When Felix Baumgartner jumped from space he reached a critical mass, in his case the speed of sound, and beyond. The same applies to digital channels.
I have seen this a number of times on our channels, most recently with our Twitter account @NAOorguk which over the last few weeks has jumped from 2,900 odd subscribers to 4,000. My dodgy maths makes that a 30% increase and it shows no sign of slowing down.
I did not expect this or know when it would happen. Well that’s slighly untrue. I did expect a gradual increase in take up, but not a speed of sound acceleration.
I can speculate why we reached a critical mass. I am going to claim some credit myself since I have actively promoted our account and tried to build a community of interest around it. As I explained a while ago. As the account name has got more widely circulated it has been referenced more widely. A nice virtuous circle.
Also, for a number of topics of NAO reports such as the Language service at the MoJ there was a very active online community of interpreters who also mentioned @NAOorguk regularly. Of course the level of spam and bots also increases.
Now here is the point – when we are set up new channels, or more precisely subscribe to something new, such as Pinterest, do we make clear to ourself and others that it might take some time to reach a critical mass? If not we can be storing up problems internally as expectations can be raised that might take some time to be met.
So it could be a good idea to avoid raising false expectations with new channels. A plan of how to grow the audience is probably useful and a flexible approach if these plans do not pan out. If possible you might be able to sketch out a mental map of how long you expect it to take for your new account to get off the ground and start flying.
If your channel does not reach a critical mass you might just have to let it crash and burn.
But if your account soars into the stratosphere claim the plaudits.