Robert Scoble
I am tracking people on Twitter's SUL like @timoreilly. They can't get people to follow them on Facebook or FriendFeed. Here's analysis:
Tim has 617,000 followers on Twitter -- almost all gained because he is on the suggested user list. But he only has 10,000 followers on FriendFeed. TechCrunch has almost the same pattern. Why is this? - Robert Scoble
They can't get people to follow them because the people who added them are not really listening and impressionable. - Louis Gray
You have to be engaged and interactive to have influence. - Louis Gray
It's what I was hinting at this morning. Most of the users on Twitter don't actually take action or DO anything. They aren't followers. They aren't listening. They aren't engaged. So these audiences can't be transfered anywhere else. - Robert Scoble
Twitter is Revolution! Yay Twitter! - Steven E. Streight
This is Twitter's true lock in. - Robert Scoble
Could it also be that they never talk about Friendfeed or Facebook while on Twitter and therefore no one knows that they're actually here? - Kenton
Yeah, Twitter has turned into more micro-rss for me versus conversational. - Tony
Why would any freedom loving person NOT have a green avatar? - Steven E. Streight
617,000, but how many of those are active users? I'd imagine 50% or more are one time users, dead accounts - sean percival
It's all about narcissism for most people unfortunately. - Steven E. Streight
It's impossible for anybody to have 617,000 followers on Friendfeed, because that's about double the active network size. ;) - Shéa Bennett
Shea: very funny! - Robert Scoble
Kenton, That's it for me. I follow Tim on Twitter, actually find him very engaged there, but didn't automatically assume he was on FB and FF. Now I will - Francine Hardaway
I hate FaceBook - Steven E. Streight
also the chance of someone responding on a sul is higher on friendfeed that is on twitter - Kashif Khan
Shea: the problem with your thesis is that it holds true on Facebook. I have more fans there than TechCrunch does. - Robert Scoble
Also, if you only ever re-tweet instead of putting up original content your followers are going to tend to be more passive. - Kenton
how about them dopey Positive Affirmation tweeters? Ugh! - Steven E. Streight
If I want inspirational quotes, I'll open a Bible thank you. - Steven E. Streight
Kenton: that's true too, but TechCrunch puts up original content and he has fewer followers on Facebook than I do (and I post almost NOTHING on Facebook). - Robert Scoble
This is the very basic definition of following, you don't act, you follow. If you want to engage people, you need a community, which twitter can help you to manage but won't do for you. @loic can make many people do something, he has influence, because he built a community, not because he has followers. - Jonathan Belgourari
Jonathan: yup and Guy Kawasaki has a lot more influence than I do and he neither is on Twitter's SUL and he doesn't even write all his own Tweets (he admits he has a team writing them). - Robert Scoble
if you have a lot of followers interaction is very limited. You miss out on so much when you hit the refresh page when you have followers . Im guessing after many attempts of trying to communicate and not receiving anything back ppl quit - Kashif Khan
Jonathan: I call that a "reader" or a "consumer" then, not a follower. Followers do what you ask them to do. :-) - Robert Scoble
Went and looked for him on FB. Not even a photo? Does he hang out there? - Francine Hardaway
on a much smaller scale I've looked at overlaps between my twitter (3000) fb (900) ff (800); there seems to be about 300 people who are common to all three, the rest choose where and how to interact with me. I tend to think of the 300 as my "digital dunbar number". - JP Rangaswami
Kashif: I interact here with almost everyone and I have 42,000 followers here. - Robert Scoble
good point Robert, I don't really consider Facebook a place to go for information like that so I had only really considered Friendfeed. - Kenton
Twitter is a different medium to the others, Robert. It's a lot less of a commitment to follow somebody on that network. FF has a relatively tiny user base so a comparison there is apples and oranges. Facebook for the majority is still less about following *anybody* and more about following people you know and trust. Why? Because you're giving away a lot of yourself each time you add somebody you don't know. Twitter has almost zero security risk. Unless you're a celebrity, and I'd argue you're more well-known than Tim (and certainly more proactive), you're always going to be up against it on FB. - Shéa Bennett
Alex: heheh. I'm not the only insane one. - Robert Scoble
but where is interacting easier , twitter or friendfeed ? - Kashif Khan
Shea: the truth about Twitter is that many people check it out for a few minutes and then never return to the service. Or if they do return, they do so very sporadically. Over here or on Facebook the audiences are much more engaged. - Robert Scoble
imagine having to track this same conversation using twitters web interface and not having tweetdeck or seismic to help you out - Kashif Khan
Robert: I keep hearing that but I'm very engaged with my network. And I regularly remove the people who I feel don't make any kind of an effort. It's all about keeping things relative. - Shéa Bennett
Shea: the other truth about the Suggested User List is these are not organic followers. They are people who opened an account and clicked "add all the suggested users." Before Tim and Mashable and TechCrunch were added to that list I had more followers on Twitter. So did Leo Laporte. So did Guy Kawasaki. So, most of those newer followers that Tim and Mike got by being on the SUL aren't strong followers. That's why they aren't very engaged. - Robert Scoble
