I can't help but be slightly irritated by people on Twitter obsessing and boasting about their followers. The old 'Gee, I can't believe I've got 4,000 followers already' or the more annoying 'help @person get to 1,000 followers'. It's like turning up to a party saying 'Gosh, what a surprise I can't believe how tantalisingly fabulous I look in my Diane Furstenburg high waisted pant suit' or 'Please help @Corey Delaney attract more than 100 people to his party'.
(For a great post on the emphasis on raw numbers see this one from Mack Collier on authority).
So why are we actively promoting a meaningless view of metrics - the kind we're often trying to steer our clients away from?
It's not that numbers aren't important in the right context.
But an obsession with reach (vs impact) has been one of the barriers to marketers genuinely engaging with disciplines like social media, brand entertainment, experiential marketing and other 'softer' disciplines which are seen as not capable of delivering 'hard numbers' (either in terms of sales or people).
Too much emphasis on the body count diverts attention from the effect communication has on behaviour. It's much more about the what and when and less about the why.
And in the case of Twitter, it's not even always about who.
If we're asking our clients to recalibrate their concept of metrics, we should do the same.
p.s happy new year to my many followers.