A strange reluctance to be critical

The Hanselman Effect

Today is the first day of Microsoft Build 2020, an event tailored for developers which features the most recent technologies and tools created, supported, or encouraged by Microsoft.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 social distancing in place, this year’s edition of the conference is to be 100% streamed online.

I have recently received a gift box from Microsoft because I was an early registrant to the conference (by chance). Seeing how it is a free conference, I was very surprised by the care package and shared it on Twitter :

I was lucky enough for my tweet to be noticed and retweeted by Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman. As a core speaker at most Microsoft events for software developers, he is arguably one of their most famous public figures and certainly one their best technology advocate.

What I appreciate most in Scott is the apparent lack of employer bias that one may be forgiven to expect in a blogger in his position.

The The Hanselman Effect experience

Here’s what happens when a guy like him retweets you and you get to experience what I am calling The Hanselman Effect:

What How many
Times people saw my tweet 49,963
Likes 194
Replies 19
Retweets 10
Profile clicks 462

Through this, I gained 8 new followers which will undoubtedly be disappointed to see what I usually tweet about.

While I am impressed by the amount of times my tweet has been read as a whole, I know very well that nothing will come out of that kind of exposure.

None of these people will remember me from this retweet by now. It’s really how it should be, honestly. It’s not like they were attracted by content I was pushing out, for exemple.

What I find even more interesting however is the number of times my profile was viewed during this period. In theory, was I doing something special, these would have been people I never could have reached otherwise.

Dealing with this exposure daily?

But wow! Almost 50K+ views from an offhand retweet.

Imagine for a second what popular people like Scott have to deal with every day. Tons of people they don’t know connecting with him all the time, each sharing thoughts they figure is important.

…and we all know how weird people can get on the internet.

I’ve always expected the effects of being able to reach (and be reached) such a crowd to sum up being negative.

Imagine what happens when things turn sour and you have hundreds of people actively attacking you. Sure, there has to be moment where being internet famous must be pretty cool, but, for some, it does not balance out.

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