Monday 21 April 2008

Follow You Will You Follow Me?

The overwhelming success of Twitter leaves many of us swirling in its twitertwhirlious wake. I’ve been a member for about a year and half and find it still ranks highest amongst my daily habits.

The Word “Follower”

“I will follow you will follow me” – Phil Collins

I also realize that I am now either a very persuasive cult leader or am being stalked by close to 1,890 people.

To the point, I’m mostly bewildered by the “Follower” concept. Since Twitter has been around, the term “follower” has been applied to thousands upon thousands of people who simply read other people’s Twitter streams.

The word “follower” however, bears a bit more weight and consideration. The simple Twitter interface tells us who is “follower” to our Twitters. You can compare this with who you are “following” and a finely tuned interface will tell you who follows you, leaving all of us confused as to whether leading or following bears more persuasion.

I’ll beg the question

If you are a leader, are you a follower also?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 18:02 | Comments (29)

Comments (29)

  1. I was taught that if you don’t know how to follow, you’ll never be able to lead.

  2. Maybe it could be thought of more in the context of conversations and thought rather then follower in the sense of “Followers, drink the Kool-Aid”. It is common for people listening to anothers words in a conversation to say something like, “I follow you” or for the person speaking to ask, “do you follow me?”

    In those cases, it seems “follow” is meant to convey something close to “understanding” but I think it also is meant as “Are you riding along with me on this stream of consciousness that I’m attempting to put into words?” And Twitter is definitely a continuous stream of the Twitterer’s consciousness. When people “follow” on Twitter, they are just along for the ride.

  3. If the followed starts to follow their follower – is it called a ‘follow-through’?


  4. Your post made 62 years of experience as what others called a person with the potential to lead fall into sharp awareness of a recent need to tread the valley of compassion and a desire to nurture…

    Check out the first ten links on Google for the two words “leader” + “follower” [just the words on the search page could be an outline for a discourse]:

    Future Positive : Leader-Follower
    Leader presumes follower. Follower presumes choice. One who is coerced to the purposes, objectives, or preferences of another is not a follower in any true …$173 – 24k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    Concepts of Leadership
    Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader who determines if a leader is successful. If they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, … – 33k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    The New Face of Leadership: Implications for Higher Education
    Typically there is more than one follower and more than one leader in this arrangement. (3) Leaders and followers intend real changes. … – 15k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    Courageous Followers, Courageous Leaders – New Relationships for …
    Traditional leadership theory puts the responsibility for the leader-follower relationship with the leader. In my observation, it often works the other way … – 15k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    The Leader-Follower
    A Leader-Follower can always be helped by good examples and role models. However, as this edge of the tetrahedral model “A Vision of Leadership for … – 86k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    Article 582 – Leader-Follower Dynamics
    The challenge for the courageous follower is to maintain a genuine relationship with the leader, not the pseudorelationship of the sycophant. … – 39k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    YouTube – Leader-follower team of robot
    Example of leader-follower team of robot, where the leader is …
    Watch video
    – 1 min 3 sec –
    Rated 0.0 out of 5.0

    The Leader-Follower loop
    Leaders and followers often dance around each other, influencing each other in subtle ways. – 21k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    If we can understand this, then we will be a long way down the road to creating those followers and hence becoming an effective leader. … – 20k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    More results from Β»
    Are You A Leader or Follower? Your Horoscope Can Tell You
    Do you have the horoscope of a born leader or a follower? Your birth-chart clearly indicates which. – 30k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this – Filter – Save – History

    ~ Alex

  5. Weird! I was just thinkin’ bout the same thing! Kinda!

  6. Hey Mr. Speaker: I’m now following YOU!

  7. To answer your question, I wouldn’t call myself either leader or follower; when I lead it’s by example as a matter of course, but most of the time I’m more of a loner tom.

    Another thing that jumps immediately to mind – and the principal reason why I’ve never attached significance to Twitter’s use of the word “follow” – is that the attribution in question has always felt to me like it applies more to what’s written, rather than to the author of the verbiage at hand. I’m seeing a direct object where you see an indirect object, if you will.

    Finally off, a prog-rock-whore nitpick raised as its author listens to the Disturbed cover of “Land of Confusion” (I s–t you not)…

    The lyrics in question were from the first huge hit single Genesis had after Peter Gabriel left ’em… now given that Genesis’ songwriting process was typically collaborative, I can’t say one way or the other if Phil Collins was the principal contributor to “Follow You Follow Me.” Thus my brain screamed “misattribution!” when I first read the entry. (I think I’m going to listen to And Then There Were Three… after I finish listening to Ten Thousand Fists. Hmm. Yes, I own both of them. I am such a nrrd.)


