Twitter’s four most popular users – Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama and Britney Spears – collectively have over 38 million followers. Sure, there’s some crossover there, but that’s a pretty huge number.
Together, they also follow about 1.37 million people, which means they have followed about one person for every 27 users who follow them. Relatively, at about 3.61%, that might seem like a pretty low ratio, but it’s an absolute dream level of reciprocation compared to many of the most popular celebrities on Twitter – five of whom follow a big fat zero.
Here are Twitter’s 20 meanest celebrities:
- Eminem (4,651,945 followers, follows zero)
- Kanye West (3,511,165 followers, follows zero)
- Stephen Colbert (2,381,463 followers, follows zero)
- Rev Run (2,234,416 followers, follows zero)
- Dalai Lama (1,887,415 followers, follows zero)
- Jim Carrey (3,353,449 followers, follows 1 person)
- Conan O’Brien (3,276,722 followers, follows 1 person)
- 50 Cent (4,705,536 followers, follows 3 people)
- Bill Cosby 1,890,147 followers, follows 4 people)
- Penn Jillette (1,655,435 followers, follows 6 people)
- Moby (1,319,973 followers, follows 6 people)
- Brent Spiner (1,381,326 followers, follows 9 people)
- Al Gore (2,250,886 followers, follows 9 people)
- Ronaldinho Gaúcho (1,501,655 followers, follows 10 people)
- Kevin Spacey (1,991,233 followers, follows 11 people)
- Danny DeVito (1,310,153 followers, follows 11 people)
- Janet Jackson (1,795,097 followers, follows 16 people)
- Victoria Beckham (1,286,380 followers, follows 18 people)
- Justin Timberlake (4,837,874 followers, following 19 people)
- Danny Glover (1,517,149 followers, following 20 people)
I find it interesting how the top of this chart skews towards hip hop stars – three of the top five (Eminem, Kanye West and Rev Run) are rappers, and none of them have bothered to follow anyone. Moreover, Stephen Colbert and the Dalai Lama, who also refrain from following, are hardly slouches on open mic night. Maybe it’s an image thing.
Celebrities can, of course, do what they want, which includes following nobody, or just a few token (and usually famous) pals. But I’ve always maintained that this misses the point of Twitter, even if you’re a megastar. There’s very little value in following everybody – you absolutely have to be selective – but if you follow nobody then Twitter becomes nothing more than a broadcast system.
Which, of course, is what many of them want. You just have to spend a few minutes on their profile pages to see how one-way many of them are. But it’s worth noting that it took Lady Gaga over a year before she started following anybody, and just look at her now. 143,093 follows later, she’s far and away Twitter’s most popular user, and arguably the most celebrated superstar on the planet. It’s not the only reason, of course, and she’s backed by a very capable team, but her level of engagement within social media – which includes a certain level of reciprocation, as well as chatting with fans and getting them involved – has played a big part in her success. And I think there’s a valuable lesson there for us all.
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