Shared publicly  - 
 
Why did several Google execs drop their follower counts at the same time? Did +Mark Zuckerberg do it first? And for whatever reason, could it cause yet a new twist on social networks, a backing away from follower counts and more focus on content? My piece about today's changes and what they mean, below. And +Larry Page, +Sergey Brin, +Vic Gundotra, +Marissa Mayer and +Matt Cutts, maybe one of you could shed some light on why you went stealth on who you follow and who follows you?
44
59
Hans-Joachim Rosehr's profile photoDevin Gaughan's profile photoAllen Cross's profile photoColin Blundell's profile photo
49 comments
 
I would guess that the Google execs dropped that info so that other people started appearing on these widely-shared "most followed" lists. One assumes that that was not Zuck's motivation :).
 
Zuck was my first official Un-Follow.
 
A good idea: Backing away from follower counts and more focus on content?
 
But this was just the visible follower count, right Danny - they stoll have the same number of followers. I hope they focus on content.
 
didn't their profiles just go private?
 
How do you drop your follower count? Maybe this is a silly question, but I thought the followers choose who they follow (i.e.: +Mark Zuckerberg ) and that those such as +Mark wouldn't have control over that count.
 
I would agree +Ant Blair . I see two basic types of social networks: group-focused collaboration vs. personal score (badges, follower counts, etc.)
 
I said from Day one the list hit the news, WHY? Why does everyone want to follow someone who doesn't post publicly?
 
Can't say for sure, but I have a good guess: somebody higher up decided that it was pretentious, possible defamatory to the SERPs and, therefore un-googley...essentially, verboten.

As to who would/could make such a decision, remember: the Plex zeitgeist trickles down from Larry + Sergey.
 
well to me great content +Matt Cutts allways top! Follower count? Who is following whom why? So do they realy follow content, or what.
 
Actually, I notice that my follower count hadn't changed in the past few days. Perhaps there was just some issue with the counter?
 
+Morgan ABBOU +Tom Rolfson Have seen no such G+ 'unfollow' notifications, so far. Of course, things are still in flux around here with lots of changes in-process and lots of on-the-fly updates taking place in the wee smalls.

That said, Google would fight hard against anything so vulgar as 'unfollow' notes...that's just not their style. See my comments above regarding the notion of 'googley' thinking and behavior.
 
Right now seeing people's followers and who they follow is the best way to find interesting people's accounts, given the search isn't so great.

If many people chose to hide their circles, I believe it would slow down usage and growth of Google+.
 
+Dan Leveille +Ralf Skirr Which 'count' do you mean? The one on your Profile page or the one on your Circles page? You'll see a big difference between the two, since competing metrics are being applied to each.

Also, there can be a substantial lag between the actual follow-events and your notification of same, tho' this gap has been decreasing over the last few days.
 
I heard that Eugene. I drop people that don't post regularly or "camp" as my son would say on Twitter. And yep David, if the quality of the content is poor I drop people. Content is king. Always will be. Not to be cliche'
 
Unless someone is posting publicly interesting updates, I don't want to circle them. If I follow someone, it's to listen to what they have to say and engage. I'm tired of following "names" that really aren't that interested in engaging anyone else beyond their own set of contacts.
 
You can hide individual circles of followers from being displayed on your profile. Perhaps that is the reason? I am following hundreds of people, but I only set my circle of close friends show on my profile. No one needs to know who else I am following. :)

On that note, I love the thought that went into Google+.
 
+Allen Cross I mean seeing people in the left hand bar of profiles. 'In Allen's circles' and 'Have Allen in circles'. It's a good starting point to find like-minded people. EDIT: how do these +links work?
 
My guess is that they wanted non google people to dominate those lists.
People love to share those lists and subsequently follow the top users on the list...
The sooner "mainstream" celebs dominate the list, the sooner G+ is seen as mainstream.

In regards to Zuckerberg, I think he wanted to avoid a PR disaster.
Imagine if he had more followers on G+ then on Facebook!
 
If you need to show off your follower count, then perhaps you're in need of followers. I show just a selected group of circles, to help people find others worth following.
 
Ralf: Just be aware that those "Have xxx in Circles' totals are not accurate. They can vastly under-represent the actual figures. Difficult to explain this, succinctly.

The +username thing is built into the G+ AJAX, but it's kinda kludgy at the moment. Basically, just type '+' and the username, then (in theory, anyway) the system turns it into a hotlinked name. #Protip: type s-l-o-w-l-y. :-)
 
Who cares? I'm tired of seeing follower counts being used as some sort of score card of social media success. I know that it's a culture that's been with us since myspace, but still. Frequent, quality updates that leave people feeling engaged and informed. That's how you win at social media, not huge numbers of followers.
 
