Are we What and Who we follow? Absolutely No.
June 3, 2008
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In the last days I have been offline, because I took some vacation days, and passed them with my GF, was really good to spend some days offline and reconnect with the world that sometimes I forget… and in my opinion  nothing really  exciting or era changing happened in those days regarding Internet. The same fundings, the same start-ups, the same people that talks just for fun.

This morning I was reading the feeds that I haven’t read in the last days and I started to think that we are not what or who we follow. A follower as is written in the dictionary is “One who subscribes to the teachings or methods of another; an adherent“, and that’s true, we admire some people and we respect them so much that we know that they can teach us lots of things and make us see different point of view, via their work, opinion and things that they do. Every human being want to learn, and Internet make us connect and learn form every person that we decide to follow, and we learn and we grow also thank to the people that we follow.

Internet in the same time make us follow people via Web, Twitter, RSS feeds and various Social Networks, those methods make the fruition of the content of the people that we follow really easy and simple. With the click of the mouse we see who and what has been shared… but this easy way made a little change on the word “Follower“… we start to follow also the people that we dislike and that we don’t admire.

The last line seems strange, but true. We lean also from the people that we don’t like, we learn form their mistakes and from what they say… we learn what not to do. We follow people that maybe are also popular but that we consider overvalued, sometimes with an entertaining way, we follow to see what they do. The point on Internet is that the visits of a web site can’t be categorized on the basis of the opinion of the people that read our Blog. Lots of time I see people that welcome a new follower or that list the number of followers of their feed, but they doesn’t understand the real value of a follower, is a person that admire you, and form how many people follows you there is always someone that follow you just to see what you do… and not to learn from you… maybe is the 0,1% of the total number of the followers, but there is alway the need to consider this way of thinking… some follows you just for curiosity, not because to learn from you.

People can think that this approach is wrong and that I’m making a mistake, but make yourself a question… Have you ever visited a web site of a person that you don’t like or that you don’t consider as a person to learn from? They think that they have a follower in you, but you don’t follow them 🙂

That makes me think that part of us are what and who we truly follow… and not what and who we don’t consider a real way to improve ourselves. There is the need of a new word to indicate the person that “follow” you but that doesn’t want to learn from you, just for curiosity… will think about it… any idea?

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Tribe or Community. Ask Lady Gaga.

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There are 3 comments

  • I slightly disagree with your arguments. Sure you’re not entirely who you follow, but there is a huge difference between visiting a site and following someone on a social network on a daily basis.

    You read a website once, while if you choose to follow someone you’ll be “bombarded” daily of data produced by him.

    I’d say that not 100% of your followers admire you, but certainly more than 60% do, in the sense that they are willing to dedicate some of their time to listen to your thoughts.

    A new word to describe your the curiosity to follow someone’s stream? Uhm…maybe…watchers?

  • When we watch TV we are part of an audience; our role is entirely passive. When we watch a website and go back to watch it again, we are rated as followers: a bunch of followers, as i see it, is a small, slightly active, audience.

    Small (follower) audiences may crop up for each knowledge spreading individual, whatever that knowledge is. Our TV dependent culture perceives the Web as a do-it-yourself audience making kit, probably. So, that’s the way we (still) use the Web.

    Sooner or later people should start sensing the limitations of behaving as followers, of (available) knowledge dissemination. They should discover the advantages of taking a pro-active role, towards the acquisition of (new) knowledge from participation in the achievement of a common goal.

    When that happens .. “followers” might turn themselves into “contributors” .. I wonder.

  • […] couple of day ago I have written about my idea of Followers, and how we learn from them… and a mean that I personally use to follow people is Twitter […]

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