I agree re: Twitter - they check it out and then leave - the follow and forget methodology. I guess the real measure of how interactive his followers are would be to request that they do something (click a link, etc.) In reality, if he got 1/10 of 1% to do anything, I'd be impressed. - Jeff Pomeroy
You also have to remember that the majority of FB's 200 million users are non-techy people, many of whom see FB *as* the internet, not just a product of it. I think Twitter's audience is maturer (in terms of average age, as well as content) and less interesting in bells and whistles (videos, music etc). - Shéa Bennett
Jeff: what got Twitter to be so cool is engagedment USED to be a lot higher than 1/10th of 1% for everyone. Now it has gone down. - Robert Scoble
I have no disagreement at all about the SUL. I've written several articles about it on Twittercism. It needs to be scrapped or totally revamped. And yeah, a lot of the followers folk get from being on the SUL are very casual users, assuming they return at all. - Shéa Bennett
Shea: I totally disagree with that thesis. I did a survey of 600 Web innovators, influencers, and press. About 85% are on all three social networks (Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook). And many of those are participating more on Facebook than on Twitter lately. Why is that? - Robert Scoble
Alex: I blocked spymaster. :-) - Robert Scoble
Maybe they are participating on Facebook more because they can truly control who sees what when they have their discussions. Twitter allows a lot of 'noise' to occur from unknown followers when these people are trying to communicate amongst themselves. Maybe Facebook or Friendfeed is just the better medium for those types of interactions. - Jeff Pomeroy
Robert: Which thesis? Blasted Friendfeed and its lack of threaded comments. ;) - Shéa Bennett
even on FB its easier to track conversations - Kashif Khan
As for why your list are involved more on FB than Twitter, I have no idea. But 600 from either network is still a very small sample. I'm confused how these folk are actually "participating" on FB, too. Specifically, what does that word mean on that network? What do they do? My experience is that over half of my followers go ballistic if I update my status on FB more than about 15-20 times per day. And I'm *very* selective to make sure it's only the good stuff. :) - Shéa Bennett
It is personality vs brand. You Robert, Jason Calacanis, Leo Lapporte, are personalities before brand. We talk to you as real people. O'riley is brand before personality. We are not used to talking back to a brand unless we're miffed about something. It is just not normal. For instance today when you asked my question at the #hpreveal thing it cought them off guard and totally blew me away because I would never imagine being able to dialog with a company like that however valid or interesting my question was. - Ron Hudson
Ron: good point. The real answer is that Twitter totally messed with the system by choosing its own "stars" instead of letting the real stars organically bubble up to the top. Since O'Reilly and Arrington are "chosen stars" their followers aren't strong followers like the ones that they got organically. Even Arrington admits this in analysis. - Robert Scoble
I totally agree with Ron about that. That's what I love about FF and Twitter - it's the first time that we've had anything like a level playing field for discourse. And the ones who don't engage now stand out like sore thumbs. - Shéa Bennett
I always love it when somebody has 40,000 followers but is following 40 people. What a waste. Why even engage? You, Robert have almost as many followers as followees. - Curt Mercadante
for me it seems that given his lopsided ratio, it gives the impression that he is not truly interactive but rather broadcasting and waiting for feedback. - Eran Even-Kesef
An engaged audience is built slowly, not quickly - Jesse Stay
So now when a new user gets on Twitter they see the same reinforced message from everywhere else. "These are people/brands you should LISTEN to" It is not "These are people to get to know and have conversation with" - Ron Hudson
Robert, wouldn't the organic SUL just be the top 100 most-followed? Which even before the SUL got going wasn't exactly a bastion of quality. All Twitter needs to do is mix things up - when I sign up (or check the SUL at any time), the service should give me X of its own recommendations, and the same amount that are tailored to me by my own interests. Of course, for this to really work we need a richer profile, which I would propose can be made public or private. I'm also not adverse to selling impressions on the SUL, like banner advertisements. At least that way it's relatively honest. And open to all. - Shéa Bennett
Curt: lots of people use these things for broadcasting. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I do prefer to follow people who engage. - Robert Scoble
Hey Louis Gray are you anti-SUL like many of us in this thread? - Mark
I followed @timoreilly for a while on twitter, but didn't find him interesting enough to keep following. It's true that @GuyKawasaki doesn't write all his own tweets, but I like them and look forward to them (if one of his ladies have written the tweet they will have their initials at the end of it.) I follow you, Robert, because I like your tweets too. I will follow anyone who follows me as long as they are a real person and they aren't trying to sell me something that I'm not interested in. I think you are correct in your analysis that @timoreilly's followers aren't committed and he probably has a far bigger following than he would have naturally because many of his following recommendees are just too lazy to unfollow. - Andrew Jordan
