social mediaWith the much-ballyhooed social media making “followers” of us all

(I am of course referring to Facebook and Twitter and other similar entities), I am reminded of one of my favorite short stories; Italo Calvino’s “The Man Who Shouted Teresa.


In this story, a man was seen shouting the name “Teresa!” several times and later on someone joined him and helped him shout. Eventually, more and more passers-by were curious as to why he couldn’t be heard by the girl he calls Teresa that they all helped him shout very loud. Last count was probably around 20 people helping him shout. Until someone asked, and I quote:

“But are you sure she is home?”
“No,” I said.
“That is bad,” another said. “Forgotten your key, have you?”
“Actually,” I said, “I have my key.”
So, they asked, “why don’t you go on up?”
“I don’t live here,” I answered. “I live on the other side of town.”
“Well, then, excuse my curiosity,” the one with the freckled voice asked, “but who lives here?”
“I really wouldn’t know,” I said.

People were a bit upset about this.

“So, could you please explain,”
somebody with a very toothy voice asked, “why you are down here calling out Teresa.”
“As far as I am concerned,” I said, “we can call out another name, or try somewhere else if you like.”

The others were a bit annoyed.

“I hope you were not playing a trick on us,” the freckled one asked suspiciously.

“What,” I said, resentfully, and I turned to the others for confirmation of my good faith. The others said nothing.
There was a moment of embarrassment.
“Look,” someone said good-naturedly, “why don’t we call Teresa one more time, then we go home.”
So we did it one more time. “One two three Teresa!” but it did not come out very well.

Then people headed off for home, some one way, some another.

The moral of the story is
, we have the tendency to just blindly do what others are doing because everybody else is doing it. Without thinking, we follow as if we are in a trance. In the end, we could realize that what we did was actually stupid or we could just pretend that we didn’t do anything stupid at all.

Such is the fate of a blind follower; but, this also makes us realize that such is the strength and power of people in great numbers. Who’s to say it’s stupid when everybody else is doing it in the first place?

Social Proof In Social Media.
How Truly Important Is It?


In my next post, I will talk some more about social proof and its great influence in social media. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share, retweet, or bookmark! Thank you!

To Your Success,

Elmar Sandyck
Elmar Sandyck

11 thoughts on “Are You A Follower?

  1. Hi Elmar,

    You’re right, we need to know what we’re following when we follow. It’s not smart to just follow blindly and then scratch our heads later and wonder why we did that.

    Thanks for the story to help put it in perspective.


  2. Hi Susanna!

    Glad you liked the story; very short and simple but really drives the point. Here’s to being smart followers of us all! Thanks for dropping by.

    Take care,

  3. Hi Oliver,

    I do agree with you on this. Leadership is indeed a process and it’s good to know that great leaders started out as intelligent followers.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it :).

    All the best,

  4. Hi Elmar,

    I totally agree with all of you. That’s why it is important to choose wisely whom you follow. It’s not about quantity but quality.

    That goes especially for Twitter. If you are following someone of importance preferably in your own niche like-minded people will follow YOU back as well.

    Thanks for your insights!


  5. Hi Elmar,

    I enjoyed the story which illustrates so well the futility that comes from being too influenced by others and not trusting our own “inner voice” which when when we tune into, lets us know whether the following we are doing “feels right”.


  6. You are right Ilka! I think some people don’t realize that you need to find a common ground to connect in order to build a valuable relationship. Thanks for stopping by :)!

  7. Man that’s funny! I love analogies like this.
    I’m reminded of a true story of a work colleague some years ago who named her dog “Figaro”. Sounds like a good name until the dog got lost somewhere and the beach and she went out shouting for it. Looking for a dog or practising opera!

  8. Hi Marcus!

    Glad you enjoyed the story as much as I did! Truly representative of how “foolish” we could all be if we don’t listen to that “inner voice” that tells us that what we’re doing is not really right. I so agree with you on this. We should learn how to trust our own instincts and not be too influenced by the others.

    Thanks for giving a great comment!


  9. Really funny story yet we can get a lesson.I was really enlightened,i mean your right we must not follow what other people say or do ,we must confirm or ask first.I agree with you,but in my twitter account i only follow those people i known,you really did a great job in sharing this article.I think i would always remember this in all aspects of my life.We must have our own principle in life,we sholud not make decision because of what other people say,we must stand on what we believe and what is right.Thanks for this very wonderful article.

  10. Hi Richel,

    I’m very glad my article helped you man!
    What you say is right : “we must stand on what we believe and what is right”!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!


  11. Interesting story. I’m interested in how it shows how easy it is to influence others – how sometimes quantity (number of people following) is more important than quality (the quality of your content). I know I’ve watched lots of youtube channels because of the huge number of viewers, only then to think “why is everyone watching this!?”.

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