Deep Thoughts On Twitter: $10,000 Income or 10,000 Followers

Here are my deep thoughts on Twitter. I'm a shareholder and a user. I think Twitter is fun and can be useful for helping grow your brand and platform. Today I have about 35,000 Twitter followers. This post was first written in 2010 and I've updated it.

As a relative shrimp on Twitter with only ~1,300 followers, I am always amazed by some of the people I follow with thousands and thousands of followers. One woman I know has 9,000 followers, and another guy has 7,500 followers.  Wow! 

Neither are famous and if I visit their blogs, there isn't particularly a lot of activity either which is strange.  If only 10% of your 9,000 followers visited your blog everyday, you'd have 900 regular readers alone not to mention potentially hundreds of other readers who don't have Twitter!

Deep Thoughts On Twitter

What I've also noticed is that there are plenty of “Social Media Consultants” who earn a living by helping you gain followers by employing strategic social media moves. 

After all, the more followers you have, the larger your authority and income potential, right?  Maybe not.  So I posed the following two versions of the same question on Twitterland:

Would you rather have 10,000 Twitter followers & make $2,000/month online or have 2,000 followers and make $10,000/m online?

Which is harder, making $10,000/month or getting to 10,000 Twitter followers?

Here are the following answers:

* Show me the M O N E Y prestige is for losers! @BigCajunMan

* If I make $10,000/m online, I don't mind have if I zero followers :) @SunFinancial

* 10,000 followers is harder; there are many ways to make money, only so many to increase twitter followers. @AmateurFinance

* Dude – twitter followers are worth $0. 10,000 followers = $0. @MoneySmartsBlog

Answering my own questions:

I would much rather make $10,000 a month online and have just 2,000 followers than make $2,000 online and have 10,000 followers.  That's a NO BRAINER because as far as I can tell, 99.9% of Twitter users out there aren't getting paid to Tweet, which means there's no way to make money from Twitter directly.  Twitter is for fun and a means to an end!

To answer the second question, ironically, I think it's MUCH harder to gain 10,000 Twitter followers than to make $10,000 a month online.  I've been on Twitter for a year now, and I only have 13% of 10,000 followers currently. 

Meanwhile, the % of $10,000 is much greater than 13%, and could be even more than 100%, who knows.  And, I'm sure many of you are the same way.

I find it unfathomable as to why anybody really cares about the quantity of Twitter followers they have. Why are people paying Twitter & Social Media consultants to gain more Twitter followers? Why are people paying programs to gain them Twitter followers? 

What's more important is the quality of relationships online.  I'm not sure exactly how many quality relationships one can really have over Twitter, but my guess is somewhere around 200-500.

In my opinion, it's much better to start your own blog and own your own platform. Invest in Twitter to potentially make money. But own your own blog that can't be shut down if you want to accumulate real money!

Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in 2009. The site is fun, intellectual, and makes enough to provide for a family of four in San Francisco.

Would you rather have 10,000 Twitter followers or $10,000/month online?  How do some people manage to gain thousands and thousands of followers?  Why is there a mismatch between blog traffic and Twitter followers for some?

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30 thoughts on “Deep Thoughts On Twitter: $10,000 Income or 10,000 Followers”

  1. Sam first of all, I must say its a gr8 post. I m searching on google how to get money from twitter and came to this post. After reading your post I realize that its quite difficult to earn money from twitter. I have around 4000 followers and I just want to divert them into my bollywood site.

  2. Greg McFarlane

    Don’t the overwhelming majority of people with “big” Twitter follower bases simply start by following others and asking for (or implicitly expecting) reciprocation? I have 30 followers for every person I follow, and that seems more noteworthy to me than having 12,349 followers but following 12,587 people.

  3. Having very active Twitter followers is a wealth in itself that can give you lots of money on a long term basis. You will get that 10K a month if you have that kind of followers. But the thing is, that kind of Twitter followers are rare and you won’t get that in a short period of time. You have to build it over time with loyalty from your followers. Would rather have 500 active Twitter followers than having 100K Twitter followers which are mostly composed of bot accounts.

  4. I’d certainly take the 10,000 followers if they were real follower. But it’s a rare person who has 10,000 real followers. I don’t have the sense that it would be too hard to get to 10,000 followers if you had no concern re the quality of the follows.

    I like Twitter a lot when there’s real interaction. It would be great if there were a service where it was easier to make the real stuff happen. The noise threatens to bury the signal on Twitter.


  5. A good friend of mine got on twitter when I had about 2000 followers/followings – maybe 200 “real” ones – a few months ago. She wants to get exposure for her company on the internet. Now she follows 15k+ and is followed by 13k+ but I don’t think this has paid off for her. I agree with you that in 99.9% there is no money in this. As for me, I don’t like it at all when I am being followed automatically because of some keyword, and I am as automatically unfollowed if I don’t follow back within days. But such is life. When a service like twitter becomes popular, spamming becomes part of it.

    Come to think of it. How much money does twitter itself make? I do hope that they make enough so that the service remains available. I like connecting with people on twitter.

