CNN featuring your question on Twitter gets you 22 new followers

At the Jan. 19 debate, CNN took their crowdsourcing of debate questions to Twitter, pulling a question pushed by user Michael Browne at 7:31 p.m. Many networks have asked for community contributions: During our debate in early January, Yahoo! asked readers for potential questions via Yahoo! Answers. When the question was broadcast during Thursday's debate, Browne had a mere 9 followers, and no avatar (the egg image is what Twitter uses until you upload a profile picture). It was only his 65th tweet ever.

By the end of the debate, Michael Browne had 32 followers and had tweeted twice more, expressing incredulity that his question made the cut. It was an interesting choice for CNN--while the question was certainly topical, the user has no profile information and little history on Twitter--the majority of his tweets are directed at other users, or are retweets. Sharing a profile with information about yourself and contributing original content are highly valued on social networking services, signaling that a user is genuine and has a stake in the community as a whole. Just not as valuable as asking the right question at the exact right time.

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