So, why do I have 5,000 more followers on FriendFeed than Mike Arrington does? Especially since he has more advantages than I do (10x more people listen to him on his blog everyday than listen to me — hence he should be able to get thousands to join a new service simply by saying “it’s cool”).
I call this difference the “Participation Premium.”
Let’s look at how Mike and I participate on FriendFeed:
1. Comments. Mike has only left 17 comments, while I’ve left 2,356 comments over the same time period.
2. Likes. These are votes on different items, they basically are telling other people that you think this item is important to read for some reason. Mike has only done 6 likes, while I’ve left 3,625 likes.
What this is telling you is that you can easily get noticed in any community simply by participating. Yes, other factors do matter, but just by participating you’ll build an audience that “the popular kids” can’t get to.