Friends vs Followers on Micro.blog

If I’m honest, the reason I originally backed and then joined Micro.blog by Manton Reese is that I enjoy tinkering with new platforms and social networks. I try them all. Manton’s ideas about “owning your content” and the hooks into IndieWeb ideas were just icing.

I came for the novelty, but stayed because it’s become my favorite place to be.

@Smokey’s recent post, Two Weeks with Micro.blog, had me nodding in agreement throughout. He lists some great reasons to enjoy being part of the Micro.blog community.

Beyond Smokey’s spot-on list, I’d like to point out a feature of Micro.blog that is so small it’s easy to overlook; There’s no way to know how many followers other people have. This may seem trivial, or even an oversight, but I’m convinced that it’s a critical component of Micro.blog. It is for me, anyway.

Years ago on Twitter, I would use follower counts as an indicator of authority or perhaps as a way to gauge someone’s impact on a community or topic. With so many followers, he or she must have useful or interesting things to say, right? That probably wasn’t a great way to think about follower counts even then, but it worked as often as not.

Today however, it’s become about gaming the system. High follower counts on social networks only demonstrate an ability to gain followers. Not useful. This leads to replies on Twitter feeling like nothing more than desperate grabs for attention.

On Micro.blog, replies feel like a conversation with a person. Imagine that.

I check Micro.blog many times a day, but not for entertainment or to see how many faves I’ve gotten. I do it to see what my friends are up to.

It may be presumptuous to call the people I follow on Micro.blog “friends”, since I don’t actually know any of them, but I can’t think of a better word. I certainly don’t call them “followers”.

18 thoughts on “Friends vs Followers on Micro.blog

  1. @jack I really like this post. I also really like the fact that you cannot tell how many people a certain person has. Like you said, it almost improves the general conversation/content on micro.blog. I’ve learned a fair amount by stumbling around here.

  2. @jack Spot on, my friend. 😄

    It may be presumptuous to call the people I follow on Micro.blog “friends”, since I don’t actually know any of them, but I can’t think of a better word. I certainly don’t call them “followers”.

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