Well done. Soon G+ will be public, leaving the trial mode. And , sadly, teh media have focused more on that "you can also be 'friend' of the top blah...", instead of the real thing: This is, for the first time in the Internet history, all the Google team gives up for free their G+, a sofisticated software product, , which they so gently have opened for all of us , to become OUR social network ( from theirs and us ).A place, I want to beleive, were people is just people; and -do not forget it - where also, in a future, they will be places for "Companies",for "Jobs", etcetera.
But, this is, alas , our human condition; someone, might approach to that circles for no other intention than - say - ...Vanish?

Note: +Danny Sullivan enlightened us before this I wrote, with his metaphor of Dante's "The Divine Comedy" on Circles.
 
I heard from a reliable source that many Google folks were using a currently-unavailable privacy feature that could provide a greater level of public privacy, including who was following you in some circles (thus making it look like you had less or no followers).
 
+Danny Sullivan Looks like +Vic Gundotra is back to showing his follower count. And most of the other guys as well. I found that if a person has certain privacy guards turned on they will not show as a follower in your circle to others.
 
Maybe the google folks don't want to appear as the top users of their service. If the founders of a network are the top users, makes it look small, no?
 
Your certain that Murdoch has not had News Corp hacking?
 
I think the whole point is to curate content. The question is how and with with metaphoric tools? Signal to noise ratios in space based and terrestrial telecommunications communications is one of the fundamental challenges we face. I worked on a DFCS project with DISA that automatically adjusted carriers to keep the noise floor cool. Same concept here, we are just working with clunky and hand tuned filters at the moment (draw a circle, build a wall). Social networks could learn a great deal from starling algorithms and C/kT and Eb/N0 formulas. It will evolve.
 
I was going to say the same thing. :)
 
I always have thought follower counts are stupid. I have always hidden mine. It shouldn't be a race to see who has more followers. I also have found some very uninteresting people to have high follower count, and some extremely interesting posters/writers/people to have low numbers of followers.
 
+Rob Gordon It was just visible follower count. They still probably have all the same followers (can't say for certain with the ones that are now private, of course, but very, very likely)

+Ronnie Tucker No, the profiles weren't private, only the parts showing who they follow or follow them.

+Glavin Wiechert If you chose not to show the people who follow you on your profile, that effectively drops your follower count. This is an option.

+Ben Metcalfe Interesting!

+Mike Leznik Thanks -- I see that too. But most of the others are still private when I checked. +Marissa Mayer back up but not the cofounders or +Matt Cutts
 
Yesterday, after being approached by the media for the billionth time to comment on "how he feels that he has the highest number of followers on G+", M Zuckerberg called Larry and Sergie and negotiated this deal - "Guys, I'll hide my followers provided you lot at Google hide your followers as well - it'll save you the embarrassment of having your biggest competitor at #1 and save me the hassle". They shook hands. lol ;) (fabricated story - this didn't really happen)
 
+Robert Anderson : Nice approach. Serious and elegant aproach. Might be Set Theory have something to do with circles? I wonder.
 
+Danny Sullivan No, they were actually copying me. I did it first about 3 days ago. I started locking up my followers as soon as I noticed it. In fact, I just create a new circle called 'promote' where I'm only featuring people that I want on my profile to help promote them. If you want to be featured, just hit me up and I'll add you to the list so people can find you as well.
 
Good riddance to the pissing contest of follower counts..
 
I will do that, too, I think. I have never gone after followers. There's no reason to. I am an investor and a mentor, not Lady Gaga
 
Still waiting on an answer from the Googlers . . .
 
+Pete Touschner Well, if I'm correct about this being a purity campaign (see above) then no Googlers will say a word in public, one way or the other.

Talking to civilians about a given behavior's googley-ness -- or the relative lack, thereof -- is, if anything, even more un-googley than the infraction itself. Best we could hope for is some mild PR stuff about how they didn't want to bias the SERPs.
 
+Allen Cross Call into this number in 5 minutes to ask +Steven Levy about this:


Conference dial-in number: (712) 432-0075

Participant access code: 336319
 
Really, who cares about follower numbers? Quality over quantity...
 
It was to do with some of them changing their Privacy options to not show whom the were following. +Danny Sullivan
 
I spoke to a group of clergymen today who are upset that Google+ designates a user by placing a + in front of the person's name as this has been the rule for designating a priest or bishop for well over a century when signing correspondence.
 
I think it's an image thing, the less attention you pay to the individuals behind the curtain the more attention is given to the actual show...
Add a comment...