I Admit I Have Tweep Envy

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

I admit. I have Tweep envy.  I try to tell myself that the size of my Twitter following doesn’t matter. But it matters.

I find myself staring at Ellen’s 4.8 million followers…or Gary Vaynerchuk’s 852,000 or Mari Smith’s 70,000 and I feel very small with my measly 1589 followers. I read a blog this week by my friend Hajj Flemings who points out the size of your following doesn’t matter. Right. Spoken like a guy with a 5,331 followers.

Now Hajj does make a valid point that the quality of your followers is more important than the number. I can rest easy knowing that every single one of my followers is top of the list, king of the hill, A number one. But still I can’t quite get over this hollow feeling that there just aren’t enough of them. I find myself waking up in the dead of night, logging on to Tweetdeck and jealously counting my followers like a guy on rogaine. I don’t even want to talk about what happens when I find I’ve lost a follower since going to bed.

I was actually doing fine, plodding along, picking up three or four followers a week until an article appeared in Broadcast & Cable magazine a couple of weeks ago listing America’s top local news Tweeters. I was actually interviewed for the article, which I thought was a pretty big deal until I read it.

“It’s a great way to mine stories,” says WXYZ Detroit anchor Stephen Clark, who has 1,500 followers.

That’s it. Mind you I’m not complaining. B & C is a huge publication in my industry and they spelled my name right. But did you notice how the reporter virtually mumbled my follower count? It’s almost as though he’s ashamed of it. And the reason is in the chart accompanying the article.  The top ten Tweeters in local news:

By the way, that blonde in the corner of the chart is not me. That is Amy Wood from South Carolina and she may seriously deranged. She is the undisputed queen of TV station Tweeters with more than 13-thousand followers but, apparently, no life.

So lets go down the list a little ways to get to my 1,500 followers. Oh! You mean I’m not on the list? And there’s my problem. I don’t even make the top ten. Although in fairness my 3,600 Tweets does put me at #4 on the list of most active Tweeters. But that is of little consolation.


The question is how do I get them? I’ve asked that question of several of the Tweeters I respect (in other words, those with HUGE numbers). Scott Monty has approximately 41,704 followers. He tells me you develop a following by consistently providing valuable and interesting content. That’s all fine but I suspect Scott is offering a free Ford Fiesta to every new follower.

Brandon Chesnutt says he got his 3,731 followers by getting to know his online neighbors. By listening.

See…there’s always a catch. I was hoping for some kind of secret hand shake. Or one of those “cheat codes” you get for “Grand Theft Auto”. But apparently if I want followers I’m going to have to work for them.

I’m having lunch today with Charlie Wollborg and his 7, 737 followers. I’ll take one last shot at asking him for some secret to getting followers.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll steal a few when he goes to the bathroom.


  1. Ann Nyberg says:

    Stephen…you can work thru this truly. The number of followers doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with the ones you have….

    • sclarkwxyz says:

      Sure Ann–spoken like someone with 3,194 followers (but who’s counting?). Actually I’m kidding (mostly). I plan to step it up to gain a quality following–I find I get as much (or more) out of it than I offer.

      You (and Amy) are both inspirations… I seriously don’t know where you guys get the time. I thought I didn’t sleep!

  2. Stephen,

    Very interesting post, I really appreciate you mentioning me. There are many artificial ways to increase followership in Twitter. I have seen people with over 17,000 followers and are on less than 20 list which is impossible or highly unlikely if the followers were grown organically. I have seen people with over 60,000 followers tell people to identify people in the same field follower 1,000 of there followers.

    If you follow large groups of followers thousands at a time you will probably get over 50% to follow you back and grow you numbers. I think you are approaching it the right way and will with some creativity you will be a trending topic.

    Stay the course.


    • sclarkwxyz says:

      Thanks for the tips. I hope people realize this is (mostly) tongue in cheek. But I do see people putting a premium on numbers. I agree with you a small, quality following is much preferable. I’m thinking of withdrawing my name from @aplusk… I’m just not getting much out of that 🙂

  3. Ari B. Adler says:


    It’s not the number of followers that matters but the number of followers who are engaged. Still, I totally understand your follower envy. The best advice I can give you is to be a good tweeter and the followers will appear.

