At first? There would be quite a bit of panic.
Six months later pretty much everything would be back to how it was.
Here’s the thing: once you’ve been on Twitter for a while the number of followers you have is (more often than not, and like it or not) a fair representation of your social status.
People with millions of followers are always world-famous figures or brands, and people with very few followers are not.
Yes, you can be famous ‘on the internet’. But don’t kid yourself by thinking that your favourite garage band is more deserving of followers than TechCrunch. It’s about influence.
Follower ratio is massively important, too. Two different accounts (X & Y) each with ten thousand followers are not necessarily equal. If profile X is following 500 people, and profile Y is following 10,001, then profile X wins.
Unless you’re also the biggest celebrity on the planet then there’s no point thinking you deserve more followers than Lady Gaga, because you don’t. You’re never going to surpass her, and it isn’t because she has this huge head start. It’s because she’s Lady Gaga, and you’re not.
If an electromagnetic pulse wiped all of Twitter’s follower data tomorrow, the exact same people would rise to the top of the tree – and this includes the mass-follow-unfollowers, as they’d inevitably reap the same ‘rewards’ (worthless as those networks typically are) – and by summer things would be essentially as they were. There would be some casualties, but Twitter’s top 100 would rise again, like a phoenix.
Ignore people who say that follower counts don’t matter. They absolutely do, but not in the way that many typically think. Having an engaged and active network is far more important than anything else, but your follower number, and your follower ratio, does tell us something.
It tells us this is who you are.