromptu party at a California vineyard. What made that situation work? People were following his messages, not the other way around. In fact, the more followers one has, the more difficult it becomes to filter signal vs. noise.
Sorry Peter, but I'm gonna side with Scoble here, at least in his case.

What Scoble is doing is following everyone, so he can see where everyone is going. Scoble listens to everyone because that way, he can tell where people are moving before anyone else. That way when the next socnet or app starts to catch fire, Scoble is usually among the very first ones to know about it, and can follow the very early adopters. Then he starts participating and building his network just as the crowd is arriving, and he's in on the ground floor.

That's why we hear about the next FriendFeed from Scoble, who hears about it a few weeks earlier from the 16K+ people he is following. So we all start following Scoble, since he knows about the shiny new toys first, which of course makes him more influential. And when we follow Scoble, he follows us back, giving him an even larger Twitter network.

Of course most Twitter users have no desire to follow 16K people. But to Scoble's credit, he's found a way to do it, and is using Twitter to build his influence online.

Just depends on your goals. Scoble wants to know what the 'next big thing' in social media/tools is before anyone else, and has found a way to use Twitter to that end. He needs to see more messages coming in, so it's easier to spot trends and patterns. So he needs to follow more people.

Hey Scoble's found a way to use Twitter that works for him, so more power to him.


Hire Mack!


Scott Monty said...

Hey Mack, thanks for highlighting this. I find that when I introduce Twitter to people, they don't really understand the value of it. I quickly came to realize that it's only as valuable as the company you keep on it. Without a community, Twitter is useless.

And that community works two ways. I don't like to see a huge gap in the friends/followers numbers, because it means someone isn't listening or participating as much as they could.

I do have to question Scoble's ability to be listening to all of his 15,000 followers. At best, he can dip a toe on the considerable stream and get a snapshot. But he can't possibly be that tuned in to every one of his followers. Still, the gesture of following everyone who follows him sends a powerful message of someone who is engaged with his community.

You can find me at @scottmonty on Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Think you (and Robert) are right on track with this.
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to explain to someone that if you aren't listening, you are missing the wealth of information, knowledge, and ideas that flow thru Twitter every day.

There's something to be said about the dialog aspect of Twitter... you must both talk & listen to gain the full benefit.

But that's just my two cents... which happen to agree with what you've written here.

Anonymous said...

You're right - it's all about goals and objectives - and attention span.

Gavin Heaton said...

How Scoble is able to do anything at all with a 16000 strong twitter stream is beyond me. He must have his own custom software sorting through the content.

Mack Collier said...

My guess is that in Scoble's case, it's not so much that he's listening, but that he's scanning. He obviously listens to people that reply to him, but my guess is that for everyone else, he's just scanning to see where the 'next big thing' is. Like if he suddenly sees that his followers are talking about a new site called 'Friendcaster', he can check it out and if he thinks it's going to generate buzz, he can join early and then blog and tweet about it. Which helps CREATE the buzz, and makes him look like a trend-setter.

BTW I think he once said that he uses Google Talk to have all the tweets sent to him. I'm playing with it and currently I'm probably only receiving 5% or less of the total tweets from my followers. No idea if I am doing something wrong or not, but Scoble claims he sees everything with Google Talk.

Wherespaul said...

i don't understand how he can stay on top of all those twits. then again i'm just getting the hang of twitter. for me my writing skills really hold me back on twitter. i have enjoyed following your twits Mack.

Anonymous said...

When you go to a party do you sit and watch people or get into the action? Do you listen to conversations or become the center of attention?

It all comes down to personality and what you want to get out of the interaction.

I don't think technology and applications change the fundamentals of networking and socialising only facilitate the experience.

Anonymous said...

hey mack
it works for scoble because thats his core business. sorting through feed, aggregating whats new and then following up with commentary. for the rest of us that have other things to do its impossible. im on lots of social networks as robert is, 4700 facebook friend, 13000 myspace friend, 270 twitter friends, 11000 ilike friends, friends friends friends... but i cant follow individuals feeds. and i think most people outside the echo chamber cant. i use google reader to stay as up to date as i can and to learn what the smart folks are talking about.

Martin Lindeskog said...

I am following 28 people at the moment. I don't know how many you could handle before the "crow epistemology" starts to kick in...

Here is my thoughts on how I can use Twitter in the future.