Shea: I can see about 100 ways to build a useful SUL. The current SUL just serves @ev and @biz 's own egos and purposes. - Robert Scoble
Mark: just remember that Twitter has signaled to the world that anyone who begs to be on, or complains about the SUL will never get onto it. - Robert Scoble
Robert: I agree. Between us, if they added you overnight, would you ask to be removed? I suspect you would, and I know at least one other has. - Shéa Bennett
Robert: Why do you think you are not on the Twitter SUL? iJustine was on it (til she was removed) - yet no Scobleizer - It makes zero sense. - Jim Connolly
Shea: yes, I will ask to be removed. I know one person who removed himself too. (Jay Rosen, journalism professor). Why would I ask to be removed? Because it's a huge gift and one that I would feel I need to disclose every time I talk about Twitter. Look at how many times I'm asked whether I'm paid by FriendFeed. Well, everyone on the Suggested User List is being paid by Twitter. - Robert Scoble
This feels like irc without the useful tools like tab-auto-complete. I keep wanting to ssh out and open irssi. . . - Ron Hudson
Aw man, I miss IRC. - Jason Nunnelley
There's a group of people I follow on twitter not to be part of their conversation but to inform conversations I have with people I know. My friends/acquaintances don't use friendfeed so I have little use for it. Facebook I leave for friends/family and twitter/web forums are for acquaintances. - Jonathan
Jim: three reasons I have never been on Twitter's Suggested User List: 1. Technically I was difficult to put on the list before they got rid of the @ reply functionality (I was one of the 3% who turned that feature on). 2. I talk about FriendFeed all the time (I wouldn't add someone who talked about a competitor all the time to my service either). 3. I have had days when I'm too noisy and would overwhelm other celebrities and brands on such a page. But it's clear that I pissed in someone's Cheerios over there. - Robert Scoble
Does anyone know or have links to comments made by people on the SUL about the issue? - Mark
Robert: Thats a very honest and almost certainly accurate answer. - Jim Connolly
Mark: I've had some contact with @adventuregirl. - Shéa Bennett
There is a risk here of course regarding complaining about the SUL that one could easily be accused of sour grapes; that is, along the lines of, "How did THEY get on there, and not me?" Although I also suspect that the majority (the masses, if you will) on Twitter don't really care at all about things like the SUL, and are fairly blasé to the criticisms about it. I sincerely believe that like on all networks the bulk of users rarely venture beyond using the service for its general purpose, and tend not to get involved in the politics or technical side. I wonder perhaps if we overhype the 'threat' and inequality of such a list. - Shéa Bennett
Mark: honestly I've been following the SUL and other than when Veronica ripped me a new one for asking whether there was some sort of corruption to get on the list (big brands get on the list, for instance, and this list is totally corruptible because it is NOT a meritocracy) I can't remember ever hearing someone on the SUL discussing it in public. They know better because they are being gifted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of followers and they don't want to be removed. - Robert Scoble
Mark: It's REALLY hard getting answers from people like Veronica Belmont or Pete Cashmore. They are both really cool people, but neither have replied to anything I have asked them, in relation to their SUL places. It's like they have been gagged. - Jim Connolly
Shea: most people will not care, that's right, until they figure out they are peasants in a royalty system. Then they will seek out systems that are meritocracies. The tide is already moving. - Robert Scoble
Robert: To your earlier point re: Tim O'Reilly - if the SUL system is broken and really just a method whereby new twitter users follow & forget, are these people truly "being gifted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of followers"? - Jeff Pomeroy
I'm sure most of them don't wanna look a gift horse in the mouth. Is that the right metaphor? hehe - Mark
Hmm, I'm not sure Robert. Nobody seemed to leave FB when they were at risk of being sold out - the numbers just went up and up. I think the people who truly fight for this stuff are always in a real minority - they seem more prevalent because they're loud! :) I think most people drift away from social networks when they seem to have run their course, like MySpace. - Shéa Bennett
Jeff: yes, they are because they are now owning the top of lists at and other places. Also they are getting PR on TV shows worth many thousands of dollars (journalists love picking sources with huge numbers after their names). Finally: SOME of these followers DO engage. - Robert Scoble
Maybe Tim is too focused? he is not a chit chat BS guy enough to interest large amounts of people... Focus gives value but value that is high and very specific to certain (few) people. As you hinted Robert, value is not a matter of # of followers but of real impact /traction. People will listen and act more upon what is said on FF. FF is more value than traffic. - Harscoat
