I’ve been thinking about the terminology that we use to describe our relationships on various social networks. I “follow” people on Twitter and people “follow” me back. I have “friends” on Facebook. I am “linked” to people on LinkedIn. The “follow” relationship is the one I find most fascinating.
When you “follow” someone, you:
- Accept them as a guide or leader
- Imitate or follow their example
- Watch their movement or progress
While I understand that my “followers” on Twitter probably don’t see me as a leader, there are certainly people on Twitter who I “follow” because I consider them thought leaders and I want to know what they’re reading and thinking. Think about it. We never say that we “follow” a Web site, company or newsletter, but we do say that we “follow” someone’s blog. I know I consider it a high compliment when someone tells me that they “follow” my blog.
In the book Tribes, marketing guru Seth Godin tells us it’s human nature to want to be part of a group that shares a common passion and recognizes the same leader; in other words, most of us want to be part of a tribe. Further, Seth believes that using the Web and social networking tools, everyone can now find or assemble a tribe and lead it.
So I say to each of you and your organizations: People want to follow, are you ready to lead?