UPDATE 11:35am: don’t think I obsess about Twitter numbers (see end of post)
I posted a link on Twitter to yesterday’s great post by Laura: “Does Japan need your donation?”. A little while later the traffic on Aid Watch exploded. Being still pretty clueless about social media, I didn’t know why. Much later in the day, the reason became apparent — it had made it into @TopTweets Favorites, which I had never heard of but apparently has, oh, 1, or 2, or a million followers.
An aggregator like @TopTweets picks out what is already getting noticed and then makes it a LOT more noticed, makes it “famous for being famous.”
Aid Watch was reasonably underwhelmed by the experience but did think — there must be a development lesson here somewhere…
Indicators of human ability like IQ follow a bell curve – a normal distribution (as do other human attributes like height). But income distribution does NOT follow a bell curve. As a previous post noted, under the bell curve the top 1% of American men are more than 6 foot 4 inches tall. Under the distribution that income actually follows, the tallest 1 percent would be more than 46 feet tall! (14 meters).
One possible story is that income is partly driven by aggregators like @TopTweets. Twitter Fame itself is bankable, as Paris Hilton (3.6 million followers) could tell you. So is a lot of other fame. The top authors, doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, movie-makers,musicians etc. keep getting recommended and re-recommended and get very noticed and very rich (assuming also that they can keep expanding their business with their fame). Other of only slightly lesser talent never quite make the cutoff to explode into 46-foot-tall-land.
UPDATE 11:35am: don’t think I obsess about Twitter numbers…. Wow, @TopTweets boosted me over 12,000 followers! Oh, #$%^&!, still 7,600 to go to catch up to @jeffdsachs. And he probably doesn’t even do his own Twitter account….