Maybe if a few dozen of us from this thread @reply the big players asking for a statement on their placw on SUL they will respond? - Mark
Scoble: I'm not sure they/we will seek out meritocracies. Like I said before it is not expected. I can go to crackberry forums or IRC if I want to be respected in a niche I think Facebook is more likely to draw people who want to be heard by their peers, because generally it is people you already have an established hierarchy of popularity with. It's high-school all over again. We tend to hang with our group and don't expect to be heard in others. - Ron Hudson
Don't get me wrong - folk will put their name on lists, and that kind of non-committal stuff. But when it comes to the crunch and, you know, actually quitting over change, they rarely do. - Shéa Bennett
Jeff: Yes they are, because most of them are selling some kind of advertising on their sites / blogs / podcasts etc. These are often sold on volume of eyeballs, and these will have increased by tens of thousands of percent after gaining all those Twitter followers. - Jim Connolly
"you did receive a gift. Advertising is sold by 1,000 viewers. Ask Ryan how much 1,000 people are worth. You did NOT earn that gift by any objective measure." - Rob Scoble, Feb 2009 - Mark
Mark: Unlikely. I think Robert is right - far too much to lose. Man, if they added me to the list, this time next week I'd be a millionaire! ;) - Shéa Bennett
Calacanis was widely quoted as saying a slot on the SUL was worth $250,000 US. - Jim Connolly
Robert: keep those threads coming, I get to follow good people on real-time, it's better than any Twitter SUL :) - Nir Ben Yona
Harscoat: I don't disagree a bit. Ron: good point about people not seeking out meritocracies. It does pollute the community, though, and people do figure that out eventually. If anything Facebook went the other way by limiting EVERYONE to 5,000. That brings celebrities down to everyone else's level, which builds good feelings and keeps marketers out. - Robert Scoble
Jim: It's worth far more than that. Mashable is close to 1 million followers. The account tweets about 15-20 times per day, most back to their own site. That network size is worth millions. TC isn't far behind, and is already saying Twitter is about 10% of their traffic. Jason's semi-serious offer was probably high at the time, but I think a spot on that list now over 12 months is worth easily a million bucks to a brand or power-blog. - Shéa Bennett
Bill: yup. Today I was talking with Alexander. He says that people will continue seeking out "smaller" spaces. My wife likes Facebook better than FriendFeed or Twitter for that reason: she feels it's the place where she can talk with just her circle of friends. - Robert Scoble
tidbit of info: spoke to someone last night (who shall remain nameless) that said they went up by >10k followers per day when they were put on the SUL. They still consider that their real follower numbers are closer to their organic growth rate. - Bill Sanders
I hope all the big players move to FF soon so I can stop visiting altogether. - Mark
I mean, $1/user that you can hit 15-20 times per day, 365 days a year, and if they unfollow, you're going to get another 40-50,000/week because you're on the SUL? I cannot believe Twitter doesn't monetize this feature. - Shéa Bennett
Shea: I think you are probably right - the numbers are insane and the SUL system is totally corrupt. - Jim Connolly
Robert, saying that people like me "can't build a following on Friendfeed" is silly. There are only so many networks that you can put time into. For whatever reason, I've chosen Twitter. You've chosen FriendFeed. The fact that I have 10,000 followers on FriendFeed is good news, given that I don't spend time here. Heck, I had 5,000 on Twitter when I started paying attention and using the service. - Tim O'Reilly
Thanks for coming Tim, do you agree with Robert that your SUL status is a "gift" and one in which makes it difficult for you to report on twitter honestly? - Mark
And for what it's worth, the SUL isn't very useful except for bragging rights. I had about 60K twitter followers when I went on the SUL; my peak click through-rate has perhaps doubled now that I have 10 times as many. Organic followers are what matters, except, as I say, for the media credibility that you get from people who don't know any better. - Tim O'Reilly
After all, the SUL is giving you lots of clicks, and clicks = page views and page views = dollars? - Mark
Tim: this post isn't only about you. But you must admit that you had fewer followers on Twitter than I did before you got added to the Suggested User List. You are getting gifted hundreds of thousands of followers per month. They aren't engaged. They won't do what you ask them to. Have you studied the hit rates the things you retweet are getting before and after getting on teh SUL? - Robert Scoble
Tim: You deserve to be on the SUL, but many of your SUL buddies don't. It really stinks, the way some of those names were added, and people like Leo Laporte and Scoble were blanked. - Jim Connolly
Mark - being on the Twitter SUL has absolutely no influence on what I do or do not report about Twitter. - Tim O'Reilly
Thanks, Tim x - Mark
Ahh, I see you have studied the hit rates and your observations match mine. These aren't "real" followers and they aren't engaged. Twitter did that to remove people they don't like from the top of the leaderboards (like Calacanis, Laporte, and me). - Robert Scoble
Is this about numbers (i.e. ratings and money) or is this about engagement? - Sawyer Training, Inc.
