Follow me here

June 4th, 2009 by Gia Lyons Leave a reply »

A fundamental value of maintaining your social network is the ability to encounter people who your trusted peeps recommend, and to confidently make those recommendations yourself. Need to find a good plumber who wears his pants properly so that your kids aren’t traumatized by ass-crack while the shower drain is snaked? You probably know someone who can recommend one.

Let’s take it to the Interwebs. You’ve got your LinkedIn recommendations, Facebook suggest-a-friend, and I’m too lazy to list whatever else is out there. Thinking inside the corporate box, I’m not aware of any commercial social networking applications that do a good job of enabling recommendations, other than the backdoor method of bookmarking their profile, then including a description about why and for what you recommend them. (For a very interesting look at the recommendation phenomenon from a Jungian dude, check out Michael J Pastor’s (@michaeljpastor) discussion about a related topic, reputation.)

Then there’s Twitter.

I asked Twitter: Is following someone in Twitter similar to recommending them?


  • Macker: it means they have something to say that I want to hear/read. so I guess that’s a tacit recommendation.
  • rickysays: Not for me. I just follow people I know or who have similar interests. Wouldn’t necessarily recommend them all tho (no offense)
  • turoczy: Not exactly. Follow some people on Twitter to hear their opinions, opinions with which I disagree. I don’t “recommend” them.
  • tselrahc: It would be a recommendation for twittering, but I would not extend that to other domains. That’s my criteria for follows.
  • stickfight: sort of, that and a mixture of the fact that they are one of the interesting animals in the zoo
  • passepartout: Follow means ‘you interest me, for now‘ If I follow someone FOR A WHILE, I could recommend you.
  • IainColledge: For me a follow does not have that high a status, I follow because I want to but not sure it is the same as a recommend
Couple of obvious “duh” points here:
  1. People are stingy with their recommendations, and rightly so, since they reflect upon their own highly valued reputations.
  2. Context is everything (as usual).

Incidentally, it would be cool if Twitter let me briefly explain why I follow someone, if I wanted to.

P.S. I don’t know why I wrote this post, other than to report the results of my Twitter question. But, if you can make it mean more, please comment.



  1. Troy Jensen says:

    Why you wrote it? Because your a thought exhibitionist. Why think something when you can write it down……Of all the exhibitionist qualities I have, its my thought exhibitionism that I’m the most proud of (and that’s the most welcomed).

    On Twitter (sorry, must have missed that tweet) I follow people primarily 1) To be entertained 2) To be informed. If someone can consistently do either or both, they get my vote… its kind of a “you’re not incredibly boring” recommendation.

  2. Juanny Cinco says:

    The real question is: what does it say about the people that you chose to include as answering the question. Were the these the whole sampling of answers? Or are these the “trusted” source?

    My assumption is that these people are all connected, followed by, and following your good self. This blog is somewhat of a recommendation of these people and secondarily your way of validating the actual hypothesis itself. A blog on a self-fulfilling experiment. Not a terribly bad idea.

    The truth is actually far more obvious. You recommend those that you publicly share opinion with. The act of following says nothing about them, though potentially, something about you.

  3. Macker says:

    so what does it say of gia that she follows me? I’m not sure I’m up to the answer …

  4. Gia Lyons says:

    Juanny, nice logic. 😉 I listed every answer I received, and yes, obviously, only those who follow me or who follow someone who retweeted my tweet would respond.

  5. Bill Grant says:

    I really hope people don’t consider the people I follow to be my personal recommendations. Very early on I subscribed to the “Robert Scoble Method” of following people back who follow me and aren’t bots. Was fine for a while until I got over 200 follows, now I am working on decreasing my follow count. (For the record the issue isn’t that I am up to 400 but usually the tweeters I don’t share a common interest in also tweet way too much for me.

    I guess one way you can show off your recommendations is by using Favorites, right?

  6. michaeljpastor says:

    Thanks for the recommendation of reading the discussion on Jivespace. I’m humbly honored by it.