How Much of the Social Web Is a Numbers Game?

@Kevin | Social

When you examine social media how much of it is about connections or building a relationship and how much of it is a pure numbers game?

In the last couple of weeks I have gone to various social media sites and went on an adding spree just to see what would happen. Digg, Twitter, and Blog Catalog were my specific targets; I didn’t send messages with the ad and I didn’t interact with the people at all. Since doing that I saw a bump in all my social media friends’ lists, on StumbleUpon I gained almost 40 followers just based on adding people on Blog Catalog and having StumbleUpon listed on my social media contacts. On Digg almost 60% of the people I added reciprocated, giving me a larger user base to promote to and participate with. With my Twitter experiment, I have started getting twice as many add requests per day because I am on so many people’s profiles.

I know content comes into play. People won’t accept add requests from you if your profile is boring, blank, or uninteresting. So your content is important but when you have a large following people seem to be drawn to it.

The sheer illusion of popularity also has a lot to do with it. Frankly people buy into just like in high school and want to be included in something that is popular. Also the increase in how many times your profile is displayed to potential friends continually increases as you grow, adding to the likelihood that people will come across your profile.

While I have conversed with some of the people that have added me since then as well as digging and stumbling their posts I still feel like that I wasn’t connecting as much as building.

This begs the question, how much of social media is really social and how much of this is a numbers game?