Social networking is a beautfiul thing until the popularity contest begins. Getting connected to someone online used to be a lot like dating.

Someone’s tweet catches your eye. You “accidentally” stumble onto their profile every now and then. They actually reply to one of your tweets. A couple of direct messages pass by like winks and, before you know it, you’re online lovers…err, buddies.

But now the scene is flipping and social networks are becoming a lot more like social hook-ups: follow as many people as possible and remove them as they fail to entertain or impress.

Social networking is more than the number of people who follow you. If nothing else, it’s a great way to connect the few people that actually care to connect with you. And a few quality followers are better than a million indifferent ones.

Right, Ashton Kutcher? Right, P Diddy?

That’s why it makes me cringe a bit when sites begin to shift the focus away from conversations and more toward numbers. In other words, that’s why I’m disappointed by gimmicks like Tumblr’s relatively recent “Tumblarity” addition.

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