How Google+ turns the follower wars upside down
Twitter is like high school. The equivalent of being the popular captain of the football team or head cheerleader is to have a massive number of followers, but to be following very few. Some of the mega-celebrities, for example, have more than a million followers, but themselves are following like 12 people.
Google+, however, which was built by math and computer nerds, turns that scenario upside down. If you think about it: Your potential reach on G+ is affected more by who you follow than by who's following you. Let me explain.
The Extended circles button sends your post to all the people in your circles, plus all the people in their circles who have public follower counts on their profiles.
So if a mega-celebrity has been circled on Google+ by a million people, but themselves has circled only 12, then their posts to Extended circles will go to a million people, plus the 12, plus the people in the circles of those 12.
But the theoretical maximum number of people who can be reached by the Extended circles button is 25 million. That's achievable if you follow 5,000 who each are following 5,000 people, assuming everyone is public with their follower lists.
I can theoretically reach 25 million people, even if nobody is following me <sniff!>. If nobody is following me on Twitter, my tweets will reach zero people.
So the show-off celebrities who want to demonstrate effortless aloofness by following few, but attracting many, can still do that on Google+. But they'll have a much smaller reach than the person who follows a lot of people who also follow a lot of people.
In the Google+ universe, created by nerds rather than jocks, being popular only gets you so far.
Being smart, on the other hand, by following a lot of people who themselves are following a lot of people, gives you more reach and influence than the most popular users.