Who you follow says a lot

February 23, 2012

If you were #working last night during the #CNNdebate, you might have followed the action via #Twitter, picking up on @MittRomney blasting @RickSantorum about #Obamacare. Or, you may have simply followed the hilariously snarky posts on Twitter authored by @AndyBorowitz, e.g. “Santorum home-schooled his 7 kids, meaning there are now at least 8 people who don't understand evolution.”

While you may use the communication platform for instantaneous blasts on commuter traffic (careful reading while you drive!) or scientific breakthroughs, the 140-character posts are dominated by celebrities' observations on their lives, inspirations and personal “news” such as Kim Kardashian, number 6 in total followers according to Twittercounter.com with 13.3 million hanging on her every exclamation point and “love you!” She holds an edge over President Obama, who has about 12 million Twitter followers. Kim posted more than 30 times yesterday, many concerning her appearance on the QVC shopping channel to sell clothing.

Yes, Kim Kardashian has thousands more followers than the Pope. Perhaps he should sell robes on QVC or add more exclamation points to his Tweets about Lent?

Outrageous pop star Lady Gaga holds the top spot for Twitter followers with over 20 million. Amazingly, that number grew by more than 8,000 yesterday alone. Yet she doesn't keep fans up-to-date on her every thought, having posted just 3 times in the past week.

The diva's name is more instantly recognizable than that of Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, who is also on Twitter, along with many other world leaders you may or may not know. What's the point of Gillard posting to Twitter? Apparently it's a way to appear more approachable to the public, which they may hope translates to votes. Or followers, in the case of the Dalai Lama, who also Tweets.

Or causes. One thing Twitter does well is blasting strange tidbits of information, and this week's winner by far is the news that Pope Benedict will Tweet about Lent to inspire Catholics to adhere to their faith.

With all of these people surfing 140-character news bytes from Kloe's new shoes to the success rate of antiretroviral AIDS drugs, where is Twitter going? It is so immediate that it can be used to predict the behavior of the stock market and the spread of disease, some say.

Meta

Published: Feb. 23, 2012

Author: Allison O'Leary Murray

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Word Count: 377

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