Social Media Platforms are designed to Connect us, as long as the powers that be can maintain some level of control.
For years, Twitter has imposed a “follow limit”, restricting users from following too many Twitter accounts in any given time frame, or exceeding their pre-determined ratio of how many follow you, compared to how many you may follow.
So, what if you just really dig a cause, idea or person and want to connect with like-minded tweeps? You’ll have to wait for more of those you follow to follow you or start un-following some accounts to meet Twitters guidelines, which states “Twitter facilitates social networking, but it’s not a social networking website”. They also say there is no limit to how followers you can have, just how many people you can follow. So, follow whomever you want…just don’t get too aggressive.
Google+ limits the collective number of circles you can put other people into from your to 5,000. At which point apparently you become a “verified” user, but that is where your ability to expand your engagement or “listen” to others must end. Of course an unlimited number of people can circle you. You simply cannot circle them back.
So, what if you are the president or administrator for an organization, institution or corporation and wish to engage with people affiliated with that entity? You are limited to 5,000. How, exactly, does this promote engagement by brands? Surely consumer brands, celebrities and influential people have more than 5,000 people they’d like to communicate with and to.
Linkedin restricts the number of Groups members may belong to 50. If you are active in an industry that is highly active, integrates into various other discussions, vertical markets or interest groups, you must choose carefully, because 50 is the limit.
Truth is, each of these social platforms is a business. They are in the business of generating revenue from the activity generated by users of their platform. The equations and algirthms used to quantify the behavior and preferences of users must have finite parameters, or data becomes reflective, rather than useful. By limiting various usage behaviors, the social media platforms are able to parse data into data they use to profile users and sell advertising, manage load on hardware, software and resources, while attempting to limit unwanted behaviors by bots and spammers.
Chances are we will always be subject to limits on social media platforms. We can only hope the rules will favor meaningful engagement over the bottom line over time.
Rebecca Murtagh is a Human AI Evangelist, Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author of CROWD SUCCESS® , Innovation coach, consultant and trainer. Rebecca leverages decades of experience working with Fortune 500, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Mains Street, global brands and startup entrepreneurs to help executives, their teams, and entrepreneurs leverage Human AI to innovate faster and achieve sustainable success. Rebecca also helps virtual companies, remote talent and hybrid teams improve productivity, collaboration, creativity and job satisfaction for optimum performance and long-term success.