What’s the currency to purchase attention?

Recently, there was a debate about whether I was using Twitter wrongly. I have around 1,600 followers, but I only follow about 30 people.

Some people said I should be following many more people, probably as many as followed me.

I think this kind of depends on where you fit on the Rogers Technology Adoption bell-curve.

Let’s assume we accept the basic premise of the bell curve: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.

There’s a thin wedge at the front end called Innovators. These are the real uber-geeks, silicone valley types.

We don’t meet a lot of these out on the street in daylight hours. But, what we do meet a lot of is Planners who are Early Adopters.

These are people who love to be first into any new technology.

They will experiment and try it out. They want to get in first and be trailblazers. They become evangelists. Next comes the Early Majority.

This is a much bigger amount of people who have been persuaded that this technology is an improvement. They will get it eventually.

Not just because it’s new, but if it’s proved to outperform the existing technology.

Then comes a similarly large amount called the Late Majority. These are people who are resistant to change for the sake of change. They are happy with what they have, and don’t see any reason to upgrade.

Eventually they switch as it becomes obvious it isn’t a fad, it’s the way everything’s going. Finally a small wedge shape called Laggards.

These people distrust change for whatever reason. They expect everything they buy to last forever and fight a rearguard action against change.

The real debate about Twitter seemed to be about the different attitudes between Early Adopters and The Early Majority.

It seems to me that, with all new technology, Early Adopters are evangelists for change.

They’ve joined a small club of people who forge the revolution. They see themselves as the revolutionary-elite.

Consequently, as the people who discovered it and proselytized about it first, they obviously believe they know more about it.

I think this is the nub of the debate. As the new technology moves from Early Adopters to The Early Majority it moves beyond their control.

It assumes new possibilities that didn’t exist for them. Because the people coming into the market aren’t like them. So they use things in different ways to them.

For instance, one of the people I follow on Twitter is Amelia Torode from VCCP.

It’s not follow like stalking. I just like people who sometimes say funny or interesting things. Things I can use.

Amelia retweeted something from a friend of hers, when it was snowing.

“If I can get to Putney Train station why can’t the train? It’s bigger. And faster.”

I thought this was funny, so I clicked on the person who
said it: Tracey Follows.

To see if there was anything else funny there. Anything else I could use. While I was there I noticed another of Tracey’s tweets.

“Oh bugger, Dave Trott’s book is out of stock on Amazon. Huff….was looking forward to reading that this weekend….”

I thought that was a shame. So I put a copy in an envelope and sent it to her.

Then I thought, that’s Twitter working just like advertising. If you’re amusing, people are more likely to pay attention to what you say.

Then something is more likely to happen. For me, this is how Twitter works.

Just like advertising.  I can get 1,600 people to visit my blog by telling the people who follow me that I’ve written a new one.

So that’s what I do. But how do I get 1,600 people to follow me in the first place?

I figure I have to be either funny or informative. Either way, like advertising, I have to be useful in their lives or why would they follow me?

I’m not interested in what anyone had for breakfast.And I don’t think anyone else is interested in what I had.

I think people who are like me, the Early Majority or Late Majority, want stuff we can use. So I try to be either entertaining or informative. If I want to buy your attention I figure that’s the currency of purchase. Just like advertising.

However much the technology changes, people don’t change.


 No one wants to be bored.



  • Grilla Login

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzi’mfoolinwithyadave

  • Jayne Marar

    haveyouread’youshallknowourvelocity’byDaveEggers,Grilla?

  • Grilla Login

    Too many books, too few trees, Jayne.

    Dave, was I hallucinating. Or have you removed/erased/deleted your original end line?

  • Dave Trott

    Hi Grilla,
    No I haven’t chaged/added/deleted anything.
    What do you think it said?
    If I like it I’ll nick it.

  • Grilla Login

    It said something like, and don’t quote me on this, ‘no-one wants to be bored’.

    = my comment, which now makes non-sense. But, hey, none of them do…

    Not doubting you D, only my own sanity. [Note to me: ease-off on the fermented banana skin juice].

  • Dave Trott

    You’re right, it did have that last line on when I posted it.
    My blog posts have to be reformatted by Brand Republic, which explains some of the unusual line-breaks and para-spacing sometimes.
    Maybe it dropped off when they did it.
    I’ve tried putting it back, but I’m in the early/Late Majority.
    I may need an Early Adopter to do it for me.
    Still, very well spotted Grilla.

  • Grilla Login

    No one wants to be bored.
    Dave, it’s back! But it wasn’t your payoff the 2nd time I looked.
    However much the technology changes, people don’t change, was. Hence the question.

    Technologyisfoolinwithus, it would seem.

    [The upside is it shows my short-term memory still works, woohoooo]

  • Grilla Login

    Phew, glad we’ve sorted it… There are worse things that can drop off.

  • vik kanyo

    I think Twitter is a good finger exercise for people in advertising. “How can I get people to be interested in me and get them to follow?” is not too different from “How can I make my ad interesting enough for people to remember the product?” I was sceptical using it at first but when you figured it out for yourself it can be a powerful tool. Like Chris Kahle, who literally tweeted his way into a job at Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

  • John W.

    I’m sure you went to work on an egg, Dave.

  • Jayne Marar

    theytalklikethisin’youshallknowourvelocity’,Grilla :)

  • Kevin Gordon

    He’s been known to go to work on a Cadbury’s Creme Egg.

  • John W.

    Too gooey, Kev.

  • Grilla Login

    In an Orange too, Kevin.

    Of the variety ‘VW Beetle’.

    Jayne, I have yet to read the book that was worth the tree it came from.

  • Jayne Marar

    somehow i find that really hard to believe Grilla, you come across as an avid reader/writer?? don’t get angry now and don’t get angry i said don’t get angry.

  • Grilla Login

    Better to get even, than angry, Jayne.

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