Incidentally, was iJustine removed from the SUL for something she said? Just wondering. I'd be interested to see if somebody on that list could be very critical about Twitter and stay on it. - Shéa Bennett
Tim is unsurprisingly savvy on the matter: "my peak click through-rate has perhaps doubled now that I have 10 times as many. Organic followers are what matters, except, as I say, for the media credibility that you get from people who don't know any better." In other words, organic followers are worth 10x more clicks/$$ than SUL followers. - Daniel J. Pritchett
Robert, did you recently share a Whisky with @Ev? What are the twitter bosses saying about the SUL and yoru complaints? - Mark
Tim: how do we know that, though? If you paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars per year I would need to disclose that to my audience and it would be very tough not to be influenced by that money you're paying me. Twitter is paying you a huge sum of money in followers and yet you say it has no influence on you. - Robert Scoble
Mark: I didn't bring it up with @ev (other than to make a small joke that he was building his own celebrities with the SUL, which he nervously smiled at). Why? Because I'd rather have these discussions out in public where you can see them and know that I'm not playing "footsie" with Twitter to get onto the list. - Robert Scoble
Sure it changes Tim's experience of the service and (at the least) doubles his direct financial rewards from the service but he's presumably not working on a word of mouth contract with them. The only way to be *completely* sure there's no conflict of interest would be for to block/redirect all direct or indirect clickthroughs from Twitter and I'm sure we can all agree that's not feasible. - Daniel J. Pritchett
That's just like the Robert we have known for a long time... - Amit Nangare
If this is about engagement consider that for me most of my engagement is "downstream" with my followers (who are few but important to me) rather than "upstream" where I look for trends, leads, and insights. I only interact upstream on rare occasions when I feel I might have something to add (and this may not be one of those times). - Sawyer Training, Inc.
Tim: It is impossible for you to be totally unbiased regarding Twitter, surely? - Jim Connolly
I like to think that after Robert had that whisky from Ev, his life spiralled out of control, a bit like something in Michael Douglas' The Game. Three days disappeared in a blur, and when he woke up, the only working login he had left was on Plurk. ;) - Shéa Bennett
It's impossible for any business to be completely unbiased regarding media outlets that cover/enable them, Jim. The best we can hope for is full disclosure, published conduct guidelines, and ombudsmen. - Daniel J. Pritchett from IM
Mark: also that wasn't an appropriate time socially. His wife was there, it wasn't an on the record type event, and it's not nice to be a jerk on a Saturday night. - Robert Scoble
Well I suppose twitter sends money to the SUL via followers, how is it it any different than Dell sending money to you via free laptops? - Mark
Daniel: We are talking about a 6 figure 'gift' from a company, to a group of people who write about that company. This is a really big deal. - Jim Connolly
@Shéa Bennett: Ijustine - man did that get old fast. That's what happens after 100 episodes of the same "yeah, yeah, you can ask ij" - Asgeir
Daniel: it's pretty hard to figure out that people are on the SUL. You have to have a new account and look every few days. Some people are building tracking systems to watch who is added and who is taken off (iJustine was on for a while but isn't anymore and she now is losing followers, if you watch the charts). Disclosure? People who are on this list don't see it as a gift. - Robert Scoble
Fair point, Rob x - Mark
It's simply a matter of scale, Jim. There is no realistic way for Tim to remain completely objective aside from eschewing Twitter altogether. As long as he is above board re: his dealings with Twitter that's really all that anyone can expect of him. - Daniel J. Pritchett from IM
Mark: if I take gifts I disclose it. I'd rather have the followers the SUL gives someone than a free laptop. A laptop is only worth $2,000. Getting on the SUL is worth many many more times that. - Robert Scoble
when i said "you", i didnt mean any of you in particular with the laptops - Mark
"you" just sounds better than "one" - how english of me - Mark
Good point, Robert. Perhaps Twitter should make it super obvious that people are on the SUL. It *would* be nice if text from SUL tweeters was visually distinguishable from regular tweeters so that we could know to (not) pay attention to it as per our preferences. - Daniel J. Pritchett from IM
One respectfully disagrees :) - Ian Betteridge
Regarding iJustine, I'm guessing she was pulled from the SUL early May? Check the chart: If that date correlates, that probably says all we need to know about the benefits. - Shéa Bennett
Robert - do you think all Twitter-related content published by SULers should include a boilerplate disclaimer such as "BTW I get zillions of clicks through Twitter's preferential treatment" at the top of every story? - Daniel J. Pritchett from IM
Daniel: at Steve Broback's Twitter Conference the Twitter employees were visibly uncomfortable talking about the SUL. It's interesting that they added a "verified" icon to my account but they aren't identifying who is on the SUL. - Robert Scoble
Whoa, Shéa - Mark
It was cool of Tim to 'almost' talk about the SUL here. The guy's a tech legend and is there on merit - I just wish the list was balanced so others who equally deserve a slot had one. - Jim Connolly
Daniel: yes. If the New York Times journalists were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from a company they cover, wouldn't you expect them to disclose that? - Robert Scoble
I won't argue with you there at all, Robert. I would be happy seeing disclaimers and graphics denoting SUL status. I was thinking the problem was more Twitter's than Tim's but I suppose it's both. - Daniel J. Pritchett from IM
