How Many Followers Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?

We are a nation obsessed with numbers and crowds.  It is all about volume.   How many impressions did you make?  How many unique visitors came to the site?  How many click-thrus did you score? How many followers do you have?  How many Likes do you have?

Funny thing is, as obsessed as we are with numbers when it comes to traditional media, we are not nearly as concerned about the numbers with social media. Why is that?

If we are talking TV, you must not only provide Nielsen and/or Arbitron data that confirms the number of viewers, but those numbers MUST BE HUGE.  Same with radio, same with newspapers, same with magazines.  If you are not reaching hundreds of thousands – or millions – then what’s the point?

Even You Tube is judged by its huge volumes.  No one cares about a video until it reaches the magical one million views mark.  Anything less than that is just a video.

But Twitter and Facebook get a pass.  Why is that?

Maybe the numbers are not all that important.  Instead it is about the connection and the engagement and the dialogue or conversation.  But if that’s true, if it is not about the numbers, then why is everyone so obsessed about increasing their numbers? I was on the Terracyle website the other day (I love this company) and they actually had a link at the top of their home page asking people to friend them.  In high school we called that pathetic.  I mean, who pleads with people to be their friends or worse, bribes them?  And what value do these types of “followers” have?  That’s like driving 10,000 visitors to a website with a misleading PPC ad and getting a 98% bounce rate… not exactly useful.

I’m just  saying.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.