I have thousands of friends, fans, and followers. Over a thousand on Facebook, nearly four thousand on LinkedIn, and almost eight thousand on Twitter. Most of them are marketing researchers, and they read and monitor everything I write.
But let’s flip that on it’s head. I follow thousands of people on Twitter, I’ve friended over a thousand people on Facebook, and I’ve Linkedin with thousands of people on LinkedIn. And you know, it feels kind of creepy to hear other people say they ‘have’ me as a friend/follower/link, that I am one of the thousands of people they have in their little black book.
First of all, I love that many of the people I’ve connected with can now be counted as friends. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn conversations over the years have led to lots of friendships with people around the world, people I would have never met otherwise. But, the connection does not necessitate that we’re friends. We have may crossed paths at a conference, shared a cubicle wall at a past employer, or discovered via fourth order connections that we both love charts/statistics/data quality/ukulele. Connections yes, friends, not necessarily.
Second, I don’t read everything they write. I don’t even see or care about everything they write. Indeed, I know I’ve forgotten that I’ve even linked, friended, or fanned some of them.
Finally, as the person I follow, you don’t ‘have’ me. I made an individual decision, without your assistance, about who I follow/friend/link and why. At the drop of a hat, exuberant use of curse words, racism, sexism, or other forms of hate messaging will result in me deciding that I no longer care to follow or friend you. I’ll even unfollow you if you share heart-warming, uplifting, inspirational quotes all the time. Maybe you love them, I don’t. So with that in mind, consider me as someone who has graced you with an increased follower count. Temporarily. At my full discretion.
If anything, I ‘have’ you.
I don’t have any followers. There are, however, thousands of people who have chosen to follow my accounts. It’s a big difference.
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