That graphic blew my mind, Shea. Thanks! - Daniel J. Pritchett
Are most professional journalists doing online content paid based on page views? - Mark
or is it pay per article? - Mark
Jim: I wish the list was a meritocracy and based on your actual usage and value you add to Twitter. Personally I wish we had a list a lot more like or than what Twitter came up with. Mark: yes. - Robert Scoble
Robert: EXACTLY! - Jim Connolly
Mark: Journalism companies get paid by 1000 page views. That's called CPM. They then usually pay their reporters per article, or per word, or they are salaried. - Robert Scoble
One reason is FriendFeed lacks a way of linking to other users in a post. On Twitter you can @timoreilly or @TechCrunch and I'd click on them and see if they are worth following. Since you can't do that on FriendFeed I don't bother to look to see if they are worth following. - ChiliMac
Jim: I find it insulting that Oprah was added to the Suggested User List after doing only a dozen or so entries on Twitter. How did they know she would be a good Twitterer after only that few? How insulting is that to all the other people who put tons more work into the system? - Robert Scoble
I don't think this SUL thing is about numbers, it's about ego and personality. Can you live without expressing your personal believes and have PR people do your job or say what you have to say out loud on public and give up the courtesy and goodies. Why is it about personality? Example: When Scoble came to visit my country (Israel) everyone could have a talk with him directly without any PR interference, but this year, when Brian Solis is about to arrive, you need to pay a lot of money to have a chat with him - and frankly, this guy cannot teach a thing. - Nir Ben Yona
ChiliMac: funny, I found you just fine and subscribed to you here. It's a different way, though. Here you put full URLs into the message. Like "hey, everyone, follow ChiliMac here: " - Robert Scoble
Robert: If being on the list has negligible value as you proposed (and Tim essentially confirmed) in terms of click-throughs, are we perhaps being overly concerned with its 'benefits'? If Tim's network has gone x10 and his clicks are x2, it's likely that his gain is from a lot of people who followed him organically (i.e., normal network growth). - Shéa Bennett
Robert: The Oprah situation took the SUL issue and exposed it for what it is; a 'buddy list.' Not based on merit or value. I only heard of Twitter because of you and Leo. There are hundreds of thousands of early users who only discovered Twitter off you and Leo's mentions. How soon they forget! - Jim Connolly
Shea: perhaps we are overly concerned. But I notice that people don't often remove themselves from this list, and even when they do (like in Jay Rosen's case) it's only after really thinking through the ethical responsibility of taking a huge gift from a corporation that they potentially cover. - Robert Scoble
Jim: exactly. I really hate it when companies love you when they are getting started because they need a few evangelistic users (ICQ started with only 40 users, so that's all you really need) but then they stab you in the back once they don't need you anymore. That's why more than a few bloggers now ask for stock or fees to cover their companies. Me? I will continue being a sucker for an entrepreneur with a great product or service. - Robert Scoble
value is the way and not arbitrary will from kings (ev and biz eg)... so this thread opens one's eyes to the not so fair and ego driven aspect of twitter as a cy ( I still remember @ev with the Trump daughter in front of the white house ;) - SUL = buddy list of @ev and @biz... liked Jim suggestion - Harscoat
I agree about Oprah but Twitter wants names on there - people that the 180 million Facebook users they don't have on Twitter right now will recognise. Everybody knows Oprah. It isn't about being a 'good Twitterer' (which is of course a relative term - one man's P. Diddy is another man's Jack Schofield) - it's about new users going, "Hey, I know this person." and that validates the network. And of course at that time 'Oprah's on Twitter!' was headline news around the world. They'd have been fools not to take advantage of that. - Shéa Bennett
I wish Twitter wold make it easier to connect with people that has same interests. wefollow is on the right track, but people add themselves to categories they don't belong in. The one with most follower under #photo has, as far as I can tell, never written anything about photos, or photo related news - Asgeir
there are the "cooperators" and "free riders/defectors" in life (in evo psy terms) - Robert is a cooperator (interested in the overall value for the group rather than his own personal interest)! pointing at entrepreneurs with great product and services for the community. Do not change - Harscoat
Twitter is really just a broadcast medium, you can be influential and be on the SUL, but it's more likely you just have a bunch of people checking out the service once and never looking again. FF allows you to build value and relationships around conversations. Take this very thread. Which is more monetizable in the long run? I think twitter will just become another protocol, FF provides a far more valuable service. But that's just my opinion really, and it all depends on how YOU define "useful" - John
I try to participate, but I have anywhere from 60 to 80 hours of work a week, and adding Twitter and FF to the list increased my hours. So I can't always participate even though I want to. - RobinDotNet
Robert, I'm intrigued by your success and focus on this subject. I wonder, how do you think a group fairs compared to a single personality? At the moment, you're the king of social media in my opinion because of your engagement. The attention you command is ten fold the value of Ashton's million plus drive-by fans. But, could 10 top-notch social folks stuck to a brand (like Mashable's core Twitter brand) out-perform a single guy's personal touch? [Sorry, I did go a bit OT] - Jason Nunnelley
