Twitter Ratios

Rob On Writing
Does Bette Midler Follow You?
March 15, 2012

The other day I came across Bette Midler’s Twitter account. No, I wasn’t stalking her, nor do I search for (or follow) any celebrities on Twitter. I saw her handle in a tweet by someone and I just wanted to see if it was indeed the “real” Bette. I assume it was because the account has over 220,000 followers. You want to know how many tweeps Bette is following?


This is a typical celebrity following/follower ratio. Celebs are (of course) followed by hundreds of thousands of fans (and probably some friends, too) and they follow almost no one. I guess it’s an ego thing. The new age replacement for “don’t call me, I’ll call you”. Or how many flashbulbs go off each time you step out of your limo.

But eight? I of course had to see which eight people in the Twitterverse the Divine One deemed worthy of a follow. I mean how does one so popular choose only eight? I conjured up a pretty daunting list in my mind. I mean think about it: whomever she chose, imagine how many others she’d be offending.

So in my mind I’m thinking names like Obama, H. Clinton, Oprah, Buffett, Bocelli, Dion–not that I associate any of these famous people with Bette necessarily, but if you’re Bette Midler and you’re choosing only eight people to follow?

To say I was a bit surprised would be a bit of an understatement. I mean, hey, Bette can choose whomever she wants to follow, but I think I would have used at least a couple of my choices more seriously. Here are the four people I recognized on her list:

John Stamos
Yeardly Smith
Jerry Seinfeld
Kathy Griffin

I don’t mean to pick on Bette. I’ve always loved her. I mean really–class act all the way. I’m sure she picks and chooses carefully. But John Stamos???

Just kidding John. I know you’re a regular reader (and you know how much I loved General Hospital”¦I mean, Full House”¦Full House!).

Lately I’ve received a “follow” by a number of tweeps with significantly fewer people they’re following than are following them. I have to admit, it made me feel kind of important.

Then I felt incredibly slimy for allowing my ego to wax important because of a Twitter follow ratio.

What had I become? A ratio snob?

No way. I pledge to always have my ratio as close to 1:1 as I can, spammers and porn wannabes notwithstanding. Oh, but of course only until I am truly famous. Then I’ll need to call Bette and figure out how to start doing some serious pruning.

I’ll end with the absolute COOLEST Twitter ratio story ever. You may have heard it. It revolves around one of the funniest men ever to wear an extra-tall suit and take pride in his flaming red hair.

No, not Carrot Top.

Conan O’Brien. The fantastically funny comedian / talk show host (his Twitter bio reads “The voice of the people. Sorry, people.“). The gangly redhead has over 5,200,000 followers. Yet he follows only one person. Always has, said he always will.

And it’s not a celebrity. Her name is Sarah Slowick (Killen). Conan made the following statement when he followed her:

“I’ve decided to follow someone at random. She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. Sarah Killen, your life is about to change.”

I loved the story when I read it last year. It actually made my day. For me, it was Conan thumbing his nose at the celebrities (and other self-important people) who follow only a minute fraction of the numbers following them. Then today I checked in on Sarah Slowick’s Twitter account. Seems Conan was right, her life did change–she has over 90,000 followers!

She’s following 493.

I’m not judging. Really I’m not. But who does this Sarah Slowick think she is?

Carrot Top?

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4 thoughts on “Twitter Ratios

  1. I found this to be so asinine. I’m sure this asshat’s follow list is populated by a hundred thousand Poet Laureates and Nobel Prize winners. (Oh, as well as all of the people that he added just because they did so first.)

    This is the problem that I have with Twitter and why I have been so reluctant to really invest myself to it. First of all, I could have gone all year without having to be subjected to Demi Moore’s marital collapse or some random tit-for-tat between Chris Brown and some trick he’s boinking on the down-low. Twitter is mostly populated by people who try to cram as much nothing as they can into 144 characters. At least when somebody on Facebook is stupidly alerting the masses that they are eating a sauteed chicken breast, there’s a picture!

    Everybody’s so concerned with the numbers, which I guess is fine if you are a celebrity who creates work that is appreciated by lots of people. But I’ve never even heard of this guy before. Maybe he’s some big deal and my ignorant ass missed the parade? Well, while I’m certain that his crappy self-absorbed little blog is racking up the hits (a “Thank You” note to Bette Midler is in order) I hardly think he’s made enough of a dent on the cultural landscape to puff himself up and call out somebody ELSE’S ego.

    Dear Kettle:




    1. There’s the Gracie I so adore and love! And BTW….I just don’t get Twitter at all….I have my blog posts automatically tweeted and then i don’t have much to do with it. I get bored very easily. If i saw more of you on there it might be a different story….

  2. Interesting comments! This guy didn’t come across as self-important to me at all, nor did I take it that he was in anyway putting Bette down. Just making observations.

    I’m not sure the “ratio” really matters, though. The number of people who follow you may say something about your popularity, but it has no bearing on your life. If, however, you are following tens of thousands of people, how could you EVER keep up with all those tweets? I’m always worried that I’m following too many people because the stream becomes to constant and even in the few times I check in, it’s overwhelming.

    To compare these two numbers is like comparing how many people have read your book against how many books you’ve read. If you’re popular at all, you’d never be able to keep up.

    1. Hey Brian: I’m like you….twitter overwhelms me….I went in the other day and whittled down the people I was following and i think I need to make some more cuts….. xx

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