The whole social media space is changing the way that we see friends and followers. It provides a much fuller perspective or a more shallow perspective. I guess it depends on where you begin.
My “friends” are people that I know. I know all of my friends on Facebook. Some I know better than others, but I know them all. I have had classes with them or they were in my class. I have either shook their hand and have had eye contact with most of them. I do have some “friends” online that are my cousins – who live in Saudi Arabia that I know but have never met. They’re family – they’re stuck with me.
I don’t know that I have any “followers” in real life. I have followers on Twitter. Many of them I don’t know. I follow many people – that I don’t know. Twitter allows me the opportunity to follow and be followed with and by people that I have never had eye contact with or shook their hand.
I initially think that “follower” is this deep connection with a leader. The idea of follower as disciple is my first inclination, but the social space allows us to “follow” people that are leading – but that we don’t know at all. You can choose to follow anyone. You can choose to un-follow at any time. This idea of following on Twitter though is a much looser enterprise than discipleship.