The truth is the SUL list on Twitter falsely inflates everyone numbers who are on it, I suspect if Tim O'Reilly wasn't on the list his numbers percentage wise would be just about the same whether we are talking Twitter or FF. I also think that since FF doesn't have an auto follow method, like twitter, their is more thought put into who someone is going to follow. - Kim Landwehr
Kim: That's true, but it's not just a question of auto-follow. One, Facebook doesn't allow one-way following - you have to be 'friends'. Two, for most people, letting somebody friend them on FB is a fairly big deal as that person then has access to a lot of your life (personal details, photos, etc - it AMAZES me how many people put their cellphone number on Facebook, and then just friend anybody). Twitter has a very, very low-risk element, particularly as you can receive (and send) @replies to people whether you're following them or not. Put it this way, if Jimmy Carr was following me on Facebook, too, I'd assume we were actually mates. ;) - Shéa Bennett
I agree SUL is billboard advertising. Essel-i support that 'just like to read' is fine for some. That's how I participate with Wikipedia and I can see some on twitter will simply be there looking for new eddies in the river of news. FriendFeed and Facebook lead for those of us wanting greater depth: No matter if you are a platform or a "personality" how is quality engagement promoted online? The same way a savvy host prepares a space for guests. He begins with an easy arrival and a warm welcome. Navigability (flow of guests between the pool, the lawn, and the loo), and tasty appetizers are easily identifiable. Most importantly, our host is generous when making introductions. Friendfeed gentle 'subscribe' makes for easy mingling here. But twitter sign-on and Facebook Connect will quickly help me mingle on discussion forums elsewhere. And for now, those two are where the people are. Friendfeed may become the place for thoughtful discussion, but with a much smaller audience. Not many take the hour to watch the news on PBS either. No matter the setting the best hosts (O'Reilly, Scoble certainly) know the personalities in the crowd and facilitate mingling and thought exchange. Style and shrewd language kindle conversations for new acquaintances. We remember the food and ambiance, but we attend parties for discovery - the conversations and the people we will meet. The platform that best facilitates this will win the contest for the highest quality texture and social graph EXPANSION. - Lane Rapp
Jason: I am often at a disadvantage competing against brands with many people employed like TechCrunch and Mashable. What was interesting was that I (and others like Leo Laporte, Calacanis, Kawasaki, et al) was able to compete before the SUL propelled them above me and into a different league. At least on Twitter. Everywhere else I'm still kicking their behinds. Which is worth studying, me thinks. These guys are not idiots. If they were smart they would try to get their audiences to join them in other forums. Why? Because it would make their brands stronger. The fact that they can't/won't do that is interesting. - Robert Scoble
I am not on the Twitter SUL. I have 15,000 on Twitter and 2,700 on FF. Could it be that there are fewer peeps on FF? - Beth Kanter
Beth: that's a pretty common ratio, but doesn't match anyone's who is on the SUL. But, you miss my point. On Facebook (which has far far far more people than Twitter) TechCrunch has far fewer fans than I do but on Twitter he has far more, all artificially gained. If TechCrunch were smart he'd have those people also follow his fan page on Facebook. - Robert Scoble
But you bring up an interesting point, Beth, for another thread. Why aren't your followers good followers of yours? I imagine you've told them about friendfeed. Why don't your followers listen to you? I thought it was just me. - Robert Scoble
What about the shear time to keep up with the topics of the day? For me twitter is all about reading quick short headlines, getting a pulse on what's going on, and then making a decision on what topics are important enough to engage deeper on. FF, FC, blogs, etc are the place to go deeper into the conversation. If you buy off on that, then the math comes into play,Twitter is the grand list of whats happening, so you will have most of you're followers there, with deeper linking to other sites to carry on the conversation. Just like here. - Robert Wilkins
Oprah, by the way, has 1,619,000 on Twitter and 760,000 on Facebook. I wonder how many followers Oprah was gifted by being on the recommended follower list, but you can see why Twitter is doing this. The higher Oprah's numbers are on Twitter the cooler Twitter seems and the more hype it gets and the more celebrities want to chase Oprah, even if they are for fake followers who don't mean that much. Brilliant strategy on Twitter's part. - Robert Scoble
yea, oprah=cool. you toting your camera maybe not so much to mainstream, glad to see the new hulk photo ;-) - Lane Rapp
Lane: Oprah is cool? Have you seen her Tweets? Not cool at all. - Robert Scoble
I have very different uses for each: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed... - Kelly A Nelson
Robert, Oprah's tweets are indeed superficial. Totally not engaged. She would do well to use twitter to engage both her audience and her causes between seasons. My joke was framed sarcastically enuff, but was to support your entire discussion here, that the SUL is rigged for twitter and celeb marketing. - Lane Rapp
Meh. all these celebs taking twitter away from us geeks :( its ours :( - Mark
Ellen Degeneres does a good job in my opinion - Lane Rapp
Mark, give twitter to the masses, sometimes I get the feeling FF wants to remain a niche. I can't say I would be disappointed as long as the lights stay on. We can contribute like we do on NPR. - Lane Rapp
Lane: they said that about Twitter two years ago. The thing is here that FriendFeed has nooks and crannies that can let us hide from the masses a lot better than we can hide on Twitter. - Robert Scoble