  4. One of the things I’ve noticed is that following people back is important. You’ll see that most people with thousands of followers actually do this, with the exception of mega celebrities. It kind of sucks because you have to give up that customized feed, I mean, who wants to follow thousands of people? Regardless I’d be happy to start following you today and do a few mentions/retweets. There’s nothing better than having a local personality that isn’t afraid of some transparency.

    • sclarkwxyz says:

      I discovered that a few weeks ago…I follow everyone who follows me now– and I’m trying to catch up on the ones I didn’t. thanks for reading– and thanks for the tips.

  5. Scott Bowman says:

    Who’s this TvAmy? She’s probably cheating. We’ll fix it.

    1) First, hire a bunch of interns. You don’t have to pay them; Coffee is all they need.

    2) Next, sabotage the audio equipment just before the next broadcast. Nothing permanent. Just unplug the big red cord that says “Do Not Unplug”. If you get caught, blame Dave Rexroth, since he’s still not on Twitter.

    3) Since the show *Always* has to go on, offer to tweet the whole broadcast. Can’t type that fast? Ya, that’s what the interns are for. (Amp up the caffeine)

    4) Make sure your tweeting from your account, and that all the tweets scroll on the screen.

    Viola! Unprecedented Twitter exposure. People will follow you in droves.

    Congratulations… errr, … Uh-ho. Kinda looks like your losing followers. Sorry ’bout that.


  6. Eric Brown says:

    Hey Stephan,
    I appreciate your directness here, and anyone who says the numbers don’t matter haven’t tried selling stuff lately. The numbers do matter, and they have always mattered. He/She with the most chips has an advantage, and typically sells more stuff.

    All that being said, as other herein have commented, quality is pretty important. But also a regular exercise of Expanding Your Digital Footprint is in order. Consistent mining has a favorable yield.

  7. I love twiiter. Actually my nickname on there is called The ReTweet QUEEN,,,, plus. I have a few famous people who follow me & leave me comments, Kathy Ireland, Mariel Hemingway, Tom Cruise, Sony Pictures and a few more… I must be doing something right… LOL LOL

    Even though I am currently only following 701 (including you)
    and my follwers are only 634 (give or take on any given day)

    I feel I am in touch with those I communicate with & we have had a few TWEET-UPS (where you meet in person for lunch). Its quite fun & you get to meet those you have been talking to for a while, Plus take a few pictures & share with the rest of the Tweeters.

    Feel free to send any followers my way, LOL.. and of course don’t forget your follow friday suggestions, that helps increase numbers.

    I do not sit online all day as it may seem with as many tweets as I do, I use Twaitter a FREE program that works with your twitter account & schedule my tweets through out the day. Plus set my follow friday recommendations up ahead of time to re-tweet every friday & add new tweets as needed.

    Feel free to contact me if you need any help doing this for your music, etc.

    ANYONE, feel free to follow me too

    • I know you’re kidding… but hell yeah for saying it! Haha, it’s a pretty funny piece, Stephen.
      Not enough people do admit that it DOES matter… even though we ALL look at it. It’s the first thing we look at when deciding whether to follow or not and when we engage or when we see a new person online… we all scope it.
      And it’s cool, b/c many of us don’t make decisions based on it, but it’s there, to not admit we acknowledge it is being over sensitive.
      A friend of ours in the Detroit community (I won’t say his name b/c he said it to me offline & I don’t know if he wants it out there) called it “the size of your digital d*ck. Everybody’s looking to see whose is bigger.”

  8. melissa says:

    and now i’m singing new york, new york. thanks. a. lot.
    i have around 3500 of my closest friends following me. yeah, i’m kind of a big deal. i kid, i kid.
    does it really matter? if it does, that stinks and i quit.

  9. Tim Johnson says:

    There are ‘cheat code’ if you call then that, go to ‘http://www.myfollowfriends.com/’ and they should do the rest for you. I don’t know if it does work, but anyway, it’s worth a shot. 🙂

  10. jamiefavreau says:

    I got mine through my love of the NHL and participating in Journchat which you should participate sometime. It is an online chat for journalists, bloggers and public relations professionals on Monday Nights between 9-11p. By interacting with people in your industry you gain followers as well. Plus, there is Blogchat on Sunday nights from 8-10 p.m. I think in EST.

    If you follow your interests your followers will follow. That is how I built my community based on the NHL, Social Media and the Red Wings plus a bit of Detroit thrown in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s