    1. Roshawn @ Watson Inc

      Sorry for late reply… I didn’t get email notification. I used to be VERY active on Twitter when I was trying to “build” up my account. Most of the tweets on Twitter come from a select few, so I tried to position my account so that people either will come to me for info, socializing, or for marketing purposes. I also deliberately interacted with the whales. I’m half-sorry I slacked off though :)

  6. Financial Samurai

    @Everyday Tips – Amoeba, that’s hilarious! Perhaps we’ll grow into guppies one day!

  7. Financial Samurai

    @Romeo, great point about fooling people with stats. I guess perhaps a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. Whoever can sell the most smoke and mirrors if they are playing this Consulting pitch game wins!

    I’d rather just make money quietly.

    1. You know Sam, I’ve been thinking. Although massive followers gives off an impression of “greatness”, if one’s followers are not genuine and are only accumulated via autobots, then can’t we too say that we are not genuine?

      I suppose in the world of blogging, we owe it to our readers, no matter how small the audience, to be honest at all times.

      If WE “lie” about our fan base, why should our readers believe that we don’t “lie” about what we write about.

      That being said, I dropped about 900 followers today and expect to loose about 200 more :)

  8. Call me social networking inept, but I don’t understand how anyone can make money from Twitter.

    I think the entire point is to have a bunch of followers so that at least 10% of your 10,000 followers will enjoy what you have to say. Therefore, you may have gained at least 1000 more people to connect to your website. Thus, your potential for exposure and higher income.

    If 10% of the 1000 followers retweet your stuff, then that’s more potential because those 1000 followers maybe have 10,000 friends. Hence, the cycle would continue.

    These same bots or “social engineering tactics” are used to create backlinks on the Internet for search optimization.

    So yeah, it’s pretty stupid in terms of trying to get genuine followers. But it’s an ends to a means, especially because of the high barriers to entry in the blogging world. For example, why would anyone follow the new guy when there are entire networks of bigger bloggers with more interaction and who have been doing it longer?

    So in the end, I’m hoping that out of the 700 social engineered “likes” that I’ve received from real people on Facebook, 70 of them will catch on and say, “well, this is a pretty good site. Is this what is meant by a blog?”

    Furthermore, people are stupid (that’s why marketers get paid so much). There’s hoping that a site with 1000 Facebook likes or 10,000 followers must be good. So, I’m hoping to capitalize off of stupidity. But, just hoping. :P

    And if you are really wondering, I didn’t pay for my “likes” (I refuse to do so – I write a personal finance blog, for Pete’s sake), but there are plenty of sites where you can.


  9. $10,000 a month is harder. You can always add thousands of people and gain 10,000 followers. Some will just follow you because you follow them.

  10. But don’t people find it ironic that it’s easier to make money online than get Twitter followers?

    There’s got to be some strategy or artificial non-organic way people are doing so, no?

  11. That’s an easy question to answer, I’ll take the $10k anytime over the twitter followers. Focus should remain on delivery quality content on your blog, not on rounding up twitter followers. Content will get you to the $$$$.

  12. DebtFreeDaniel

    I would rather have too the $10,000 income and 2000 followers, it is hard to earn money nowadays and there are more people will follow you through to your twitter if you can also share with them how you earn this much.

  13. Well, if you are a shrimp with 1300 followers, then I am an amoeba with my 120 followers.

    I do not spend much time I twitter, and I wonder if I need to dedicate more time if I want to increase my blog’s readership. Some people get a ton of traffic from twitter, but I do not.

    I will take the 10k dollars a month hands down!

  14. I’d rather have $10,000/month than 10,000 twitter followers. If was able to make the money and have less followers, I see that as a win-win. Smaller number of followers allow me to interact more with people while having income.

    I check my twitter follows and followers about every month and I find that I remove a bit due to inactivity or no value being added. I’d like to present helpful information to followers and I like the same from the people I follow.

  15. If you intend to make money with twitter then the bottom line is the quality of your twitter followers. 1000 followers could make a lot more money than 10,000 followers could make.

    I had a instance when I created a twitter account for one of my sites and generated almost 1000 followers in a week but those were random followers. There wasn’t any activity on any of the tweets that were sent out. But gradually as relevant users began following us on twitter the activity increased.

    You can always inflate you twitter followers for bragging rights but the person with the most quality followers will laugh his way to the bank.

  16. I must confess I just joined twitter a couple of weeks ago and I don’t understand why people would pipe this to their cellphone. :)
    I follow Yakezie and check with a browser occasionally. It’s too much information for me.

  17. If nothing else, Twitter may reinforce your exposure by giving your follower’s the feeling of a (real-time), more personal connection to the man behind the sword wielding Samurai.

  18. It depends on your strategy. If you intend to leverage your social connections for money or a career, – perhaps as your eventual monetization goal – then having lots of Twitter followers makes sense I’d say.

    Both for the purpose of interacting and being promoted through a larger audience, but also for ‘social proof’. This is probably true whether you’re a certain kind of A-List blogger or Justin Timberlake.

    Please you’re making so many $$$ Sam. My pickiness about monetization methods is really costing me. :(

    1. I guess so, but I’m not interested in following machines without anybody behind them. Is anybody? Again, perhaps around 200-300 close followers and followees seem like a good amout.

      I think it’s great you are picky about your monetization strategy. As my Google friends here tell me, if they can make bloggers and people think that they rule the world, they will always be the champs!

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