What value do famous names bring to Twitter?

Even though it wasn’t really that long ago the recent race between Aston Kutcher and CNN for the first million followers has pretty much passed on to being nothing more than Twitter lore now. From Twitter’s point of view though it could do with as many of those kind of stories as possible. That is because Twitter needs to keep itself out there in front of the mainstream folks.

They need the Oprah’s and Ellen’s joining and pushing their fans to join. For Twitter numbers are their lifeblood and the only thing that adds any value to the company. For the users though one has to really wonder what value all these famous names are really adding to the service.

Whether or not Twitter likes to admit it or not it is still part of the larger Web ecosphere and because of that it still needs to rely on the link economy that drives other things like blogs and makes them popular, and in some cases profitable. The link economy is an integral part of the Web. It is in many ways the lifeblood that keeps the Web growing.

As much as Twitter might like the press that people like Kutcher, Oprah, and other ‘famous’ people bring to the service does their link juice have the same traffic promotion as people who have worked to build up real communities on Twitter?

This was a question that Chris Pirillo asked in a post yesterday and the answer may surprise you

You know we had to discuss Twitter, and the whole Ashton Kutcher trying to get to one million. He didn’t send as much flow as I thought he would have with as many followers as he has. Ashton linked to a video of mine, and I was shocked to find out that I didn’t get much flowback from that. I see people who have a large amount of followers, but have no flow like that. They don’t get clicks, or re-tweets. But with our community, they’re just crazy about sending things out, clicking on links I share, and re-tweeting things they find impressive or interesting.

Now there isn’t anyone out there in the tech ecosphere who works harder at community building than Chris. He is always trying new and interesting things which only seems to increase the community that has developed around him. So if he finds that these so-called famous people aren’t adding anything of real value to his community I would suggest that this could pretty well apply to all of us.

Famous people aren’t going to make your community any better than what it is and time spent trying to curry their attention would be better spent on building what you already. As Chris says

This goes to show that it’s not about the number of followers you have. It has to do with your gravitational pull, so to speak. It has to do with how much weight you pull. I work very hard to make sure that what I say has relevance (for the most part), and that I post something that is valid and interesting that will add value to my Twitter stream… and to my follower’s streams, as well.

Consider it this way – you are already famous. You are famous to the people who make up your community so make them feel like their efforts are worth something. Let them know they are important to you. don’t worry about the famous people they’ll fade away when this stuff isn’t fun any more but your community will always be there.

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