Today’s post is rather unconventional for Naijanomics, but given that a majority of the site’s view comes from Twitter, I thought it necessary to write this. For those with little knowledge of Twitter, this post might educate you or confuse you further. And for those who actively use it, this might elucidate the economic dynamics behind interactions on Twitter. This post is a mini-minefield of satire, so be careful what you take seriously. For the serious part, let’s understand how Twitter works and how you can exploit it.
Like every other social network existing, attention is the currency of Twitter. Twitter behaves very much like a market, with the demand and supply of attention. Your tweets either demand for attention or supply attention. You supply attention by favoriting, retweeting, or commenting on a tweet. You demand attention by tweeting, quoting or retweeting. Once you understand this, you understand the dynamics of Twitter and what it takes to be an ‘overlord’. For those who don’t know what an overlord is: an overlord is an individual who wields influence on Twitter due to the high number of followers he/she has.
Unlike Facebook, the ability to see/retweet/reply someone’s tweet is present irrespective of whether you follow the person or not (except the person has a private account). This eliminates the first aspect of information asymmetry, as any party has full details to the workings of another. Markets with less information asymmetry are more efficient, as demand and supply dynamically interact. Consequently, efficient companies make it, while inefficient ones close down.
However, Twitter’s actually an inefficient market. The issue of discoverability adds an extra dimension of information asymmetry. Better products do not immediately gain traction due to the issue of discoverability. No matter how smart your tweets are, people need to actually see them…or you’re just shouting in a desert. You might tweet better than someone with thousands of followers, but thanks to the discoverability issue, you might hardly see an increase in demand for your tweets.
First mover advantage tends to determine who has a lot more followers. Close to 90% of overlords opened their accounts as far back as 2009/2010. Like every other market out there, first-comer’s advantage raises the probability that you have more customers. Ask Microsoft.
So you’re relatively new and you’re looking for a way to catch up to your predecessors? Here are a few tips that can help you get to twitter stardom.
How Much Tweeting Should I Do?
Like everything out there, Twitter operates on the law of diminishing returns. There’s a certain number of tweets you should send out in a day. Tweet very little and you stand to lose a lot of recognition value. Tweet too much and people ignore your tweets. People can only consume so much beer before they start throwing up – same applies to your tweets. What’s the optimal number? I’ve got no idea. Ask an overlord.
Can I Just Tweet About Anything & Everything?
Focus on a few particular interests and tweet on those. Companies understand the value of focusing on one market. Coca Cola makes soda, it doesn’t have a side business making tables. Apple makes electronics, it doesn’t have a side-business making soccer boots: Nike does that. Same thing with your tweets. Have certain interests you can focus on and be an ‘expert’ in. @Jesseoguns is known for his tweets on gadgets, @blcompere is known for her tweets on the power of social media and engagement, @chukwudebelu is known for his tweets on Nigerian politics, doom and gloom, @omojuwa is known for his ‘activistish’ tweets, @akaebube tweets on how GEJ is the second coming of Christ who will take Nigeria to the promised land, while @ayourb tweets otherwise.
This doesn’t stop you from tweeting about other things, it just means that if your tweets go into a regression software, it should be highly correlated with a particular subject.
This Conversation is Interesting! Should I Retweet it to my Followers?
People do not care for your personal interaction with someone they don’t know filling their timeline. In market analogy, the fish seller does not care if you still use cowries to trade with meat seller. She only takes the universally recognized currency: cash. Your personal tweets with a bunch of random chaps are like cowries to your followers. Try not to retweet every darn mundane conversation you’re having.
How Can I Gain Followers Quickly?
Your followers to following ratio counts. Overlords tend to have a high followers to following ratio. It demonstrates that your tweets have high attention value. So how can you make sure this ratio rises?Followers can be gotten using several methods. Some methods shady and fast, while some the straight way, but a bit slower.
The fastest and shadiest method: Buy Followers. Some shady sites let you buy followers. So your follower count can instantly shoot from 0 to > 50,000 depending on how much you’re willing to cough up. You want the address of these sites? Sorry, I don’t have it. Use Google.
The moderately fast and annoying method: Follower anyone and everyone AND ask for a follow back. You can craft your request in these manners: “Please Kindly Follow Back”, “Please Follow Back”, “Follow Back” and the ridiculously lazy “kfb”. The drawback with this method is that it indicates to people that you’re more interested in demanding attention rather than supplying it. In fact, some have amassed a large number of followers using this method and proceeded to mass-unfollow a majority of them. Not cool.
The slowest method is to tweet interesting/intelligent or cliche stuff. Tweet things that have a high retweet value. Tweet jokes, current happenings, something sanctimonious on how much you love God, bible scripture, life tips and interesting events to watch out for. New topics/trends/happenings are like the latest fashion in the market – be sure not to be the last one buying into that product before it goes out of fashion. So on twitter, watch out for the latest topics or happenings and make sure you tweet on them. Craft something wise, pithy or humorous on the issue, this raises your ‘retweet value’, which raises the amount of attention to your tweet. Although it requires a lot more handwork, tweets like that raise your follower count organically.
How Can I Make Existing Overlords Follow Me?
Given that twitter shows common followers, it’s smart business to have overlords on your following list. This appreciates your tweet value. In an inefficient market, people respond to available signals in order to make decisions. When others see that an overlord follows you, they’re more likely to follow you.
You want overlords to follow you? Appeal to their ego. It’s that simple. When you apply for a job, you usually flatter the company with phrases like ‘It would be a great honor to work for a company that saves the world, cures cancer, stops global warming and bla bla bla…everything amazing’. Likewise, with overlords, you have to supply them with attention. Quote, favorite and retweet their tweets. Constantly reply and corroborate everything they say. Soon enough, you’ll catch their attention and they’ll follow you.
What Should My Twitter Description Say?
Your twitter description should either summarize you or say something pithy. If you’re Nigerian, be sure to add attributes such as ‘God-Fearing’, ‘Christ-loving’, ‘Team-Jesus’, ‘Child of God’. Like sex in the United States, religion is a top selling product in Nigeria. Ensure that you’re associated with this brand. If that’s not enough for you, make sure you also list all your amazing attributes: ‘kind, humble, loving, intelligent, etc’.
Also,make sure to add all educational qualifications, professional & business interests – real and imaginary – in your bio. The job hustle is real. Make sure you improvise Twitter into your resume.
Alternatively, be aware that all these descriptions are being supplied by a majority of people. And we are aware of what happens when everyone supplies too much of one product – the value comes crashing down. So make sure your product stands out.
Why All These?
Some might ask, why should any sane person go through all these just to get followers? A large number of followers acts as a signal to the value of your tweets. It signifies that your tweets have high ‘attention value’. Why else would so many people be following you? You instantly become a sage, an expert, or a social-media-branding-development packaging-marketing expert/guru. Imagine thousands of people waiting to hear your words of wisdom every day. Note that it could also lead to a government appointment, perhaps as a special adviser or something…
NB: In this case, we treat real life celebrities as outliers. So, they don’t fall into these scenarios given that their attention value is exogenous of twitter.
If you managed to reach this point in such a long post, congrats! With such degree of longsuffering, you have what it takes to be an overlord. When you become one, be sure to follow me at @chubaezeks