Posts Tagged 'Twitter'

In defence of #duncansdream

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If you’ve not encountered #duncansdream on Twitter, the premise is for the followers of Duncan Bannatyne ~ entrepreneur and one of the Dragons ~ to become friends and follow one another.

It started with a tweet last Friday afternoon. This one from @DuncanBannatyne, to be precise:

I would like to #ff all of my followers so all you need do is start following each other then we will all have 90,000 follwers. Simples

This soon became #duncansdream thanks to @iancreek ~ and also became strangely addictive!

Normally, any tweets that say “do this and you’ll gain a billion followers in a nanosecond” make me want to retch ~ don’t these people realise we want to make real connections and not just pointlessly boost follower numbers? But when I stumbled upon #duncansdream, I found it interesting because I like Duncan Bannatyne and think, as a successful entrepreneur, he has a lot to impart. I figured others who followed him would likely be interesting people to get to know.

And I was right. Thanks to #duncansdream I’ve discovered some fantastic people, many of whom I may otherwise never have “met”. So, thanks, Duncan!

However, not everyone on Twitter has warmed to this hashtag. I understand why people dislike the “follow me and I’ll follow back” approach some people have taken to #duncansdream ~ and, although the original tweet was about all Duncan’s followers following one another in a bid to reach 90,000 followers, for me #duncansdream is about connecting with new and interesting people. I don’t want 90,000 followers just so I can say I’ve got 90,000 followers ~ if I ever reach that number, it’ll be because I’ve been fortunate enough to come into contact with so many interesting individuals. As Justin Hay wrote in his blog, in reference to those people who view #duncansdream purely in terms of numbers: This kind of behavior really does sadden me because I believe #DuncansDream is for more Twitter Users to interact with each other, make new friends and Network.

I couldn’t agree more.

Twitter is such a special place and should be treated as such. It’s for making connections not accumulating mammoth follower numbers.

For me, I love the banter of Twitter, the irreverent and irrelevant comments, the sharing, the endless information and news,  the RTs and #FFs (although I have to admit I’ve been hopeless recently when it comes to #FFs for my followers and I punish myself daily for this), and the endless possibilities. I’ve made some really good friends, gained new clients, and discovered exciting business opportunities through Twitter.

I absolutely love Twitter. I’ve met so many fantastic, talented, funny and kind people through this amazing social networking site, and every time I log on I’m excited to tweet old friends and curious about new people I might discover.

This is why I feel there’s no place for automated follows on Twitter. Doing this, defeats the entire point of Twitter ~ it’s all about engaging and sharing, and if you just follow people for the sake of it, there’s nothing to be gained from it. I always check a new follower’s bio and profile, reading recent tweets and looking at the website link to help me decide if this is someone I want to engage with. Sometimes, I miss new followers but the moment they begin to interact with me is the moment I start to follow.

To my mind, #duncansdream is just another way to connect with like-minded people and forge new friendships on Twitter. Having something in common ~ in this case, following Duncan Bannatyne ~ means there’s a chance you’ll click with your new followers, and if not, you can simply choose not to follow them.

And that’s why I think #duncansdream is brilliant ~ keep it personal and keep the dream alive! :0)

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Face Facts: Not all our Facebook friends are our friends

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Facebook is often in the news at the moment ~ whether it’s because of the site’s privacy policies or celebrities with accounts. Only yesterday, George W Bush created an account on the social networking site, gaining over 20,000 “likes” in the initial few hours, for example. So I’ve been reminded of an article I read on Times Online earlier this year, about the fact not all the people on Facebook who “like” us may actually like us.

A study conducted at Oxford University revealed that although we are inclined to amass huge numbers of friends on Facebook, in reality we are only friends with a small proportion of these people.

Carried out by Robin Dunbar, professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, the findings of the study support one of his earlier theories – “Dunbar’s number”. Developed in the 1990s, this theory claimed the size of our neocortex – the section of the brain that deals with language and conscious thought – restricts us in our management of friends. Regardless of how sociable we are, our neocortex ensures we only stay in frequent (at least once a year) contact with about 150 people.

The original study was conducted on various societies from Neolithic villages to contemporary offices and showed a breakdown in social cohesion as the social groups became too large.

Dunbar is now looking at social networking sites to see if these have increased our social groupings. So far, the results imply sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo have not affected how we conduct our social lives.

Dunbar said: “The interesting thing is that you can have 1,500 friends but when you actually look at traffic on sites, you see people maintain the same inner circle of around 150 people that we observe in the real world. People obviously like the kudos of having hundreds of friends but the reality is that they’re unlikely to be bigger than anyone else’s.”


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