Yep. That’ the rumour.

So stop worrying about how many followers you have on Twitter. It’s pointless.

Start worrying about how many real relationships you have on Twitter. That’s what matters.

Why? Because you can’t pay your mortgage with Twitter followers.

Twitter knows this and they’re planning some big changes that will shake up the social media world for the better.

Measuring actual influence

Twitter is rumoured to be considering a replacement metric for the follower count that would more accurately reflect how influential a user is. One of the problems they are looking to address is that while you may have 100,000 followers… how many of them are even real people? How many of them actually saw your last tweet? And how many responded in some way to it?

It’s the extent of your reach and the intensity of your interactions that really drives influence online not the broadcast capability. Twitter has recognized this and frankly needs to address it in order to stay relevant.

So what’s Twitter doing about it?

I think you’ll see Twitter move towards a metric system more along the lines of Klout. The recent moves by Google+ to add Google Authorship and by LinkedIn to add endorsements seems to validate that influence and impact matters more than follower counts.

Twitter has also made substantial moves towards locking down their API which will allow them to better monitor usage and interactions and therefore have more insight into metrics associated with influence.

While they may retain the follow count metric, it certainly will not be the measure of Twitter success it once was.

So what does this all mean?

Great things for those that are using Twitter for what it was designed to do. Communicate with other people.

Bad things for those who routinely game the system to drive up follower numbers or even pay for followers.

Great conversations, content and a true voice will lead to an active and engaged audience. Their attention, participation and trust leads to real influence and to what really matters.

We’re already good at figuring out who is worth listening too. What we need is better tools to help us sort out the signal from the noise.