I’ve said before that there’s something about the 140-character limit that brings out both the best and worst in people. Nick Harris hints at this while writing about taking a break from Twitter:
“But largely ignoring the Twitter Noise Machine – particularly when my timeline becomes the Twitter Hate Machine – is going to be good for me.”
He also talks about the obsession with stats and follower counts, which Brent Simmons picks up on and carries further:
“I did have Google Analytics for a few months in 2014 when I was doing sponsorships. I spent too much time looking at the numbers and trying to make them go up. But no amount of going-up is ever satisfying: I just wanted more.”
When designing my new microblogging platform, I made a conscious decision to not even show follower counts. You can get the followers from the API, but I didn’t want to have the numbers right in your face when viewing someone’s profile. It’s too easy for us to make a judgement based on how many followers they have, and so miss out on whatever they have to say.