Twitter Bug: Size of the Vessel or Motion in the Ocean

I’m not keeping score, but apparently a lot of folks in the Twitterverse are. After hacker’s found a way to exploit Twitter into forcing anyone to follow them, Twitter responded to the bug by temporarily resetting all following and follower counts to zero until they could sort things out. For an official overview of the situation, check out Twitter’s blog post. The resulting Twitter stream was a mix of satisfaction, shock, humor and a bit of paranoia.

“0 Following 0 Followers = DOOMSDAY!” @danschawbel

“Hey Twitter, Can We Have Our 1.4 Million Followers Back?” @techcrunch

“Is Twitter lowering a containment dome over the follower bug, or are they drilling a relief well?” @mariancw

“Woah! Apparently my adventures into social media are being resisted, I’ve lost my fledgling follower base! (Yes, I know its a bug) @chidaywalker

“Awesome! Twitter bug leads to follower wipeout” @billgaffney

After seeing these tweets, it is obvious that for some Tweeps size definitely matters. The important thing to remember is that the actual potential to engage & interact on Twitter did not actually change while they resolved the bug. You could still see all the Tweets from those you follow, and those who follow you could still see all of your Tweets. You could still reply and re-tweet. The only thing you couldn’t do was send a direct message to followers.

The Twitter bug helped me to confirm what I already believed to be true, “On Twitter it is not the size of the vessel (number of followers) but the motion (engagement & interaction) in the ocean”. To be fair, I’m fairly new to Twitter so I haven’t had time to build a massive following. However, I’ve been around long enough to know that there are ways for me to quickly augment my following without expending too much effort. But, this is not the reason I joined Twitter. In fact, I often block those who are simply interested in building a large number of untargeted followers knowing that if I follow back, the stream or direct message spam is sure to follow.

For me, the decision to join Twitter was to form a foundation for discussion between employers, career service professionals, and job seekers (specifically college students) around the challenges & benefits of social recruiting. Since social recruiting is an emerging topic, it is important for me to connect with people who are interesting in really digging into the topic by questioning the underlying assumptions and figuring out how best these new tools can make the recruiting process more efficient and effective.

Since joining I’ve found Twitter to be exceptional in helping me achieve this goal. From engaging with people who are not yet convinced of the merits of social recruiting to those who enthusiastically embrace these new tools, both types of conversations have aided my growth in this area. In fact, I’ve found myself honored and humbled by the willingness of the community to share thoughts and ideas with a newbie. So, while it might be nice to have thousands of followers, I’m not sure that I would enjoy the experience as much.

–Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)


About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. Our solution integrates social media, real-time web-based communication, and intelligent analytics to enable employers and students to discover, interact, and connect with each other.


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