  8. I see the ‘follow’ on Twitter more of a following of stories…? Like followig someone’s daily life stories – if that doesn’t sound too creepy (though I’m following you, Molly, I”m not a stalker πŸ˜‰ trust me πŸ™‚

    Also, thinking I might just follow Ben here and listen to some some Disturbed now πŸ˜‰

  9. You’re following me, following you. Endless cycle of doom!

  10. A popular leader is one who follows. A good leader is one who sets the pace and the direction.

    As an individual, I follow no one. But I keenly follow the stories of the various leaders – both supposed, and real. The latter being astonishingly difficult to find in this media-conscious age.

    I’m not sure why Twitter conflates reading and providing commentary with “following”. Further evidence, I suppose, that it’s more about addiction than actual communication.

    Carolyn Ann

  11. To quote the wrong lyricist (compared with the b’day presents you sent me β€” which I am thankful for):

    If you walk away, walk away
    I walk away, walk away
    I will follow.

    With regards to twitter though, I just avoid following many people. I couldn’t manage to follow the 68 odd people following me.

  12. Molly, I’ve also spent some time thinking about this subject (, and I find that following people who are genuinely interested in you (“legitimate” followers, if you will πŸ™‚ ), and who are themselves interesting *to* you, is the best way to go. It’s also manageable. I never feel the need to follow the “stamp collectors”– those who’ve chosen to follow 5000+. Can one *really* follow the goings on of that many people? That’s not their goal. Nor is it mine.

  13. Sorry I don’t follow you at all Molly. πŸ™‚

    While I kind of get the Twitter phenomenon I really don’t buy into it. I see it as noise. A virtual stalking tool that generally produces low quality communication very often. But that’s just me.

    And I’ve never been really good at following… my cult membership card expired in the 80’s sometime.

    We should have a “NO TWITTER” Day! Hey we could all enjoy the silence. Followers free yourselves!!!!

  14. Of course I might just be a slow adopter – Michael Arrington’s post today says he can’t live without Twitter and its a great communication and marketing tool…

    I guess one person’s noise is the next person’s loud speaker… πŸ™‚

  15. I love that Twitter calls it ‘following’ and didn’t use ‘add this person as a friend’ – though many I follow and become friends eventually. (And I just started following you!)

  16. Ok, I confess, I’m one of those 1,890 ‘stalkers’ of yours, Molly πŸ˜€

    I only just signed up with Twitter last week. I’m not a blogger, seemed rather silly at first, but the idea that I can sort of connect with family members and friends that are all over the US intrigued me. I’m also a web designer and web standards ‘evangelist’, and I’ve been ‘following’ you on the web for a number of years. I saw you mention Twitter, so you were the first one on my list of follow-ees. I also found others who are major leaders in the web world to follow – Eric Meyer, Stephanie Sullivan, Tantek, Dan Cedarholm and a few others. Stalking ? Naaah… just interested in what goes on in the minds of people I’ve admired and “followed” in so many other ways for more than 10 years :).

  17. Steven: I signed up last week to actually give it a ‘trial’ run. It might be okay (great even?) for some people, but it hasn’t worked out for me…I got bored very quickly with it. Then it got plagued by technical problems this week (which was just unfortunate timing!) and it really hasn’t impressed me at all…so I’ve deleted my profile now.

  18. I’ve been blocking a lot of “followers” recently. It feels strange to cull so many, but most were spammers. It was a case of the blind leading the blind.

    I notice that 4 days later you now have 1,947 followers. Maybe you are a very persuasive cult leader after all. All hail the great Molly! πŸ˜‰

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  20. Ahhh, the flock of ‘twittering’ sheep.

    I love the life of the repel, the revolutionist, the one who codes from the opposite perspective, the spy and the one (maybe a quite a few) who see the possible reality over the horizon.

    Isn’t it great to live as individuals in the mass of humanity who are all connected by the very fabric of the material universe.

    Think, Speak and Imagine and the future becomes ever more beautiful. You are what you think!

  21. I think everyone is at some point in time a leader and a follower. The very idea of leading and following are co-dependent. So it might be said that whether we are “leaders” or “followers” we are all just co-dependents πŸ™‚

  22. A clever leader will realize that he or she is, in all actuality, just following someone who’s too far ahead to be easily recognizable.

  23. Thank you for this fine article

  24. I guess I get to be the first vegetarian to post.

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