Trilby Beresford
Updated May 29, 2016
Alan O'Rourke/Flickr/Creative Commons

Scrolling through the list of people and organizations whom you follow on Twitter, the majority of them are probably well-known, popular names. That’s because everyone and everything famous has a Twitter account these days, so following your favorite celebrities like Emma Watson and Justin Timberlake, or a beauty product brand like Urban Decay, is super easy (and usually very satisfying). And naturally, those accounts have millions of Twitter followers.

So, if you’ve noticed that you don’t have many Twitter followers of your own, it’s probably just due to the simple fact that you are following the people that everyone else in the world is following. The idea that your friends are (seemingly) more popular than you is known as the friendship paradox — a phenomenon observed by sociologist Scott L. Feld in the early ’90s — which claims that there is a greater chance that someone with more friends will be your friend than someone with fewer friends.

A recent study published in the Plos One journal related this concept to social media and specifically Twitter followers, suggesting that the people you follow on Twitter are more likely to have more followers than you. This is because those people who you follow are socially active; their lives full of exciting activities that influence and inspire the general population.

BUT at the end of the day, social media is not to be taken too seriously. It doesn’t really matter how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends you have, because it’s the real-life human interactions that truly count. Whether you have five friends or 50 or 500 is of little importance in the grand scheme of life.