Follower count is no longer relevant, says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at IIT Delhi
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Monday said that the followers count no longer matters on the social networking platform. While addressing students at IIT Delhi during his maiden visit to India, Dorsey said that Twitter is about having real conversation and contributing to it.
He pointed out that when Twitter started 12 years ago, the follower count was meant to encourage people follow each other.
The company then "made the font size a little bit bigger than everything else on the page. We did not really think much about it and moved on to the next problem to solve. What that has done is we put all the emphasis, not intending to, on that number of how many people follow me. So, if that number is big and bold, what do people want to do with it? They want to make it go up."
The practice, however, is no longer relevant, he said while stressing users should not be focused on the followers count.
Stressing the need for having more conversations, he said, "I think what is more important is the number of meaningful conversations you're having on the platform. How many times do you receive a reply?"
Dorsey said Twitter was more focused on giving users something new to learn. "That's more valuable, not follower counts or number of likes or tweets. That's not healthy," he added. ALSO READ: No perfect solution to address fake news, says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at IIT Delhi
When asked about his favourite hashtag, Dorsey said that he did not have any such favourite but he followed the trending topics on the social networking platform. Citing example of powerof18 hashtag, he said such hashtags represent conversations which any user can join and leave. "I don't know there's any other technology that enables that fluidity," he added.
Ev Williams, a Twitter co-founder and board member, last week had also expressed similar sentiments on the focus on follower counts.
"I think showing follower counts was probably ultimately detrimental," Williams said at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. "It really put in your face that the game was popularity."
Twitter in its early days did make a big deal out of the followers count. Back in 2009, CNN and Ashton Kutcher were publicised to be in race for being the first account to have million followers on Twitter.
"That's the most amazing publicity of all time. So it's easy to say in retrospect — today — maybe we shouldn't have follower counts," Williams asserted. "A lot of these things drove growth, and if we hadn't had them, maybe someone else would have done them and built a much more dominant platform."