When I was pre-teen, I used to pray to God nightly that he deliver me a machine which I could use at my disposal to ascertain answers to the following questions:
- Will the Buffalo Bills ever win a Super Bowl?
- When will I grow pubic hair?
- Was Sprinkles really hit by the garbage truck or did my mom have him put to sleep because he peed on her favorite quilt?
- And finally, oh lord, which girls in my class will I have a chance of making out with when I grow said pubic hair?
I recently recalled this divine request, question #4 in particular, after I noticed many Tumblr users posting screenshots of how many people are ‘following’ them, cheering themselves on for hitting the 100 mark, etc. Often, they also point out the ratio between the number of people they followed verses those following them, in essence indicating their popularity outside their immediate social network (for example, if I follow 5 people, but 10 people follow me, we might conclude that I have more influence on others than others have on me).
It’s obvious that Tumblr users derive a pleasure from being followed, and I hypothesize that the game of accumulating followers, no matter their relevance, accounts for half the fun of Tumbling. I’d like to know what percentage of users check their Followers count during their first visit to the dashboard on any given day.
Getting to the gut of my speculation, I think there’s something monetizable here. As it is, Tumblr grants us free access to valuable data, information that once I only thought God’s godly device could provide. These random people that follow us for reasons unclear — because they agree with what we have to say, find us attrative, aspire to know us socially, or even maniacally hate us — are potential friends, one-night stands, spouses and violent stalkers! A pre-teen today need not ask God for a make-out partner, he should simply look over his Tumblr followers!
The lesson: David and Marco, I would gladly pay $1/mo to know who’s following me, especially if you added an incentive for users to confirm their identity.