Yesterday I was followed by @urlofcork who became my 1,000th follower on Twitter - there has been a big jump in the number of followers since I started tweeting recently about the Wild Atlantic Way. Twopcharts.com keeps track of all twitter accounts and is a mine of information about all things in Tweetland. My own current stats are as follows:
At the time of writing there are 19,026 Twitter accounts in Ireland with (not surprisingly) rugby player Brian O'Driscoll at the top of the Irish charts with 401,926 followers, which is almost twice as many as U2 (209,405) who are in third place. Incidentally I am "bubbling under" the Top Ten at 4,715th position.
Looking through some of the 1,002 Twitter accounts that follow mine I have to say I have no idea who most of them are. I'd guess I have actually only met a tiny fraction of followers, and that this is the same for everybody else. I wonder how many of his 401,926 followers does BOD personally know?
Not knowing who your followers are puts us in an era where we will interact with people we have never, or will never, meet. Previously perhaps book authors, journalists, and TV/radio folks would have been "followed" by people they never met - now we are all at it. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I do predict that one day everybody in the world will be connected on-line in some way - the tools to do this have not yet been invented. There will be different levels of connection, perhaps something like Linkedin where I have 736 "connections" that somehow connect me to "7,827,629+ professionals" - that's 7.8 million people!!! (if I were to count to this number non-stop it would take 90 days). What does it mean to have this modest (in Linkedin terms) number of people in my network? Certainly the word "network" now has a different meaning.