I got an email back in July pointing me to a particularly idiotic post of Dave’s as he searches for a solution to the “problem” that is the Suggested Users List. He has several recommendations, but he leads off with the most entertaining among them.
First, he proposes a 30 day limit for time spent on the SUL. This is not a difficult suggestion to translate. Prolific Twitter members are a finite resource, so forcing people off of the list every 30 days would hasten Dave’s inevitable placement thereon.
Second, he wants to take away followers from people on the list now. Yes, really. His proposal is to figure out how many followers each of the folks on the SUL would have gotten in 30 days and then take all of the others they gained over that time away.
So if on average, over the last few months, a member of the list would have gotten 100K new followers, but actually received 800K, he or she would lose 700K followers. It’s still a gift of 100K followers, nothing to sneeze at. (And if it’s true, as Tim O’Reilly says, that they don’t matter, then losing some is nothing to complain about.)
I can scarcely put into words how myopic and outlandish this idea is. He seems to believe that “followers”, rather than being actual users — actual people, are just a commodity to buy, sell, or trade. Which of those those 700,000 followers are getting the boot? Are they allowed to re-follow? Are they going to be notified that their follow list is just spontaneously being changed by Twitter for no reason apparent to them? The users can already unfollow if they’re not liking what they’re getting.
If they’re not reading what they’re getting, the only value they hold is to those who put so much stock in their follower count. Makes no sense, really, unless you measure the size of your e-peen by the number of Twitter followers you have, something Dave clearly does.