Follow and Connect on Twitter
The cool thing about following people on Twitter is that they don’t have to acknowledge you, following is a one way function, though it’s nice if people follow you back. You can always block them too, so you will not appear in their overview but they can still see your page, if it’s not set to private. Following another user is something like bookmarking them (that’s what I do sometimes) or becoming their fan. Flickr has the same system where users can add another user as a contact. This contact can approve this request of friendship or not.
On a lot of social network sites a friend has to be approved and this only works if both users add each other. This also means that one of the two can break up and the other one loses a contact in his or her list. On Twitter a user is constanly aware of their friends as their tweets appear in the general overview. This same concept goes for friends on Hyves and Facebook where there’s a feed of friend activity although here a user can decide to read less or more about certain friends or groups. I do wonder why on one site a friend has to be approved and on another site this is not the case. Does this has anything to do with privacy or more personal content?
Another thing that gets more important on Twitter is the number of friends or followers a user has, especially since the launch of overviews like the Dutch Twittergids.nl (where my account @twesis is 1st on the wordpress list, 2nd on the blogger list and student list and 17th on the top100 list). For some people this number represents a grade or level of popularity. This number has a high importance in the book ‘Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom’ by Cory Doctorow. In this novel Doctorow introduces ‘the notion of “Whuffie,” a kind of measure of social capital. People check out (“ping”) one another’s Whuffie when they meet, and that gives them some notion of how much respect and credibility the other has’. Meaning on social network sites and Twitter this is already a reality when the number of followers or friends could give a user a higher credibility.