Beth, I think the difference between Twitter and FF is two fold, compounded and a big indicator as to why Robert may fair so much better here and FB. Twitter simplifies the competition (if there is such a thing, though people perceive it's real, so it is). It's all about followers and extremely competitive to gain them. FriendFeed is culturally different, and conversational. This kind of conversation, for example, simply won't and can't happen in Twitter. Look at the Neilson data on Twitter, where the bounce rate is more than 70%. A follower is not a reader in Twitter. - Jason Nunnelley
Yes we can hide away in little corners, and even go private rooms if we want a little insider chat. Friendfeed is our underground movement! - Mark
Something Robert has done that works best in more conversational SM is brand himself as an all around cool guy. He's not "Robert Scoble the tech guru." Mashable and Techcrunch are very limited in their scope, so readers are likely to read their blip about their preferred technology and move on. Robert engages his readers on a multitude of topics, much more conversational. He'll actually talk to me and share real answers, not some 80 character shout that could have as easily been 1990s artificial intelligence. It's hard to fake Robert. So, I don't know how other brands can mimic his behavior to gain readership. - Jason Nunnelley
Robert, thanks I'll do my part to welcome the masses while I learn more about the nooks and crannies. I noticed how all the FF user help rooms are active, but the Facebook user groups have limited discussion. - Lane Rapp
Lane (WARNING: shameless promotion) I'd be happy to host more conversations in newb regarding Facebook if you like, post tutorials, videos, etc. Are you more often a question source or an answer source? <edit> Meaning, I'd like to have someone else post help there if I start pushing my readers to the group. - Jason Nunnelley
Anyone heard any news about new friendfeed features? Sure would be cool to be able to post images and things in the discussion thread. - Mark
I hate to hit and run, but 90% of the people I follow I follow because I've seen them say interesting things and participate here. - Steve Lowe
Steve, why is that Hit and Run? - Jason Nunnelley
Is the FriendFeed back-end on Scala already? :) - The Pageman
Jason, I'd like that and think the rural, the elder, the poor, the disabled, and much of africa who get better high speed net access will as well. As fast as these platforms are growing the users have to help out with the concierge desk. I've got questions and I'm still newb enuff to answer some with empathy - Lane Rapp
If more people used clients that don't require following people to group them and/or see their tweets, the followers would n't be half as relevant on Twitter. I converse with lots of people I don't follow on facebook and FriendFeed. - guruvan (Rob Nelson)
Robert, the bottom line is people follow people for three reasons: content, content and content. The question is what difference does the SUL on Twitter make if most people just ignore boring content and move on? - Jason Nunnelley
My mom joined Twitter today (that tells me its not Myspace, so much for my original thesis) but she didn't necessarily want to follow this suggested list, but from talking to her, it sounded like it was "fostered" onto her. I don't know what the steps look like since I joined a long time ago, but it sounds like for a newbie you are pretty much going to auto follow these people - Stephen Pickering
I have more friends/followers on Friendfeed than I do on any other site - Joe Dawson
the followers picked up from SUL are folks who are getting started -- it's like the old PCH magazine subs: renewals and engagemt were horrible but the audience inflation paid back in ad dollars. The social web is about "finding" an audience, just like the old days before you could use web clout to open the spigot and drive a massive audience. The SUL is a Web 1.0 artifact, like cutting a deal with AOL or Yahoo used to work. building an audience means you first have to have killer content and that it needs to hit a nerve. Audience follows. and with the social web, few people can hit a nerve without authentic engagment. - Dan McCarthy from BuddyFeed
Robert, et al: There was some important information shared in this thread yesterday, and I've put a lot of it together in a post for Twittercism, focusing on comparisons between the follower counts of Tim, Robert and iJustine. Appreciate your thoughts. Cheers. - Shéa Bennett
isn't 10000 followers on friendfeed just about the same percentage of the community as 600000 on twitter? - Iphigenie
Stephen, you have to unclick the people you don't want to follow in the SUL. - Jason Nunnelley
Great thread. Thanks Robert. - Mark Davidson from BuddyFeed
Thanks for sharing - great info Robert!! - Laurie DesAutels
If what you say is true, then the terms need to be changed. As for them not transferring to any other social network, why is that even necessary? There's a great study out there that states 90% of your network will be lurkers anyway. You'll never know that they exist, however, it's still comforting to know they're there.... - Mike Shields
Robert: Now that you mention it, I will tell them about FriendFeed. - Beth Kanter
Robert: I hate it when there's a "food fight" over ideas. Please remember that Twitter is still trying to find a business model. These $100,000 gifts are basically Calacanis "Bucks"... you can't actually buy anything with them except the promise of VC investment. VC investment is simply mortgaging your future. - davem51
Was it wrong with Radio from UserLand had some suggested feeds to follow? No. It was a smart business idea and Adam Curry invested to get more readers. Smart attempt to save Userland from failing. - davem51
I met Tim O'Reilly in 1990 working the O'Reilly booth at Usenix. It was one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had at a conference... Tim knows how to present idea but more importantly he has the biggest ears in tech. He's got an Open Source Mind. - davem51
am i on twittr? - j edmonds