The answer, of course, is “it takes about ten years of suffering hard work to become an overnight sensation.” In the case of new media and Web2.0, you can so that in a lot less time. Being an early — the earliest — adopter doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t necessary, really. However, any way you slice it, with a few exceptions, becoming an overnight sensation on Twitter, YouTube, Plurk, QIK, Utterli, LinkedIn, Facebook, or MySpace is going to require a lot of your resources (time and/or money) and more time than you probably planned out for your boss or your client — or yourself!
I am pretty interested in seeing how my Twitter profile has gone from nothing to 2,511+ followers. Twitterholic has allowed me to figure that out in an easy-to-read format, which I appreciate. I joined Twitter on January 6th, 2007. By October 30th, I had 441 followers. It took until May 5th, 2008, to break 1,000 followers. It only took until September 11th for me to break 2,000 followers, and now, as of December 7th (a day that lives in infamy), I have 2,511 followers. I find that interesting to study but I don’t know what it means.
I think I will venture to explain its meaning: social media requires investment and time. Growing a social media profile is like growing a coral reef: after seeding the reef, there are so many things that need to happen before a reef blooms “in its own.” There are many things that can aid the reef: safety, cleanliness, warmth, nutrients, oxygenation, etc… however, one of the most important thing is time and commitment.
Social media cultivation makes most PR and marketing professionals cringe at the thought of trying to sell these solutions to their clients. A client generally wants metrics now and right away. Clients oftentimes spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a social network platform, a blog, or a spate of social media profiles that are world class and amazingly turned; however, when the six-month mark comes around and the community is not yet bustling, most clients get severe cold feet and oftentimes abandon all of the work-in (and money out) as a failed campaign — right before the reef blooms!
It kills me to see the number of corporate blogs, home-grown social networks, message boards, and social network profiles that are like those bare and barren rocks and wrecks that never in fact ever blossomed into an emergent community manifest in a coral reef. An ecosystem as delicate and hardy as any social media space, from Twitter to Facebook, from MySpace to your corporate blog.
I forgot to also add to the resources plus time equation: commitment, consistency, calmness, dedication, generosity, and compassion. When you invest in online community as much as I do (2,511 on Twitter with 11,200 tweets, 2,734 on Facebook, 1,496 on LinkedIn, and 5,321 posts on my blog, an online presence I have had since 1999, for example) then you need to be generous — give more than you take — and you need to be committed to the long term. You will need to learn what each community will allow, suffer, enjoy, or penalize. You will learn where the borders are and you will learn what works (and draws people in) and what doesn’t (making them flee).
Well, with no further ado, here’s a lot of work, time, creativity, hours, minutes, wit, mistake, missteps, business, play, Washington, Berlin, Slovakia, San Diego, and a hundred other places. If you want to have 2,500 followers and you’re not already famous, you’ll have to put in the work. If you can achieve tens of thousands of followers, you’re probably already somebody; in that case, it wasn’t just overnight: you just put in your licks elsewhere. Otherwise, put on those work-gloves and start working!
(Cross-posted from Chris Abraham – Because the Media is the Message)
- Chris Abraham was the 608,473rd person to sign up for twitter!
- Chris Abraham is ranked 843rd on twitterholic! (by followers)
- Chris Abraham is ranked 1st in their location on twitterholic!
Bio: Web strategist and new media guru and president of Abraham Harrison LLC, http://chrisabraham.com
Joined Twitter on 2007-01-06 14:51:39