How And Why You Want More Followers

The Connectivist spoke to social media experts to tell you how to honestly boost your social media presence without reaching for your wallet.

If you’ve got eight bucks to spare, this is the easiest way to boost your Twitter following. It’ll get you 1,000 new followers for 90 days guaranteed within just a few clicks of the mouse. It seems like a lot of people might be using this cheat technique.

 journalists began enlightening users on how to share information

But how and why did we get to a point where we were prepared to part with our hard earned cash just to pimp our profiles? The issue has become so pressing that people are even willing to dispense with hundreds of dollars to look more popular. Social media experts say it’s because those numbers matter beyond the virtual world–they tap into the human need to be liked.

Social media has evolved over several decades, dating back to the 1970’s with the BBS boom (short for Bulletin Board System) and winding its way up through mediums like AOL Online,, Friendster, Xanga, and MySpace to the likes of today’s LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Henry Kautz, Chair of the University of Rochester’s computer science department, says that social media the kind of communication that is inevitable in a growing technological society.

“It’s ego! What else?”

“My own research has focused on where social media meets the real physical world,” says Kautz. “You definitely see that it’s not just being used for distant friends. You can clearly see the patterns of a group of people who ‘friended’ each other socially but then they’re going to the same places together.”

He says his findings indicate that people aren’t solely focused on social media reputations to merely boost their online prowess; rather it’s just one part of a wider concept of overall ‘social success’–and that matters in both the real and virtual worlds. Experts say there was a slow but evident shift in the way that social media has been used–first for strictly personal, social means and soon after for a place to market, advertise and reach out to consumers and buyers. Bora Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American and social media guru, says the change came when journalists pitched in.

“Everybody likes to be heard”

Zivkovic says that people used to (and some still do) “do is what’s called ‘life-casting’ and that’s basically broadcasting your life.” But journalists introduced what’s called “mind-casting.” Social media became a place where people post an article or an idea and allow people to share and respond to that idea and create an entirely new article made of collaborative commentary. In this way, Zivkovic says journalists began enlightening users on how to share information, interviews, and updates that others might be interested in. And in doing so it opened the door for users to communicate even further, to be able to share their thoughts and perspectives by mimicking journalistic tactics.

As sharing information became more prominent within a community that relied on connections and relationships to thrive, Zivkovic said it was only natural that the number of connections became the primary currency for perceived success.

What’s driving our obsessions with the number of followers we’ve garnered? “It’s ego! What else?” says Zivkovic. “Everybody likes to be heard and have their opinions are heard by other people.” Thus were born all those annoying users making up sad stories about sick cousins in order to garner celebrity retweets. So if you have money to fritter away on buying followers, it’s a fine way to artificially boost your online reputation. But if you want to earn them yourself, connecting with friends and followers with your own content and perspective, then Zivkovic offers a more organic and honest way to go about it in 5 easy steps.

Bora’s Top 5 Tactics to Success on Social Media:

useful 1. Be useful – You have to be useful, so build a name for yourself by focusing on a particular topic or a particular area and then tweet relevant information and stories. You can build your reputation so people say ‘okay, this is the person who knows everything about this’–you become the go-to person for that topic. Focus rather than being broad. friendly 2. Be friendly – This might sound like a no-brainer but studies have shown that social media users tend to be more bold and rude to other users than they would be face to face. Don’t fall for the false sense of security that a computer screen gives–you can offend people just as easily as in reality. There are people who are respected on social media, even though they don’t really do anything else in public, just by being friendly and useful and chatty and good at what they’re doing. selfless 3. Be selfless – Tweet links to your posts, articles, and whatever but also post links to other independent blogs and articles and wires and the national geographic or wherever. It’s not just about self-promotion. Self-promotion is fine on social media and it can be shameless but it can’t be the only thing that you do. If that’s the only thing you do, nobody will follow you. interactive 4. Be interactive – Putting the links in social media reaches people who are not actively seeking content about things. All kinds of people who are not actively looking for science are going to be served science. They’ll click on those links and they’ll say, ‘Whoa this is interesting’.” human 5. Be a human – People get into fights in Twitter and on Facebook (I try not to but it occasionally happens) and so just try to remember that there are fellow humans behind those handles and you should treat them as such.