You know all those followers Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian have on Twitter? Remember how I’ve told you that follower count just isn’t that important? Now, there’s proof.

It’s true, despite Ms. Kardashian’s seemingly important role in the Twitterverse, and Mr. Kutcher’s claim to fame as the first person ever to have over a million Twitter followers (he’s now over six million), new research shows that the most important thing about social networking actually turns out to be the “social” part.

This should come as no surprise if you’ve been reading my pearls of wisdom for any length of time. Last spring we discussed the issue in some detail: nobody wants you to just run off at the mouth; no more so on Twitter, Facebook, and other Social Networks like LinkedIn than in person.

But now there’s proof that members of your social network have more influence over you than celebrities. This made me think about something my oldest son told me when I asked him about how and why he was using Twitter hashtags. His answer? “They make Twitter more fun”.

Hashtags are extra little pointers people insert in their Twitter posts. They start with the “#” character and describe something that you and your friends are interested in. So for example, my son and his friends use the tag #makeitagain to say “do it over”. Sometimes that means they want to do something again because it was fun, and other times it means “that stunk, so try it again and do it better”.

If you don’t know to look for that #makeitagain hashtag you’ll never be part of the fun. And since my son and his friends are a small community consisting of, well, friends, that’s fine. Other better-known hashtags are used more broadly, such as #followfriday, a suggestion that many people use on Fridays to tell their friends about a person they know on Twitter who might be, you guessed it, worth following.

Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian aren’t in the business of pointing you at others unless those others are paying them. So the chance of you finding anything useful in their Twitter streams is reduced.

Why does any of this matter? And how does it affect business change?

I’ve said before and I’ll tell you again here that you must “do social networking”. As time goes on the continued growth of your business will depend more and more on who you know and how you’re connected to them. If you like, we’ll help you pick the right strategy; just Contact The Answer Guy for help.

But more important than doing social networking is doing social networking the right way, and that’s by being genuine. Social Networking, even for business change, needs to feel be real, or it won’t work.

And is that really so terrible? You have not just an excuse but a reason to enjoy your work. It’s all a big party!

Now, #makeitagain. Woo-Hoo!

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