Lady Gaga hits 20m Twitter followers: how does she do it?
A few simple tips, and one very hard one, to help emulate the most popular person on Twitter
POP ICON Lady Gaga is the official queen of Twitter after becoming the first person on the site to attract 20 million followers.
The quirky singer, who launched an anti-bullying charity last week, now has 2 million more followers than the next most popular Twitter star, Canadian teen heart-throb and fellow pop star, Justin Bieber.
So how does she do it, and what can mere mortals learn from the artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta?
Do it yourself. Twitter is a medium designed to let people communicate, yet many celebrities (and companies) get staff to tweet on their behalf. This defeats the purpose. Lady Gaga stands out from the crowd in writing all her tweets herself. It means that sometimes she goes off the radar for a few days but at least you know that what you are getting is genuine.
Offer content. While Gaga is happy to share her thoughts on pretty much anything with her followers, she offers her fans a lot more besides. Exclusive songs, artwork, tour dates and news have all been released through Twitter. Why wait for the media to find out about things when you can hear it from the horse's mouth?
Be positive. The Tweet that sent her through the 20 million barrier was in praise of ageing rocker Bruce Springsteen, not the sort of person you would expect her to idolise. She also tweeted in praise of Adele after the Grammys last month and consistently thanks her fans for their support, often retweeting their messages to her. It's nice for followers to feel wanted. And her attitude sits well with her anti-bullying persona.
Retweet and share. When she sees something she likes, Gaga is happy to pass it on. She tweets links to magazines and websites that have done features on her, and frequently shares messages from her fans, even though she is doubtless inundated.
Reciprocate. Kanye West follows five people, Lady Gaga follows 140,000, and she has nearly three times as many followers. Obviously nobody can keep up with that many people, but at least it shows that she takes time to 'follow back' and values the thoughts of other people in the twittersphere. If you follow Gaga there is a chance that you will end up getting followed by the most popular person on Twitter.
Be funny. She is an international star, but that does not mean she has no sense of humour, and it adds character to her tweets. A couple of weeks ago she revealed that she had been forced to steam one of her PVC outfits with a teapot. She often goes online when perhaps she shouldn't, after a few drinks, often letting slip the odd secret. She also tantalises with references to her rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
Be famous. Even if you do everything she does, Gaga still has one major advantage - she is an international pop star with legions of fans. Perhaps the biggest prerequisite for popularity on Twitter is a successful music career. And being female helps too. Gaga tops the list of popular people, then comes Bieber, but hot on his heels are Katy Perry, Shakira and Rihanna. Reality star Kim Kardashian is sixth, ahead of Britney Spears. Barack Obama strikes a blow for the more high-minded - he is in eighth place with almost 13 million followers - but the top ten is rounded out by pop princess Selena Gomez and rapper Nicki Minaj.